This year, the retail landscape has gone from forever changing to forever changed. The pandemic added a unique element of surprise to the already confusing face of brick and mortar sales. The solution? Frontier Real Estate Investments has come up with what they call their “culinary and community experience.” The new Rodeo 39 Public Market is a 41,000 square foot public space that houses over 25 dining, entertainment and retail concepts with accommodation for curbside pick up, too.
Bar inside Rodeo 39
In the heart of Orange County, Rodeo 39 might be just minutes away from both Disneyland and the beach but it’s also in the city of Stanton. Doesn’t ring a bell? It won’t to most. Stanton is an overlooked, quiet, slightly shabby area that most people generally drive through on the way to the freeway. It doesn’t usually get such glamorous attention. But Dan Almquist, managing partner of Frontier Real Estate Investments, and his crew saw the potential in the rough little gem of the city and they have sincerely stuck it on the map and given it a little LA-worthy facelift in the process. We spoke with Almquist about what Rodeo 39 has to offer and why his company placed their faith in the city of Stanton.
Stanton isn’t usually thought of as a hipster destination. Why did you choose Stanton?
We’ve always loved working with underdogs and areas that aren’t typically considered the go-to when you think about creating a destination. But Stanton is very centrally located and the surrounding communities are bustling, from Huntington Beach and Anaheim to Little Saigon in Westminster. Rodeo 39 is located right off the 22 freeway at Beach Boulevard, not even a minute after you exit the freeway. The beach is 20 minutes away and Disneyland is 15 minutes the other way.
Rodeo 39 at night
Is the culinary retail experience the way forward in retail and will Rodeo 39 be branching out into other areas as well?
Tailoring an experience or destination to the specific community is certainly the way forward for us with all of our projects, beginning with Rodeo 39 Public Market. We didn’t want to just come in and put in something that we thought the community needed.
We tapped those in the very community to help us curate a mix of tenants that reflected the diverse community we wanted to serve and we wanted to create a place with character and soul. That was very important to us. Food has always been something that brings people together and we offer such a great range of chef-driven eateries but we’re actually more than just a food hall. We have a craft brewery, and we’re home to a renowned tattoo parlor called Skin Design Tattoos, helmed by one of the most sought-after tattoo artists in the country and this is their first California shop.
There’s also ZeroUV, one of Orange County’s hottest names in eyewear and this is their first boutique location, in addition to ORNG CNTY, a branded street apparel and accessories line that pays tribute to OC.
We’re also looking forward to other concepts opening in the future here at Rodeo 39, including a nail salon, VR studio and retro arcade.
Tattoo parlour at Rodeo 39
Apparel and accessories of streetwear label ORNG CNTY are sold at Rodeo 39
What feedback are you already getting from guests?
We’ve had the same guests come several times in the same week, in some cases, every week, which has been really cool to witness. There’s just so much to see and do at Rodeo 39, from all of the sprawling murals by local artists located throughout the center to the more than 20 eateries and shops. We’re a true public market, with a bakery, coffee shop, flower shop, artisan butcher and craft brewery. And the range of eateries runs the gamut from Vietnamese banh xeo and vegan burgers to Filipino rice bowls and Detroit-style pizza–there’s really something for everyone.
We’re seeing folks flock to Shootz for their Hawaiian fusion comfort food like their Hot Kimchi Butter Katsu sandwiches and Bruleed Spam Musubi to meat-lovers discovering Laotian BBQ at Kra Z Kai’s BBQ and those with a sweet tooth walking away with boxes of fluffy vegan donuts from Dot & Dough. You can even pick out a steak from the artisan butcher at Primal Cuts and they’ll cook it right in front of you, with truffle butter. Actually, that’s one of the most fun aspects of Rodeo 39. Most of our eateries have glassed-in, exhibition-style kitchens so you can catch all the culinary action. And the tattoo shop has glass on all sides so you can watch the tattoo artists at work, too.
Restaurants and bars are in the focus at Rodeo 39
How does the in-person experience help both retailers and visitors alike?
I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been stuck at home on our screens more than ever the last few months and if we’re honest here, I think it’s proven that there’s only so much the internet can provide in terms of experience. As human beings, we crave connection and the ability to go somewhere to discover something new, whether it be new flavors or retail therapy that’s right in front of them, not days away from arriving on their doorstep. We’ve been amazed at our visitors so far, which includes an even mix of young and old, and families and couples, to office folks grabbing lunch and coffee.