DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - With it now being easier than ever to get your hands on your favorite products or gifts, some malls across America are struggling to stay open.
The Volusia Mall is beating the odds during the pandemic, bringing in about ten new tenants over the past year.
What You Need To Know
- The Volusia Mall's seen double digit increases in sales over 2019, with sales expected to rise this holiday season
- The mall's focusing on giving customers more options, while keeping traditions
- Volusia Mall
Stetson University economics department chair Alan Green said nationally, retail employment is still recovering from the 2008 recession, and the pandemic has made things even tougher.
“Retail stores still kind of face an uphill battle. It’s been a long time for them, a long struggle against online shopping, and all the other ways we have to buy things. I think people got more used to that over COVID," he said.
Green was pleasantly surprised to hear the local mall is doing well.
"We’re moving out of the pandemic I think finally, in terms of the economy. That’s great to hear in part I think people going back, people wanting to go shopping and be out, feeling safe enough to do so.”
For Edmund Miga, creating personalized mementos for Christmas brings joy.
“They love to see their name on ornaments, and they can put any kind of a message," Miga said.
He comes up from Southwest Florida every holiday season, to set up Rudolph and Me at the Volusia Mall.
He's willing to uproot his life and stay at a nearby hotel because of the shopping traffic here.
“I’ve been doing this over 10 years, and it’s hard to find a good mall, and this is the right demographics for this product," he said.
This year during the pandemic, customers are coming back.
“I’m doing better than last year to date, and probably getting close to 2019," Miga said.
Mall Marketing Director Kristina Circelli said Rudolph and Me is not alone.
“We’re also looking to bring new uses to the center, for example, we have an art gallery that opened up earlier this year and it’s been doing really well," she said.
The mall also has a new option called the "Pop-Up Shop" as well as a "Pop-Up Cart."
“This offers business owners the opportunity to come in for a weekend, for a week, and just see how it works, maybe they’re an online store and want to try brick and mortar," Circelli said.
Miga's keeping Christmas alive during a still challenging time for many, staying positive about the future.
“It’s not just selling a product, cash and carry, every ornament is customized in its own way, and it’s rewarding," he said.
The old Macy's parcel as the Volusia Mall's recently been purchased by a company out of Tennessee, but redevelopment plans are still in the works.