"Some people tell me I need a 12-step program for remodeling," laughs Mario Bisio as he walks through the latest iteration of his eponymous store on Sixth Avenue. It's a beautiful 1920s building with glorious crown moulding and tons of charm. Still, Bisio has added even more character to the space: a 1994 remodel saw the addition of a grand staircase with a steel railing forged here in Seattle, along with an expanded women's department. This time around, Mario's has expanded laterally, taking over the neighboring space that was formerly Bocz Salon, which moved two doors down.
It took years of dreaming, one year of planning, and about three months of construction mode, says Bisio. Now, with the newfound square footage, the luxury retailer has expanded its men's collections—Brunello Cucinelli, Ermenegilda Zegna, indeed the place outside of Italy to physically shop the line, Isaia, Loro Piana, even find more men's shoes on display.
Womenswear has grown too: The upstairs mezzanine holds twice as much shoes and handbags, plus the space has completely opened up. No more weaving through clothing racks; you could do cartwheels to the expanded Loro Piana area. Definitely don't...but you could.
Beyond expansion or bringing in new technologies (you can reserve items and shop across all eight stores, view your virtual closet, get a status update on any in-progress alterations on what is essentially a giant tablet called MPIX), Mario's is still very much Mario's. "The heart and soul hasn't changed," says Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, the chief marketing officer of Mitchells Stores. The two companies, Mario's and Mitchells, partnered in 2015 and have been strong ever since. Or, as Bisio puts it: "It was about time we put a ring on it."