SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Malls across the nation are closing. According to real estate research firm, Reis, retail vacancy rates are at 10-percent across the country with more closures expected in the next year.
Despite many stores, and subsequently malls, shutting their doors, there has been a steady growth happening at a Sioux Falls shopping center. We decided to find out how the Western Mall is defying the odds.
The Western Mall is a bit of an anomaly in the retail industry right now. While many storefronts are shutting down, the Western Mall is at capacity with more than 50 active businesses. Not only is the Western Mall surviving, they’re actually in the process of updating the building with new flooring and paint.
“I think we offer a little bit more of a different dynamic than a lot of other malls. We’re not just retail, so we are able to various different backgrounds of people,” Amy Weiler, Western Mall Property Manager, said.
That variety includes everything from a furniture store to a fitness center.
“It’s been great. We get a lot of traffic. Location is huge for operating a gym, so this has been super helpful with that too. Everybody knows where it is, so it’s been easy to say, ‘We’re in the Western Mall,'” Chris Mello, Co-owner/Operator of CPM Fitness, said.
As a business owner in this space for nearly six years, Mello says it’s been ideal.
“We bring a lot of positive energy to the gym. We coined the people here the solicitors, the mall walkers. They become our friends. So they get excited for us and we actually get excited when they’re here too,” Mello said.
Just down the hall from CPM Fitness is another unique aspect of the Western Mall.
“With the arcade and the movie theater, people can come in and do Tae Kwon do. Lots of fun stuff down that hallway,” Weiler said.
Weiler believes one of the key secrets to success is the connection management has with each business owner.
“As a property manager, you’re not just somebody who just talks to somebody at corporate. You’re talking to different people who become your friends,” Weiler said.