Are non-corporate stores the future for malls?

1 year ago Nicholas Rodriguez 0

While major store are leaving Sunset Place, new store concepts are attempting to revive interest and business.

The Shops at Sunset Place is a three story mall without a roof. There are no anchor stores, instead the mall is host to AMC, LA Fitness, Splitsville and Buffalo Wild Wings. While they’re big companies, they do not lead people to visit other store unlike a Macy’s or Sears. Forever 21 and Barnes and Nobles are the two biggest stores there.

By: Douglass Gavilan
South Florida Uncovered
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Due to a lack of big department stores, companies such as American Eagle, Disney and Express and many more have closed shop in recent years. The closing of major stores has not worried the likes of Joaquin Ortiz, co-owner of Tea & Poets. His store features a tea bar along with live music, poetry and small independent shops.

“This store has been here for two years and doesn’t have any signs of slowing down,” said Ortiz. “While the more mainstream places are closing down, we keep striving because we offer a sense of community. We make it an effort to meet and remember names.”

The tea shop focuses on millenials and younger by having strong Wifi and multiple electrical outlets.  The shop has an assortment of tables and couches for anyone either looking to relax or do work. There is a stage inside used for artist to perform. The shop has small venders selling items like soap, jewelry and clothing.

The shops at Sunset Place opened in the year 1999. Since then, the original owners. Simon Property Group, has sold their idea to Federal Realty Investment Trust, Comras Company and Grass River Property in 2015.

The mall is full of art and architecture. In the central hub of the mall, some of the walls have been painted by artists. Most times of the day it’s possible to see young adults take their picture among the mall.

“I come here a lot mainly just to blow off some steam from work,” said Amy Lacayo. “This is a very beautiful and just nice place to walk around.”

Pop-Up Paint shop is an unusual store to be seen at a mall. Most painting studios are located in a strip mall or seperate. The paint shop here is located right next to the ticket office for AMC theaters. Customers are welcome to pick among multiple walls of art and are taught how to paint by a volunteer or staff.

“It’s pretty cool having a paint shop located right next to a movie theater,” said Rawan Mansi, a volunteer for the shop. “We always get people who come out of a movie and end up deciding to paint out of nowhere. Most of the people coming here are rather surprised to find us here, but we are more than happy to accept walk-ins. ”

The mall last year attempted to add new business in the way of apartment buildings. Their bid was denied by the city of South Miami in November of last year. This hasn’t deterred new business from arriving.

A new store coming to Sunset Place is Mag Fashion Lounge, a shop dedicated to featuring clothing, art and local vendors to the public, and featuring a central stage area used for live performances, shows and actors they are set to open in September.

“South Miami is such a diverse and nice area,” said Anna Volpe, a clothing designer who will open her shop at Mag. “A lot of people living in the south usually have to travel as far as to Wynwood or Fort Lauderdale to see fashion and style. Here we’re focused on showing off a great concept people don’t have to come far for.”

While the future of Sunset Place is yet to be determined, the new concept stores could possibly be the future for all malls.