The Container Store Tampa preview

March 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

If you live in the Tampa Bay area, chances are that you received this in the mail recently:

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That’s right…we’re getting our very own Container Store! Hurrah!

I read a bunch of home improvement blogs and love to watch home improvement television shows despite the fact that I live in a disheveled shoe box of a house. It seems like half of the time when they have some great organization or storage item on these blogs and shows that the item came from The Container Store, and we didn’t have one! It was always a bummer. So when I heard that The Container Store was coming to Tampa I was psyched. When I got invited to a preview of the new store I could hardly contain myself! (sorry for that)

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A group of my blogger buddies and I were so excited that we arrived early and were chatting it up in the parking lot when Elaine, one of the stores employees who specializes in opening their new stores, came out to corral us and welcomed us into the store.

Ahhhh, it was like Mecca with over 25,000 square feet and over 10,000 products.

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Just being in the store makes you feel more organized.

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Elaine offered us all a boxed lunch…

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and directed us to some chairs sporting some pretty lush goody bags (more on these goody bags later).

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While we ate she told us all about The Container Store. The Tampa store is the 59th Container Store and the third in Florida. Tampa was the most requested location from their Facebook fans! Yay for social media! Be sure to check out The Container Store’s Tampa Facebook page!

Elaine told us all about The Container Store’s “employees first” philosophy. They believe that happy employees = happy customers. Their full-time employees receive more than 263 hours of training, mostly focusing on product knowledge…compare that to the retail industry average of just seven to 10 hours of training where they mostly focus on how to work the register! They have been on Fortune Magazine’s “top 100 companies to work for” list for 14 years in a row, including being #1 several times. After hearing all about it I was considering applying for a job. Check out their blog, The Container Store: What We Stand For, for more information about their seven Foundation Principles, commitment to local communities, employee-first practices and fun company events and celebrations.

After learning all about the company, Elaine took us for a tour through the 16 lifestyle sections of the store, such as closet, kitchen, office, travel, gift packaging and laundry. First up was closet:

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She made a very convincing argument in favor of their transparent shoe boxes.

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I now feel that I really need a case of them.

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They have over 200 different varieties of hangers in 80 different styles! Seriously!

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My friend Adrianna of Military Money Chica modeled the rainbow of hangers for me:

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In the closet section you will find The Container Stores best-selling product…the elfa premiere storage system.

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In this system the only thing attached to the wall is the top bar that gets screwed into the studs. Everything else hangs from this top bar and the possibilities are endless.

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The elfa system is also perfect for kitchens, garages, or really anywhere. They had a cool display in the store of a media center set up using the elfa system (but this bad blogger didn’t get a picture of that, darnit).

My friend Denise of RunDMT modeling the travel section:

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There is an section devoted entirely to hooks!

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I thought they said this was the “hooker” section. Oops.

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The Container Store has seasonal sales highlighting one lifestyle section, and the grand opening of the Tampa store just happens to fall during their annual “Work Smart” office sale.

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A floral designer was there setting up beautiful arrangements for the grand opening party.

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Bloggers testing out the seating options…

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Everywhere you look in The Container Store you see something you need, and something you never knew you needed.

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In the trash section…

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there may have been a little blogger trash-talking.

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The store is really visually stunning.

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The container section of The Container Store!

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I just wanted to immediately organize something when I walked down this aisle.

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Finally, the kitchen section.

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Oh, how I want to find a new house and have a new kitchen and put these drawer dividers in my new kitchen drawers.

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Mindy, working the kitchen section:

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Near the check out counters they have all the awesome little gadgets…perfect for stocking stuffers.

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The center of the store is home to all of the larger storage options.

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That concluded our tour. Thank you Elaine from all of us bloggers! Who let those two guys in?

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Tampa Bay Bloggers representing!

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It was The Container Store runway!

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You may notice on the background there behind me that the Junior League of Tampa is also represented. As part of The Container Store’s commitment to the local community they have partnered with the Junior League of Tampa and will donate 10% of Grand Opening Weekend sales to that organization which does so much good for our community.

You may also notice the goody bag on my arm. Oh man. This was the most well-stocked swag bag that I’ve ever gotten…and I’ve gotten plenty!

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I am excited to try out many of the products, chosen from each of their 16 lifestyle sections, but it was just too much stuff! So I’m going to give some of it away.

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Here’s what one commenter will get, including the colorful vinyl shopping bag:

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  1. Nylon mesh laundry bag with locking drawstring
  2. Every Drop beauty spatula … use this to get those last few drops out of your makeup jars
  3. Klip It to Go Breakfast container – this is a container with a locking lid that has a second smaller container that nests inside and a little spoon. Perfect to keep your yogurt and fruit from making your granola soggy before you can eat it.
  4. SockPro sock holders
  5. Space Bag To Go – 2 compressible travel bags in carry-on size
  6. Essential Cedar with Lavender Fragrance Cedar Blocks
  7. Pet Buddies dog food can covers
  8. Wine Tie-dings reusable gift adornment tag…very cool! It is a pretty gift tag for a wine bottle and you write on the tag with chalk, which can be erased and used again
  9. Reisenthel mini maxi shopper bag

If you’d like to win this bag, just leave me a comment telling me that you are a fan of The Container Store, or that you can’t wait to check out the new Tampa location, or that you really wish they had one in your area. I’ll mail it anywhere within the continental U.S.

This giveaway is now over…the winner has been contacted. Congratulations Karl!

It would also be really nice if you…

Check out The Container Store blog
Liked The Container Store Tampa Facebook page
Followed The Container Store on Twitter

But I’m not going to be checking up on those things. It would just be nice. You really should brave the crowds and check out the Grand Opening also. There will be prize giveaways every hour on the hour throughout the weekend, including $1,000 elfa Space Makeovers on both Saturday and Sunday. Get there early! The first 100 people to show their Facebook Check-ins on both Saturday and Sunday will receive $10 Store More gift cards! They will be open this Saturday, March 16th, from 9 am – 9 pm and on Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm.

Oh, and if you are in a hurry you can always take advantage of their “Click & Pick Up” option. Just shop online and you can pick it up locally. You can even let them know when you expect to arrive and they will provide curb service. Sweet.

I can’t wait to go back and shop! Thank you so much to The Container Store for having us today.

[Disclosure: I was invited to this event and given lunch and an awesome goody bag in exchange for blogging about the store, although that was not an explicit requirement. All opinions of this stores fantastic awesomeness are my own.]