Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sandburg Mall: Step Up, Or Step Out (Part 1)

Hi there! It's been a while since I updated last, hasn't it? Well, hopefully with the situation at home finally settling down, I'll have more time and energy to devote to silly things like blogging. Hah!

And what spawned this sudden update, after such a long silence? Well... let's just say it's frustration.

You see, our local shopping center, the Sandburg Mall, is losing yet another store. With so many of its formerly-occupied storefronts now empty, the loss of long-term merchant Fashion Bug (which has been a fixture at the mall since I was a little girl,) is a staggering blow for this establishment.

But, really - I can't blame Fashion Bug for leaving. Their departure isn't what is frustrating to me. What's frustrating is the lack of constructive action on the mall owners' behalf. To be perfectly blunt, I wouldn't want to rent retail space from a provider that effectively took my money, and did absolutely nothing to attract potential customers - and, in fact, seemed more interested in driving the public away.

Take, for example, the appearance of Sandburg Mall itself. The first thing any potential customer sees is a poorly-maintained, crumbling parking lot adorned with faded paint and sorely-neglected landscaping. To be perfectly blunt, if it weren't for the scattered cars there, the place would look abandoned. Does that sound at all appealing?

The second thing a potential customer sees is the drab appearance of Sandburg Mall's exterior itself. It's dull and brown, with nothing particularly attention-grabbing about it. The signs that are supposed to direct people to the mall are likewise drab, outdated, and extremely easy to miss. This setup worked just fine in the Eighties and Nineties, but nowadays, with big businesses like Wal-Mart relocating to the edge of town - and moving into bigger, cleaner, more attractive buildings, to boot, with prominent signage announcing their locations... Well, it just can't compete.

Should anyone manage to look past the exterior flaws of the property, and make it inside, the very next thing they will be confronted with are numerous empty storefronts, tacky paper "signs" taped to windows, and an archaic layout that's barely changed at all since Sandburg Mall first opened in 1974. It's old, stale, and unattractive, end of story. The interior signage? Is just as dull and uninspiring as the external signage, especially that which is advertising things that no longer even exist - like the cinema, which shut down in 2007.

Most of the storefronts that are occupied are unattractive at best, and embarrassingly amateurish at worst.

The halls are cluttered with nearly-empty kiosks, installments advertising shower stalls, and archaic kiddie "attractions" that were cutting edge thirty years ago, but which can't hope to appeal to today's under-twelve crowd.

Also, there's very little by way of food at the so-called food court - there's an Orange Julius and a KarmelKorn, as well as some obscure little eatery that doesn't even seem to have set hours of operation, and that's it. All of the other restaurants that once called Sandburg Mall home are long-closed, leaving nothing behind but empty spaces, and fixtures that do nothing but gather dust.

It's painful to behold, especially when compared to the memory of an establishment that was flourishing a mere ten years ago.

On the cyberspace front, Sandburg Mall fares no better - their website is positively ancient, unintuitive and, again, amateurish. It's UGLY. It honestly looks like something I would have put together in my Comp Skills 1 class - and that is most assuredly not a compliment. Could I do any better now? Not likely, but there are thousands of people out there who could, for a reasonable price.

I also see very little advertising going on for the Sandburg Mall. Once in a while, a local animal shelter will advertise an event being held there, but that is, by and large, the extent of it. The anchor stores advertise (largely because they're national chains,) but do the mall owners put forth any effort in advertising anything, themselves? To put it simply, no. I suppose they think that they don't have to advertise, because "everyone already knows" that they're there, but that's a ridiculous notion. Of course "everyone knows" about the mall - the problem is, nobody cares, and the mall owners don't seem very intent on making anyone care.

And that, my friends, is utterly tragic.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

No comments: