Anyone who has searched in vain for a backpack during August or agonized with college-bound freshmen over dorm-room furnishings knows that now is the best time to shop for back-to-school supplies.
Parents and students charting their course to various stores and malls may want to add one more stop on their itinerary: PBteen has opened its first brick and mortar store in Southern California at the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks.
The new store kicked off with the early release of the PBteen gear collection, a graphic assortment of backpacks, messenger bags and lunch totes, as well as the PBdorm collection of sheets, storage solutions and accessories.
In addition to familiar PBteen products such as bedding, rugs, lighting, desks and storage, the store features a free Design Lab where customers can "create" their own bedroom or dorm room using drag and drop technology at one of the store's computer stations.
"It's a really interactive, decorative experience for the teen," said Nancy Guettier, senior vice president of product design and visual merchandising. "At this life stage, it's important for teens to have a room that reflects their personality."
Working with design specialists, customers can plug in the dimensions of their room and visualize how it will look on an oversized monitor. "They actually drive the process," Guettier said. "We have all the swatches and fabrics and they can really feel and see the details."
The store features two separate demonstration areas, outfitted with bedding, lighting and furniture. PBteen also offers complimentary in-home design consultations.
While the Thousand Oaks store may be the first in Southern California, it won't be the lone outpost for long. PBteen plans to open a new store at South Coast Plaza this summer.
PBteen, 520 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. (805) 379-1638.