Danville’s Piedmont Mall is going to become Danville’s Danville Mall. Let’s take a look at what this transformation will be…
First, I’ve got to say that the new name of the place was rather bland & quite boring. I can think of only a few malls that have just the name of the city it’s in plus the word “Mall” tacked to the end of it. If you’re going to spend money on “needed renovation”, put a few bucks into coming up with a new name that makes people remember it. I’m sure most people around here will still refer to it as “Piedmont Mall” anyway…
Next, let’s take a look at some of the changes they’re going to make with this renovation in order of what’s mentioned in the press release.
- Carpeting – Wait, what? You start with carpeting as the first mentioned renovation? The only carpet is in the areas of where the fountains were. When I think of a mall, I really don’t think of carpeting. But hey, if that’s good enough to lead the list for HSG, so be it. New carpet. Huzzah.
- Restrooms – The current restrooms are made out of painted concrete blocks that give it that oh-so-comfy prison look. They can only go up from there.
- Escalators – Considering the ones that are in the mall haven’t worked since about 1917 and they hadn’t been trying to repair them, this is one of the biggest things that needed working on. Sears, Belk and JCPenney had no problem keeping their escalators running continuously since the stores opened, so I wonder why the mall never even attempted a real repair effort in the past four years? Anyway, about time for that to get redone.
- Removing the “dated wood paneling” – I still think the wood paneling looked rather good, so what do I know. Am I “dated” for thinking that way? No, I don’t have avocado green appliances in my kitchen.
- Improvements to the interior lighting – Again, really? I never noticed any dark areas in the place. Go figure.
- Installation of historic photographs – Well, there ya go. With as many vacant storefronts that they have in the mall, they’ll be enough room they’ll have enough room to go back to the “historical photographs” of the Norman Conquest. We’ll get to that in the next section. One question… do you really “install” photographs? I just frame them and hang them on the wall.
- Landscaping – It will take them eight years to pick up all of the cigarette butts out of that mulch.
- New signage – Considering there is no marquee sign that mentions the mall anywhere around, I’m guessing that any signage would be new by definition. I did notice that the Piedmont Mall low-riser sign at the Mt. Cross Rd. entrance has been partially obliterated by what looked like a car accident. Well, that saved them a little money.
- Improved entryways – That means doors that work. By the way, how do doors actually break? And when they do break, wouldn’t you just put another door in it’s place? It’s strange that the anchor stores who have their own entrance doors rarely have to use the “USE OTHER DOOR” sign.
We’re going to have a newly renovated mall, but who’s going to go there? In an article with the R&B, a HSG marketing analyst talked about the issues of getting stores there. Let’s break that down.
Hull says they are very mindful of the perceptions of their target market, namely women. “Women don’t like to be cornered,” she said. “They don’t like that feeling.”
Um… yeah. Patronizing much? Generalizing much? Wow.
One noticeable change at the mall has been the absence of kiosks. Eliminating those was part of improving shopper perceptions, Hull said. “It opens up the mall,” she said. “People enjoy walking in that open space. When you have kiosks, it makes people push to one side.” Shoppers feel cramped, she said, and they can’t see what the opposite side of the mall has to offer. “If you eliminate the kiosks, you get nice lines of sight,” she said.
“Hey look, Gladys. I can see a bunch of vacant storefronts on the other side of this place now. Man, that’s refreshing. I’m glad they got rid of all these extra places where I might have spent some money. God forbid anybody would come to a mall to buy things. Now they’ve got more room for us to dodge those crazy mall walkers who will run over top of us.”
Some mall tenants have recently left, such as Health No. 1 and Unlimited, and Hull says some more exits can be expected. “These were month-to-month leases,” she said. The mall is looking for longer-term tenants that fit their plans. She says the mall is not simply kicking out local businesses.
I believe “Health No. 1″ was that big open area store with massage tables and a creepy looking guy working. I never saw any customers in there. Wow, didn’t see that closing coming. I have no idea what the hell “Unlimited” was. If they were going to get “tenants that suit their plans”, they’d have had them a long time ago.
She says the mall is not simply kicking out local businesses. “You need tenants that are compatible with one another and suitable for an enclosed mall tenant,” Hull said. Enclosed malls operate 72 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, she said. “Because of this, there are higher operating costs for tenants,” she said. “Typically, these tenants are national retailers, because they have a large sales volume and loyal customer base.” She added, “That doesn’t mean that a local business could not be successful in a closed mall venue,” she said. “If they have a large volume and loyal customer base, they could be successful. That doesn’t mean they won’t be successful elsewhere.”
Words fail me. They’re not kicking out local businesses, but they’d be just as successful elsewhere. Spin cycle, engage!
Of course, that means some empty spaces. Hull Storey Gibson likes to cover vacancies, Hull said, with drywall and historical photographs from the community. “The community really enjoys coming into the mall, shopping, and taking their time, looking at the photos and reading captions,” she said.
Oh yes, they’ll enjoy looking at the historical photographs and will read the captions… ONCE! Nobody is going to make the trip from 25 miles or more away to come to a newly-renovated mall that has nothing new and exciting to do. Do these people even get it?
OK, I’m done. Let’s recap. Yay renovations. Boo idiot management. Same as it ever was. Meh.