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The primarily yoga-focused Lululemon Athletica clothing company opened a showroom Friday in the MARRS Building at 20th and J streets, a space vacated by Newsbeat last year.
Showroom Manager Victoria Tanforan, 24, said that the showroom is designed to be a temporary space with a retail area to introduce Lululemon’s attire to the local market. If it garners enough interest, she said, a full retail store could be forthcoming.
“We’re a company that specializes in high-quality yoga and running wear,” Tanforan said. “We are all about becoming a part of the community we’re in, and we have free classes every week.”
The Lululemon showroom will work with 10 athletic ambassadors, which range from athletes to gym owners and yoga instructors. Two of them will be on-hand to give a free yoga class at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s a great way for the community to get involved in fitness and learn what Lululemon is all about,” Tanforan said.
The MARRS Building was chosen because of its placement in the heart of the city’s vibrant Midtown district, said Tanforan, a Sacramentan who graduated from Sacramento State and chose the location.
She said the Vancouver, Canada-based company set up a showroom about four or five years ago in Sacramento, but the market didn’t warrant opening a store at the time.
Now, however, she said there is a following of Lululemon buyers in the region, and the company is giving Sacramento another look.
Designing the space was up to her, and she said her dad did much of the buildout, and friends helped with ideas, including artwork.
Shipping palettes divide the 2,300-square-foot space between showroom and inventory storage, and Tanforan said she wanted to keep the industrial feel with a few splashes of color to brighten the area.
Yoga mats are stored on steel-pipe shelves, and what construction wasn’t done by her father, Tanforan said was done by her and her three employees.
“They built out the space in a very clever way,” said building owner Michael Heller of Heller Pacific. “It’s great to see what was done with the space.”
Heller said there was a lot of interest in the location after Newsbeat moved out, and he is happy to have an international corporation as a tenant.
“We quickly made the decision with Lululemon,” Heller said. “We have a growing yoga community in Midtown, and it’s a fitting partner.”
Tanforan said that though the company has more than 100 locations in the United States, it still gave her autonomy in the Sacramento location, and one of the employees, 22-year-old Saba Rahimian, is using the business as her first art exhibit area.
“I majored in art at UC Davis, and (yoga is) an avenue for what I paint,” said Rahimian, who also teaches yoga classes at Zuda Yoga in Midtown. “I couldn’t think of a better place to showcase my art.
The showroom opens Friday, and Tanforan said local DJ Nate Spross will spin music meshed with Eastern-inspired beats.
Lululemon Athletica, located at 1050 20th St., is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Free weekly classes will be held at 8 a.m. every Saturday. For more information, visit the showroom’s Facebook page.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.