NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There's a new push to bring more shoppers to what some see as a struggling mall.
While you don't see as many cars in the Esplanade mall's parking lot in Kenner these days, if you ask the mall's owner, Simon Properties, they will tell you they're seeing growth with two new stores opening their doors, Kids for Less, a national retailer specializing in school uniforms and locally owned Spicy Dark Cosmetics. And, then there's The Bounce Around, Kenner's Mayor recently attended their grand opening to unveil their new renovated location at the Esplanade, "we just try to do the best, its hard because the people in Kenner, they don't support the Esplanade Mall, but we try you know," said The Bounce Around Owner, Mo Adel.
But, the news wasn't so good just last year when some retailers decided to leave the mall. UNO economics expert, Dr. Walter Lane, says that's something malls across the country have had to deal with in recent years. "There's also been a change in the entire shopping framework from doing more online shopping and so the bricks and mortar haven't gone away but the nature of them is changing a little bit," Lane said. "Malls in general across the country are not doing well. Some are doing okay, but as a whole, that whole industry has been shrinking somewhat," Lane said.
And, you may wonder why some malls have more success than others. Take for example, Lakeside Mall in Metairie. It's not uncommon to see it busier than some other malls in the New Orleans area. Lane says it comes down to you guessed it, location, location, location, "Esplanade is kind of way out on the edge," Lane said. "Lakeside, being a lot more central to Metairie has got an advantage and again it's just a bigger mass. Its the biggest center, so they've been fairly successful in hanging on I think."
While Adel says business has just been okay recently, he's confident change is on the way, "I think the business is going to be better after they bring in more stores," Adel said.
We also talked with Kenner's mayor, Michael Yenni. "I was pleased to attend the ribbon-cutting recently for a business at The Esplanade," Yenni said. "At that time, I had the pleasure of meeting the new mall manager. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the mall, which is an important part of the city's business fabric."
The Director of Marketing and Business Development for The Esplanade, Nikki Burton, gave us this statement : "The addition of Kids for Less and Spicy Dark Cosmetics, plus the growth of The Bounce Around, have been exciting developments for The Esplanade. We are grateful to our loyal shoppers for their continued patronage, and are proud to bring them these new retail options. We look forward to not only meeting but exceeding our shopper's expectations in the coming months."