Even as e-commerce continues to shake up retail real estate as shoppers opt for home delivery, it is making warehouses with the right stuff to fulfill consumer demand of higher demand.
And the latest local example is a new deal by a growing Marin County home décor e-tailer for over half of Northern California’s largest single warehouse, which located in northern Solano County.
Serena & Lily (serenaandlily.com) just inked a lease for 434,000 square feet of warehouse and office space in the former Savemart distribution hub at 700 Crocker Drive in Vacaville, a 70-acre property now called NorthBay Logistics Center. The Sausalito-based company plans to move into its new facility in February.
“We are pleased to be able to retain our distribution center logistics in Northern California, where we were founded and remain to be headquartered,” said Brett Hilton, Serena & Lily senior vice president of finance and operations. “We look forward to servicing our customers’ desires for home décor and furniture out of this new facility.”
Artist Serena Dugan and retired Microsoft executive Lily Kanter launched Serena & Lily in 2003, growing it out of Kanter’s Mill Valley Baby & Kids Company bedding boutique started a year earlier. The company expanded its product line to adults in 2010, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article at the time.
Serena & Lily distributed its products to hundreds of retailers from its early days. But over three-quarters of its sales now are e-commerce, hence the need for the Vacaville facility, according to Denton Kelley, managing partner for Sacramento-based LDK Ventures, one of the facility owners.
In 2013, the retailer went from distribution and e-commerce to bricks and mortar, starting to open its own stores, according to Atlanta Magazine. That’s a similar direction RH, a publicly traded Marin company formerly known as Restoration Hardware, took in expanding from catalogs and online sales of home décor to high-end stores tailored to interior design.
Today, Serena & Lily has about 170 employees and nine stores, according to a Marin Independent Journal interview with Kanter earlier this year. Those sites include eight “design shops” on both coasts, including Atlanta opened this summer and one coming to Pacific Palisades in California, plus an outlet store in Berkeley.
Two years ago, Kanter stepped down as CEO of the company, bringing in former Victoria’s Secret CEO Lori Greeley to take the reins. Still on the board of directors, Kanter has long been philanthropically minded, even making the July 2000 Time magazine cover for the story “The New Philanthropists.”
The Marin resident’s latest give-back venture is Boon Supply Co., launched in May of this year after retooling an acquired Burlingame company into what the Marin IJ called “Go Fund Me meets online shopping.”
Serena & Lily would be the first tenant in the 840,000-square-foot NorthBay Logistics Center building since acquired vacant by Los Angeles-based real estate investor and financier PCCP LLC and Sacramento area’s LDK Ventures LLC in September 2017 for $31 million.
Over $2 million since then has gone into repositioning the property for market, Kelley said. That included repainting the inside and outside of the building and guard house at the front gate, renovated the restrooms, repaired and replaced paving, swapped out the skylights, fixed dock doors and put in energy-efficient LED light fixtures.