Please, no jokes about Neiman Marcus Westchester making Jeff O’Geary an offer he couldn’t refuse.
But apparently the luxe anchor of The Westchester mall in White Plains did and now O’Geary, the former vice president and general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Greenwich, holds the same titles, just at NMW.
At a moment when Saks Fifth Avenue Greenwich has become The Saks Shops Greenwich, expanding on Greenwich Avenue and Elm Street, O’Geary says, “I was interested in having a full line under one roof — men’s, women’s and children’s — from head to toe” — as Neiman Marcus does.
Plus, he adds, it had been a while since he worked in a mall environment. He praised the Simon Property Group — which owns and manages The Westchester — for its classy renovations of the mall.
“It’s speaking to the taste of the customer,” O’Geary says, “and the company’s dedication to this market.”
Neiman Marcus Westchester, too, has undergone a makeover with a sleek new Beauty department, Van Cleef & Arpels Boutique, Precious Jewels Salon, The Man’s Store and Mariposa restaurant, to name a few. “We’ve also tried to do more seating areas,” O’Geary says.
But in essentials, Neiman Marcus is much the same, a first and last word in luxury. It’s not just about price points, however, O’Geary says. It’s still also about craftsmanship “and having the right person to sell.” As he looks around, O’Geary sees many veteran associates on the sales staff — “people who know the history of the brand and what’s important to the customer in the brand.”
At their helm, in turn, is a man also unchanged from the one we profiled in the September 2014 WAG. He’s still the courtly Southern gentleman with the lilt of North Carolina in his voice, still the natty dresser. On this day, a tie and matching pocket square with gold and green tones offset a crisp navy blazer, although he says, “I love clothes but I just as soon dress other people as myself.” And there’s still the fastidious eye at work. As we walk to the Van Cleef & Arpels Boutique, O’Geary tucks in an errant piece of merchandise without breaking his stride.
It’s an eye he honed over 18 years selling, buying and planning at May Department Stores Co. and Macy’s, whose parent company, Federated, acquired May; serving as assistant general manager of merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue Greenwich; and running the designer apparel floors at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan.
But it was in Henderson, North Carolina, that O’Geary was introduced to retail at the family-owned Roth-Stewart. The East Carolina University graduate then worked for the now-defunct Thalhimers, a Richmond, Virginia, department store that was ultimately taken over by May.
Now as he heads into the thick of a new year, O’Geary will look to tweak NMW’s stellar lineup, which includes such “fantastic brands” as Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinelli and Valentino, just to name a few, to ensure that there are the right pieces within the collections. The Neiman Marcus Westchester customer — whether she lives in Scarsdale or Greenwich — is the New York customer, interested in the sophisticated and the classic as well as the trendy.
“She’s confident, not quirky. And we want to edit the buy for the Westchester customers so we have things that reflect her likes and the way she dresses, the right mix of dresses and separates, colors and blacks, prints and solids, plus pieces that travel well and have a million uses.” They include dresses that go from day to night with a change of accessories.
It’s all part of a job that begins for O’Geary at 7 a.m. and doesn’t end until almost 12 hours later. Meanwhile, he’s looking for digs in Westchester, forgoing the New Haven home he did so much work on but keeping the one in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Perhaps that’s why when you ask him his idea of luxury, he doesn’t mention a yacht or a Lamborghini but rather “an hour of quiet.”
For more, visit neimanmarcus.com.