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Q&A: Container Store CEO talks about Las Vegas economy, company’s new store

The Container Store CEO Kip Tindell at the The Container Store in Town Square on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

The Container Store in Vegas

The Container Store CEO Kip Tindell at the The Container Store in Town Square on Wednesday, May 9, 2012. Launch slideshow »

On Saturday, Las Vegas will welcome its first Container Store.

The storage and organization outlet will occupy a 22,000-square-foot space in Town Square that previously housed Borders.

The Container Store offers some 10,000 kitchen, office, travel and laundry products for time- and space-starved customers. The company is based in Dallas and is on track to earn $700 million this year.

After arriving in Las Vegas to prepare for the opening, CEO Kip Tindell talked about the store’s move to the city and its plans for the future:

Why did the Container Store choose Las Vegas as its newest location?

We don’t have a store in Nevada at all; this is our first. We’ve existed since 1978, and we only have 55 stores nationwide. So when we open a new one, it’s a very big deal.

Frankly, we have a super-abundance of real estate opportunities, and a lot of developers in a lot of cities want us to open in their towns. It was just time to open here.

Why did you choose Town Square?

We’ve been looking at Town Square since about 2008. We tried to find a location that is accessible to all parts of Las Vegas, and we feel this center serves the community well.

We’ll be neighbors withWhole Foods, which we love. We share a lot of common customers, and that wonderful grocery store creates so much traffic.

Town Square is beautifully built. It’s 60 percent local traffic and 40 percent tourist traffic, so we can not only serve the local market but also build the brand. There are many people in Iowa who don’t have a Container Store.

Why come to Las Vegas now?

Las Vegas was hit hard by the recession, so we were concerned about that, but it seems to be rebounding. The climate now is a little better than it has been.

Also, Town Square is settling down a little more. This particular location is in the heart of the center. We’re really excited about it.

Will we see any more stores in Nevada?

Maybe not. We prefer to have one great store perfectly located rather than two well-located stores.

We don’t have any plans for another store in Las Vegas. But when we get to 100 stores across the country, maybe we’ll open another one here. Right now, there are so many major cities that we aren’t in. It’s better to be looking at new cities.

You hired about 65 workers. Was it hard to find qualified employees here?

We have been on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For for 13 years now, so when we open a store, people go online and see that. We’re an employee-first culture. We think if you really, truly take better care of your employees, they’ll take better care of the customers. That reputation precedes us.

We have an awful lot of applications, and we’re only able to hire about 3 percent of the people who apply. We hope to find the very best.

You’ve spent the week in Las Vegas. Have you had any time for fun?

Our financial partner, Leonard Green, is an owner of the Palms, so that has been the headquarters for our opening. We have hundreds of vendors and friends who come in for the grand opening celebration.

We’ll have about 3,000 people at our party. We invite people who we think represent the community in all shapes and forms. We partner with the Junior League of Las Vegas, and 10 percent of all sales our opening weekend goes to support them.

The Palms gave me a wonderful suite. I’m looking out my window right now at a gorgeous view of Las Vegas.

We’ve had some time to enjoy. I’m a conservative gambler, but I won about $400 last night.

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  1. We LOVE The Container Store! We have shopped them back East, and are glad that this little piece of civilization is coming to Las Vegas. They have the best quality, well designed household storage and organizing solutions at reasonable prices. This will also be a good anchor for the northeast corner of the main entrance of Town Square.