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. 3 pick is:
Where malls of the ‘80s sought Macy’s and Dillard’s as anchors for their tenants, RocaPoint Partners and The Georgetown Company went in an entirely different direction at this mixed-use center that opened in 2019.
They anchored it to the Big Creek Greenway, a 14-mile hiking trail, and Halcyon, in Forsyth, Ga., became its new trailhead. Fit hikers and bikers started finishing off their treks in the center’s outdoor dining plazas, exercise areas, and dog-friendly paths. Management endeavored to invite them to keep stopping by throughout the pandemic.
“We got in touch with Forsyth County. We figured we could be a drop-off spaces for all types of goods. Some blood drives were needed and we could do that. But even before we could fully re-open, people could walk and bike into our greens and stay distanced,” said RocaPoint principal Phil Mays.
Halcyon’s many restaurants were able to thrive because of the plentiful outdoor dining space. “Because Halcyon is so oriented to the outside, some of our restaurants posted record numbers during the crisis,” Mays said.
Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next eight centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed: