1.1 Million Square Feet of Suck

The teal and pink colossus know as Main Place mall is expanding. Again. Oh goody. Here are five ways the aging behemoth can be saved from itself:

1) Get more bathrooms. The eighth largest mall in America should have more than one bathroom. I know some of the major department stores have a potty here and there, but one average-sized restroom in the food court is not adequate. The line out the door of the Men’s Room should be proof enough. Stop being cheap and build a couple more places for us to relieve ourselves.

2) Drop the “Westfield” moniker. Nobody calls it “Westfield Main Place Santa Ana”. They call it “Main Place” or simply just “the mall”. Get over yourself. “Westfield” is not a brand anyone outside of Australia has ever heard of and if you want shoppers to show up with their wallets in hand, you might want to try building a brand identity the public understands.

3) Learn from your competitor’s mistakes. In 2004 Buena Park mall infamously threw a party and no one came. The result? A veritable ghost town with a shiny stucco shell. You’re going to have to line-up big name retailers if you want to play with the big boys.

4) Get better retailers. As we learned in Number 3 above, just because you remodel and expand, it doesn’t mean that big name high-end retailers are going to be queuing up. It’s going to be a tough sell. Heck, some cities have even offered to subsidize the construction cost, give the retailer a no-cost lease and more tax-breaks than a Republican can shake a stick at and they still can’t get a tenant to take them up on their offer.

5) Show some class. . Force the idiots running the Picture Show (second-run) Theater to staff their box office. Often the box-office is closed with a crudely written sign that redirects customers to the concessions stand upstairs to purchase tickets. If you want to attract high-end retailers and high-end customers, you might want to, you know, act like a high-end destination. The traveling road show atmosphere created by the cheap theater isn’t helping your image.

I’m sure there’s more that I haven’t thought of. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

1 Comment so far

  1. Maria (ocmaria) on March 5th, 2008 @ 7:33 am

    I don’t know if getting high-end retailers and remodeling would necessarily make the place any more spiffy or fancy, just because Santa Ana isn’t necessarily "high-end" (like Costa Mesa and SCP). Are there a lot of high-end shoppers in the area that are forced to go all the way to Costa Mesa because there’s nothing closer? (Well, not that I’m hoity-toity, but I will travel to SCP just to go to Origins, Bare Escentuals, Paper Source, Williams-Sonoma, and Apple.)

    Is this a case of "if you build it, they will come"?

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