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Neiman Marcus on Monday

Patch editor David Mills visits Neiman Marcus' new store in downtown Walnut Creek after the crowded opening weekend

I did want to see what the new in downtown Walnut Creek looked like inside. Just curious, you know.

However, I'm not fond of crowds and I'm not a big fan of shopping.

So, I stayed away from the upscale department store on its opening weekend. Instead, I ventured inside the two-story complex on Monday afternoon to see what life was like after the party.

The first thing that strikes you is how open and colorful the store is, especially as you enter from its western doors facing Main Street.

On this afternoon, the store was relatively busy, at least for a cool Monday in March. Things seemed pretty set, although there were a couple employees moving a rug and a mannequin.

My initial stop was the women's shoe department right near the entrance. The first item I picked up was a Elie Tahari shoe that cost $348. Wow. That's $174 for each foot.

The shoes below this one were a relative steal at $198. On the other side of the counter, though, were more glitzy footwear with price tags above $1,000. I don't think even Cinderella could compete.

Across the aisle was a small anteroom with Gucci purses. Some of them were actually under glass. Like jewelry. I knew better than to check those tags.

Next door were some classy, pretty bracelets. They seemed to be made of a ceramic of some kind, not gold or silver. Still, the prices ranged from $128 to $250.

I felt lightheaded, so I went into the men's department. This had to be a little more reasonable.

Nope. The Brunello Cucinelli shirt and jacket tipped the register at $2,295.

I staggered over to the ties. Some really nice looking ties, in fact. A guy named Tom Ford designed them. They were listed at $250. If you combined them with one of Tom's $650 shirts, you could get out the door for less than $1,000.

Since I was gasping for air, I knew better than to check out the Armani suits, so I took the escalator to the second floor.

A glittering, enchanting hanging display of glass butterflies greets you there. So does a lot of casual women's clothing.

I actually found a T-shirt-like blouse designed by a guy named Vince for $50. My breathing returned to normal until I noticed Vince's dresses go for $350.

I stopped by the Neiman Marcus (NM) On The Go section. I figured this line is the store brand, sort of like the Safeway brand spaghetti sauce. The blouses here, all nice by the way, cost you about $120. OK, not bad.

The children's clothing section was next. It's a quaint little corner with brightly colored dresses, shirts and shorts. You can pick up something nice here for under $100.

I have to say the sales people were quite pleasant and didn't pressure you. Of course, maybe they looked at what I was wearing and decided I couldn't afford anything inside. Nonetheless, they seemed content to let people browse.

The store isn't all that big and it's certainly not overwhelming. You can browse all the aisles in a reasonably short amount of time.

How will this store do in downtown Walnut Creek? Hard to say. I guess it depends on how much discretionary income everybody has.

I might recommend some of those heart-starter emergency kits in a few strategic places. They might come in handy, although the sound of those electric jolts and somebody yelling "Clear!" could be a bit disconcerting to shoppers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carol Olmert March 14, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Noelle, it appears so!
Creek Diva March 14, 2012 at 04:56 PM
And I thought the $8 PB&J sandwich on the kids menu was bad!
WC-Independent March 14, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I've budgeted $5,000 for some nice evening attire. Hope to get there this weekend. Finally a place I can find what I need in my home town!
Retail Watchdog March 15, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Neiman Marcus is something I've been looking forward to for quite a while, and I can't wait to check out the store soon. As long as Valley Fair's NM is in limbo (along with Bloomingdale's, no less), Walnut Creek will by my Spring and Summer pick for shopping. Gotta enjoy that lovely weather while I can.
Local Lady March 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Why would you send a man to review Neiman Marcus? It's suppose to be upscale clothes, which includes upscale prices. Does it fill a niche in Walnut Creek? That is a good question that only time will answer. Neiman Marcus is Neiman Marcus. I think they have down played their level of upscale merchandise, which might be a fatal mistake. We already have a Nordstroms.

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