In an attempt to entice consumers out of the comfort of their own homes and away from the ease of delivery services like Amazon and GrubHub, Orange County shopping centers and strip malls are getting even more creative and cleaver with their shopping, dining and entertainment options. It’s hard to compete with the nearly instant gratification of hitting a few buttons in an app on a smartphone from the couch, however, in the digital age a lot of these centers continue to expand and thrive.
The MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, for instance, is slated to undergo a $300 million renovation that would include more dining options, an upgraded movie theater, interactive and educational play centers for kids, a grocery store and 1,900 residential units. A similar idea was also pitched with the Brea Mall, though nothing has been approved there.
It’s become common place for large apartment and condo buildings to be erected near tshopping centers — such as Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, for example — however, the construction is beginning to move inward, bringing all of the amenities of a mall to the front doorsteps of hundreds of thousands of residents throughout Southern California.
To get folks of all ages out and shopping, some of the biggest centers in Orange County have added attractions like water features that kids can play in during the hot summer months, bowling alleys, craft breweries, unique fine and casual dining concepts, arcades, comedy clubs, concert venues, pop-up exhibitions and virtual reality experiences.
Simon Malls, which runs The Outlets at Orange, Anaheim Town Center, Westminster Mall, The Shops at Mission Viejo and the Brea Mall, is currently in partnership with the “Pokémon Go” like augmented reality mobile app game, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.” Though the game can be played pretty much anywhere, mall patrons will be able to discover sponsored inns and fortresses that give an advantage over other non-sponsored locations. Some of the malls will also host live events and QR assignments for the game players. The thought behind that partnership is simple: Get them in the door and hopefully they’ll spend their money.
Downtown Disney in Anaheim is home to The Void, which currently features “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” an immersive VR experience in which patrons become stormtroopers and fight lava monsters while on their mission. The Void was made to be able to change themes and is rumored to next become an experience based on the “Frozen” films. Just down the street, the Anaheim GardenWalk has the Go VR Gaming and Mission Escape Games, where groups work together to get out of an escape room in 60 minutes or less.
Pop-up experiences are also a big deal since they usually have a wacky theme with a cult following — ice cream, tacos, Mickey Mouse, horror movies and more — and most of them are interactive, but all of them are highly Instagram-worthy. It’s like free publicity every time someone visits one of the pop-ups and posts it with the coinciding hashtag. The District at Tustin Legacy has the BubblePop! experience for kids who love bubbles and fans of Hello Kitty can relax and take pics inside the Hello Kitty Café at the Irvine Spectrum Center. The Spectrum also has a Ferris Wheel and a carousel for kids and families while the Outlets at Orange has train rides and Those Animals, motorized scooters disguised as stuffed bears, giraffes, lions and leopards that you can actually ride around the shopping center.
Not everything is designed specifically for kids. Downtown Disney now includes the Ballast Point Brewing Co. and the Splitsville bowling alley and Bella Terra is home to The Public House by Evans brewing Co. South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and Fashion Island in Newport Beach still offer higher-end shopping and fine, multi-cultural dining suitable for just about any palate.
Several locations also now offer adult paint nights that are usually paired with a wine or beer tasting. Most of the movie theaters have been upgraded to include reclining seats, adult beverages and gourmet food that can be ordered right from your chair inside the theater. A bulk of the eateries that serve alcohol are also offering extended and even late night happy hours and various specials as well.
All of these bonus amenities are curated to get people to walk by the shops and hopefully stop inside to pick up a few things as they make a full day or evening of the shopping center, rather than just a quick trip. The stores themselves are offering in-store-only merchandise and exclusive deals including BOGO (buy one, get one) offers and numerous gifts with purchase options.
A lot of the stores are also hosting in-store experiences, everything from cooking demos and book signings to kids crafts and fashion shows, all in an effort to keep the economy stimulated, give the existing more tactile customers somewhere to graze and to lure in and hopefully temporarily convert a tech-savvy online shopper.
Read more about Best of Orange County 2019: Shopping centers turn to immersive experiences, craft beer and unique dining concepts to draw the public in This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed
Powered by WPeMatico