Normally, this spot in our July-August issue presents the year’s Top 10 Retail Center Experiences, an all-star lineup of retail centers that over-achieve in adding merriment to the merchandise. But guest experiences have been few in this virus-plagued year, so Chain Store Age decided to shine a light on centers and retail real estate companies that are leading the way in creating safe, yet still-inviting experiences to draw crowds back to their properties. In this challenging time, our COMEBACK centers are re-engaging their visitors with society, not just retail. The editors of CSA's No. 10 pick is:
Plaza del Lago, Wilmette, Ill., got its start as Spanish Court in the 1920s in this spot north of Chicago then called No Man’s Land. A hundred years later, this now mixed-use project used its open land to survive.
High-end, locally owned tenants took the concept of “open air” to a new level. Yoga 6 transitioned from virtual yoga classes to a tranquil experience located in the breezeway adjacent to the center’s historic fountain. Outdoor seating was maximized to accommodate eateries like Convito Café & Market and Burhops Seafood. Chantilly Lace carried on its high level of service through virtual consultations and Zoom shopping party sessions, personally delivering purchases to customers.
Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next eight centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed: