Monday, March 02, 2009

Changes at the mall

Several stores at Grand Forks' Columbia Mall have moved into new spaces or are preparing to do so.

Both Maurices and Victoria's Secret will be getting new spaces in the mall and have moved to temporary locations to prepare for the final move.  Victoria's Secret recently moved to a temporary location in the old Target wing of the mall and, in the near future, will move to the former Maurice's space which is being remodeled for the lingerie retailer.  Maurices has also moved to a temporary location in the Target wing in preparation for a move to their new location.

Tradehome Shoes is moving to the former Scott's Music space near Center Court.  Meanwhile, Scott's has moved to a larger location in the Sears wing.  The new Scott's brings together under one roof the Scott's retail store and also the "fine arts studio" formerly located downtown.  Lastly, SportsZone recently moved from Center Court to a larger space in the JC Penney wing.

Could this shuffling around of stores and remodeling of store spaces be connected to GK Development's longterm plans for the mall?  Have you heard about any other upcoming changes at Columbia Mall?


dale said...

We were there yesterday, and it looks like Pearl Vision has left as well, bummer because that's the only place I've bought glasses from in a long time.

We were also able to contrast Columbia Mall with West Acres, which we were at on Saturday. WA was probably three times as busy on a random Saturday than CM is during the holidays, and no comparison at all on the random Saturday vs random Sunday. I know that there's a population thing, but the malls are probably proportional in size (WA being about double the size) so it definitely means something.

With the massive numbers of Canadians that are down here every weekend (less than a year ago, but still lots of them here,) one is left wondering what they're doing. Target, Walmart and some groceries can probably be run in a few hours, and it certainly doesn't seem like they're making their way over to the mall.

It's in both the mall owners and the city's interests to have enough here to keep the shoppers occupied for more than a few hours. As I told my wife yesterday, if I was the mall owner, I'd be on the phone to Royal Fork right then and there, offering up some prime space in the old Target building, at their old (pre-raise that sent them packing) rental rates, and remodel on the house. Maybe you'd lose some money, but you'd at least have a chance at getting some of that traffic back, and the better visibility location of the old Target space might convince the restaurant to give it another shot.

I'm sure in this economy, it's tough to retain your tenants, much less get new ones, but as attrition continues, eventually there comes a tipping point that results in something like this:

the Blues Brothers Mall

I certainly don't want to see that, and I'm sure that the owners don't either. But unless something major is done, probably requiring a pretty big financial sacrifice on their part, they might see their current rents drop to nothing, and we might see a lot of Canadian shoppers (who are helping to prop up our local economy) bypass the city for better prospects to the south, the only cost being an extra hour on I-29. And that means the hotels, restaurants and other shops that they currently support may see the same results, which will effectively crater our service based local economy.

Ben said...

Dale - Pearl Vision is actually changing to "Eyes on Columbia" - according to an employee last time we stopped in to get glasses adjusted. They will remodel and open soon - according to them at that time.

JP said...

It's a shame that the Columbia Mall is still SO much smaller than West Acres...the food court is a complete joke now. What are there like 3 different food options left?

It's just depressing walking into Columbia Mall after going to West Acres. They're trying though it looks like, can't fault them there.

jesslvan said...

I wish I could say I've heard of some upcomming changes, but it seems as of now it's the same stores moving around. I was hoping it was because something new was moving into the mall. Once the barnes and noble closes up on campus you'd think they'd consider the opening camp in the columbia mall possibly old target space. There's so much they could do with that space besides having b/n. Hopefully they get cracking sometime soon. Want to revitalize the mall/revitalize that space.