Before I get started on this post, I thought it would be fitting to embed the opening to Mister Rogers Neighborhood. You know, the part when Fred Rogers comes in and sings that “It’s A Beautiful Day In This Neighborhood” song. The Neighborhood I am going to reference in this post is Anniston and Oxford, and I thought I needed to put something up that was friendly, before I go full throttle on more problems happening here.
On this post, I am going to once again talk about more problems at the neighborhood mall, the Quintard Mall. I first talked about the problems there way back in March 2012, and this drew some criticism from the folks working at management there. If you want to read that post, click here! This morning, the Anniston Star published a foreclosure notice for the Quintard Mall, and I laughed, and laughed some more, then shook my head, because Anniston/Oxford should be doing better than this!
You see, many people including me have been criticizing the Quintard Mall. Even my own mother has noticed the empty storefronts inside, and you see plenty of empty storefronts inside, with more to come! Since Sears and Radio Shack are close to going out of business. Today, many people say the mall has been mismanaged for years, there have been stories about fights inside the mall, and the security is busy chasing off people. Another factor is stuff is expensive in the mall! And several stores have opened, then closed back down. One thing I like to wonder is how much is the rent inside the mall, it needs to be lowered!
When you got people who say they would rather go to the malls in Douglasville Georgia, Gadsden, or Birmingham, you have a problem! Lots of people say they don’t feel safe inside the mall, and with the many empty stores inside, the mall looks more like something you might see in an urban ghetto, and it’s not getting any better. Another issue is security going around and criticizing anyone taking a photo of their friends, empty storefronts, or anything else inside the mall. Below is an excerpt from my presentation “How To Turn The Anniston / Oxford Area Around.” Yep, I highlighted closed down storefronts in the Quintard Mall and in downtown Anniston, this should be embarrassing for Anniston and Oxford.
In the Anniston Star article, the PR lady, Brooke McCulley, said they are confident they will resolve the foreclosure, and they say competition, the sluggish economy, and the people shopping on the internet are reasons why the mall is in foreclosure. I don’t think the internet and the Oxford Exchange are reasons why the mall is in foreclosure, it’s the economy stupid! Anniston/Oxford is one of the worst metro areas in the United States for unemployment, small business, and the overall economy. People around here are struggling and are just getting by. I have been talking about the major problems in Anniston/Oxford, take a look at my presentation and infographic, which has plenty of views, and people agreeing with me.
So, I am going to give you a few ways to turn around the Quintard Mall, unless you want to see the mall become mostly empty, and dead.
First, the mall is WAY overdue for a makeover! Since the mall was expanded in 2000, the look has gotten old and stale. The mall looks like we are still watching new episodes of Happy Days, instead of new episodes of The Big Bang Theory. And because of the lackluster decor, there have been some problems, especially when it rains very hard. The mall needs a makeover, and fast!
Second, I would get very active, I mean more active on social media. I would place signs encouraging people to take photos and videos, and share it with the Quintard Mall with a hashtag, instead of chasing off people who have any kind of camera equipment. On the @QuintardMall Twitter account, the last two posts were on September 29th, and September 16th. I would use social media to highlight events and deals, every single day! Not once or twice a week. Their Facebook page is more active, their Pinterest page only has 10 pins, and they need to start a Instagram and YouTube account, stat!
Third, I would get very active to adding new stores inside the mall. Only having three or four food places in the food court is unacceptable! I would look at applying for “Food Court Wars” on Food Network, it would bring you some publicity. If you have to lower rent, stay open longer, or anything else, do things to lure stores inside! Will it happen, I have been talking about the changes that needs to happen inside the mall since 2012, and things have gotten worse, I am not holding my breath.
So, will Quintard Mall change and get better? It won’t, unless leaders from the county, cities, and the chamber quits living in la la land and starts recognizing that we are one of the worst metro areas in America, and starts to work together to make this metro area better. Thousands of people have moved away, many people living here are in trouble, and unless we address the root of the problems, the Quintard Mall will soon die off, as well as the Oxford Exchange and the Oxford Commons. Because a metro area can not rely on retail and restaurant jobs to sustain an metro area. Sorry mayor Leon Smith, retail and restaurant jobs is not the savior for Oxford.