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Shopping Center as Community Center

The S.F. Chronicle had a story today about how the Stanford Shopping Center has remained relevant during an era when shopping malls all over the country are collapsing. Despite the obvious wealth of Silicon Valley, the center has had to reinvent itself to stay viable. And it has done so to the point of being among the top 10 centers in the country. How, one might ask? The answer is in giving the customers what they want, which is a people place. According to the article, the center has added people-friendly amenities like outdoor seating and a community fireplace, decent wi-fi, modernized walkways, and updated floral planters. There are also special events like fashion shows and jazz concerts that draw in the community.

Are there people-friendly amenities at shopping centers in our community? Hmm.... Merlone Geier's "The UV" (in the City of Sacramento) has outdoor seating, whereas the outdoor spaces at Merlone Geier's Arcade Creek Town Center (in unincorporated Arden Arcade) have...parking spaces. Howe 'bout Arden seems to have a bench or two out in the parking lot. Country Club Plaza has a fitness club but doesn't really have a place to linger over coffee or ice cream afterwards. Country Club Center has...a candy store, Panera and some restaurants that most people use for take-out. And then there's Town and Country Village, where much of the people-friendly stuff was taken out for Big Boxes -- ask a long-time resident about art shows or the free dance band concerts they used to have on Friday nights all summer long. Can Arden Arcade learn ANYTHING from the Stanford Shopping Center? Do we have ANY shopping centers that make people feel important or valued as a customer?

"To me it’s like a park with shopping integrated into it — it does feel special and gives people a reason to want to come back."
Stanford Shopping Center GM, Steven Lichak, quoted in "How Stanford Shopping Center stays relevant in the heart of Silicon Valley" S.F. Chronicle, 8/7/2018
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Says The Chron: "Stanford Shopping Center has reimagined itself as a community center to keep foot traffic constant: It includes a slew of eateries, including Tender Greens, Yucca de lac and Fleming’s steak house, and boutique fitness studios such as SoulCycle and Turbo 26 Yoga." A "slew of eateries" AKA "a variety of dining choices" -- where customers can hang out with a friend after yoga. That's different from a take-out burrito.
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