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Customers say updates to Asheville Mall are long overdue

Asheville Mall is undergoing a multimillion dollar upgrade. Officials announced Monday that renovations would be made to the entryways, flooring and common-area amenities. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Asheville Mall is undergoing a multimillion dollar upgrade. Officials announced Monday that renovations would be made to the entryways, flooring and common-area amenities.

“We are thrilled to offer shoppers a newly refreshed look and upgraded amenities that aim to make the shopping experience more enjoyable,” said Jeff Washburn, the mall's general manager.

RELATED | Asheville Mall announces multi-million dollar renovation

Washburn said the construction won't impact store hours. About 95 percent of the improvements will be done in phases and overnight.

Crews have already begun the first phase. Carpet has been stripped and porcelain tiles were laid down in front of the indoor Sears entrance.

"This is really something that's going to transform the look of the center, update it and keep it fresh for our shoppers and retail partners," Washburn said.

Customers said the renovations are long overdue, and it's a good way for the mall to compete with online shoppers.

"A lot of people are doing online shopping. The mall used to be a place that people hang out at, even if they are not shopping, so the upgrades, I think it's a good thing. It will get people to come out," shopper Eddie Johnson said.

According to Alfredo Rosete, an incoming economics professor for Warren Wilson College, malls that thrive are those that create an experience for the customer.

"Successful malls tend to be destinations. They tend to have features that people go there for, like the Mall of America in Minnesota," Rosete said.

He said recent studies show malls must offer more attractions to the modern day consumer than simply shopping. Attractions like laser-tag, cinemas or offering local products are good ways to attract the modern consumer.

"A lot of companies are now making a personalized experience in their retail locations . They want to give a sensory experience with their product," Rosette said.

With major retailers like J.C. Penny and Macy's closing selected locations across the county, Washburn said the mall has had a steady stream of traffic.

"Asheville is such a dynamic market, and our occupancy has been maintained since the mid-90s for several years now," Washburn said.

The mall plans to have the renovations completed around October or November. Officials said it will be ready just in time for the holiday season. They hope locals will pass by and check out the upgrades.



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