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Country Club Plaza retailer relocates to Leawood

Kansas City luxury watchmaker Niall wanted to have a higher profile for its shop and watch assembly room.

So in late summer 2016 the company took an 800-square-foot space at 612 W. 48th St. on the Country Club Plaza for its flagship location. Retail was in front with the workroom behind glass in the back of the store “showcasing just how complicated and intricate our process and product really is,” said co-founder Michael Wilson at the time.

But now Niall has closed its Plaza store and has reopened in Park Place, 5261 W. 116th Place, Leawood, more than doubling its space.

Romanelli Optix previously operated in the space but closed in mid-December. Romanelli Optix has three other metro locations including one in the nearby Hawthorne Plaza in Overland Park.

When asked about the closing of Niall, the Country Club Plaza officials issued this statement, “While there are a number of exciting things in store for The Plaza, we will share the news when the timing is right instead of respond to speculation. We understand that with change comes uncertainty, but we can assure Kansas Citians​ that we love The Plaza as much as they do and we are making important adjustments now that will position the district for long-term success in a very competitive and ever-changing retail environment.”

Wilson said he jumped at the opportunity to open on the Plaza and signed a short-term lease. The store did very well, he said, with Niall’s sales increasing 129 percent over 2017 and 75 percent of that increase coming from the Plaza store.

But now with a strong fourth quarter driven by the launch of its “ladies timepiece,” it has outgrown its Plaza location. Wilson said he looked for a premier shopping center with a space to showcase his timepieces and host events, one that had complementary tenants and was close to Niall’s strong fan base.

He signed a five-year lease for the Park Place space and plans a Feb. 3 grand opening. It is currently open by appointment only.

Niall was founded in 2014 in a back corner of an East Crossroads building. Its watches are currently offered for $2,250 and up.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC

Country Club Plaza retailer relocates to Leawood