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2021's Top 10 Retail Experiences: No. 8 Avalon

Chain Store Age picks physical retail's most engaging centers
Al Urbanski
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The COVID-19 pandemic put the old retail real estate establishment up against the wall. 

All of a sudden, the enclosed mega-centers that had won people over for decades with controlled environments and all-encompassing selections were being shut down as health hazards. People found it safer and easier to buy their clothes and even their dinners online, and what new projects started were open-air centers loaded with restaurants, entertainment centers, bars, and green spaces.

One very popular such mixed-use center in Alpharetta, Ga., became the poster project for the New Retail World Order. North American Properties’ Avalon center deftly hit all the right compositional notes on NAP’s avante-center music sheet: chic shops, fine-dining restaurants, a swank hotel, luxury apartments, Class A office space, concierge service, and 200 events a year that draw people in from as far away as Atlanta.

“We call each of our employees at Avalon ‘ExperienceMakers.’ It applies to everyone on our team, from executives to housekeepers to maintenance staff,” said Cayley Mullen, NAP’s VP of marketing. “We show them all the videos of our services and events and explain to them that they’re a part of this.”

In order to keep Avalon “activated” 18 hours a day, every day, Mullen and her marketing corps treat tenants differently than most landlords, too.

“We set the tone with tenants on day one that we can’t do these events without them,” she said. “We will cater to each of their needs and do special invitation-only events for specific categories of retailers.”

Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next two centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed:

No. 1 Easton Town Center
No. 2 American Dream
No. 3 Galleria Dallas
No. 4 Tuscan Village
No. 5 National Harbor
No. 6 La Centerra At Cinco Ranch
No. 7 Downtown Silver Spring

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