Bangor Mall Shifting Toward Local, Experiential Shopping

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) "The business is changing and we are changing with that."

James Gerety is the General Manager at the Bangor Mall. He says the industry is cyclical and as people gravitate to online shopping, he needs to entice customers to the mall.

"This industry is always adapting whatever economic pressures there might be, more competitive pressures I might add, we will adapt to those," he said.

As part of a national retail trend, the mall has seen places like Ruby Tuesday, Hallmark, and The Gap leave.
Macy's also closed earlier this year, but there's good news concerning that space.

"I am happy to say that there has been a lot of activity on that space," he said, "It's a space that does have an interested party and they are going through that process of liquidating or selling the building. So that's in the works. There is an interested party and we fully expect something, certainly by the fall."

Macy's closing shows a growing trend.

"The customer is not looking for something as tangible as a shirt or a tie or address etc.," said Gerety, "I really want to have something else where they can take away that experience that they don't get elsewhere."

They are working to add locally owned stores .

"I always just assumed it was way too expensive for us and I'm actually paying less here than I was at our previous location" said Holli Owsley, Owner of Dream Dress Bridal and Formal.

She says the move has been great for their bottom line.

"As of the end of June, we'd already made what we had all last year."

"Location is everything," said Sunshine Gannuccelli, her Fitness Studio and Wellness Center will open in August.

"The most sought after gym memberships is at large malls," she said, "In Tampa and Orlando, their gym memberships are through the roof. People like the convenience of being able to shop, run their errands, and get that workout in."

Ivan Valladares has run his phone accessory kiosk out of the mall for six years now.

"When you buy online, maybe three times cheaper than what I'm offering, but the thing is when they come to us, I have the right case, the right mobile for your phone, and will put it in for you," he said, "You maybe spend two minutes and then you'll be done with that."