Burlington and ALDI a good mix for the thriving Dartmouth Mall


DARTMOUTH – At a time when malls seem to be disappearing one by one, Dartmouth Mall management say the mall, which turns 50, is more than surviving.

“We’ve been able to search around the corner for both the retail landscape and consumer behavior,” said Heather Crowell, executive vice president of PRIET, the real estate investment trust that oversees the center. commercial Dartmouth.

According to Crowell, the secret to a successful mall is looking beyond traditional retail. Malls are no longer just about shopping, but should focus on how to be one-day experiences which, in addition to shopping, include amenities such as dining, entertainment and fitness.

Inside the new ALDI at Dartmouth Shopping Center – what you need to know before entering this basket

“We actually have all of the key categories in Dartmouth,” Crowell said, not that PRIET oversees 18 other malls across the country. “We are taking deliberate steps that are more appealing to today’s consumer and become that community hub with more than just shopping. “

Two shoppers walk past Khoury Jewelers at Dartmouth Mall.

Since 2015, PRIET’s main objective has been to replace poorly performing department stores with corporate tenants. With the addition of Burlington in 2020, and now ALDI which opened on September 23, there has been a 30% increase in pedestrian traffic, according to Crowell.

A major change in the ambience of the mall

The Dartmouth Mall opened in 1971 as a one-level shopping center. It was renovated in 2000, adding a food court and in 2016, a 12-screen luxury AMC cinema. JCPenney and Macy’s were also major factors in the mall’s success.

“There is a lot of positive energy here in the mall,” said Cory Stellmark, owner of Rainoni’s Pizzeria & Grill. “We have seen a significant increase in activity.

Rainoni’s has been a tenant since 1982. Originally located near Spencer’s, the pizzeria moved to the food court in 2017. Stellmark recently took over as owner in February.

Cory Stellmark, owner of Rainoni's Pizzeria & Grill prepares a great pizza at Dartmouth Mall.

“The mall feels renewed,” he added. “All positive vibes.”

“It has always been busy,” said Andrew Khoury, owner of Khoury Jewelers and tenant for 20 years. “But with Burlington and ALDI… it helps to make things busier. “

“There is a good assortment of stores,” said Lois Eveless, a retired teacher who has visited the mall for 15 years. ” I have been very happy. I live in Tiverton and it is worth the trip I have to take to get here.

Following:Dartmouth Shopping Center continues to be successful in a changing shopping landscape

“There’s a lot to do for the younger ones,” said Gordon Coombs of New Bedford, another longtime buyer. “I miss Sears. But I also like the new ones here. I keep coming back.

Andrew Khoury, owner, works on repairing a diamond ring in his shop at Khoury Jewelers in Dartmouth Mall.

Nicole Foisy, director of Windsor Fashions, which opened on September 16, also noticed a change in the vibe of the mall. “I think the mall needed something like this to add spice to the mall,” she said in a previous interview.

Foisy, originally from Dartmouth, has been visiting the mall since he was a child. “I feel like it’s been a little quiet the last few years. So people are really, really excited about us – which is cool to see.”

Closure of shopping centers across America

Unfortunately, not all shopping centers are as prosperous as Dartmouth.

According to a recent CoStar report in a USAToday article, more than 40 major retailers have declared bankruptcy and more than 11,000 stores have been announced for closure in 2020, breaking records for store closings.

A woman walks past Khoury Jewelers at Dartmouth Mall.

Occupancy rates for shopping centers hit 94.4% in the second quarter of 2020, their lowest level in at least a decade, according to the CoStar group, which tracks real estate.

In March 2019, Swansea Mall closed permanently. It started its downfall after losing both Sears and Toys “R” Us. The last straw was the shutdown of Macy’s in January 2019.

“Unfortunately, when those big anchors go away and aren’t replaced, a mall can quickly fall out of favor,” Aaron Jodka, analyst for real estate firm Colliers International in Boston, said in a USAToday article. .

Following:Shopping malls were in trouble before COVID-19 and now have more empty stores.

Susan and Bill Crombie, co-owners of Swan Framing and Gifts, were tenants of Swansea Mall. They opened their business at Dartmouth Mall in August.

Susan and Bill Crombie are seen behind some of their sports memorabilia frames at Swan Framing and Gifts in Dartmouth Mall.

“There is a big difference,” said Susan Crombie. “COVID being less ‘nasty’, shall we say? There were a lot more people and a lot more people walking around. People are carrying bags, which is always a good sign.

Patricia Volarinho, manager of the Sports and Things pop-up store, said the Dartmouth mall was by far her best experience compared to other malls in the New England area.

“Half of the stores are closed in most of them. In this mall, it is much heavier than other malls. Definitely, ”she said.

Steven is getting ready to set up some newly arrived inventory at Sports and Things at Dartmouth Mall.

“In 2021, good malls will continue to do well,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of US retail consultancy GlobalData. completely redundant.

“It’s just that 2021 will be a balance sheet year for underperforming properties. “

Foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai said average traffic at 16 major malls has fallen by nearly 50% this year. “This change is contributing to a decrease in the number of retailers and an increasing number of vacant spaces in shopping malls,” the study said.

Jeff Dupont, PREIT’s rental manager at Dartmouth Mall, says customers are alienated by empty storefronts. “The word they used was scary. It scared them, ”Dupont said, recalling a comment from someone who visited a nearby mall.

“You walk in and there is just no one there. It was just like a very unsettling atmosphere for them.

Small businesses contribute to success

Dupont oversees the local and regional businesses which make up about 30% of the store owners inside the mall. Nine of the companies are part of a go-kart program, which are the mini kiosks found in the middle of the mall.

“We think adding small businesses is what makes our properties unique and makes this experience different from going to another mall,” Crowell said.

Shoppers exit the Burlington store at Dartmouth Mall.

“Our shoppers are looking for the Hollister or the American Eagle, but they also like the unique product from local stores,” added Beth Zager, mall marketing manager.

Amanda Eyssallenne, sales manager for local company Herban Extracts, says Dupont and Dartmouth Mall homes have most likely kept their business alive.

“I feel like they really care about the well-being of our business and associate well with us,” said Eyssallenne. Open for two years, Herban Extracts sells locally grown hemp products.

The store debuted in a larger mall, but immediately moved to Dartmouth Mall. “I felt like it was more like we were just a number. And they were less flexible with us, ”she said. “Now because of Burlington and the bus stop at the entrance, foot traffic is much more intense here. “

“It helps us connect with Dartmouth,” added Dupont. “It’s just a good shopping center supported by the community.

Standard-Times team writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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