No. 4: Businesses in and around mall see resurgence

Shaun Gach works in an aisle at Gordmans in August. The department store opened at East Hills Shopping Center in early September.

It’s been an interesting year for the East Hills Shopping Center. There has been a lot of activity since January, with several store openings and a successful holiday shopping season.

“It’s really neat to see how far we’ve come in just one year,” said Regan Lyons, marketing manager at East Hills. “So it’s exciting to see where we could be in 2012.”

Even Ms. Lyons is new to the mall. She replaced Ashley Albers in May.

Since the remodel began, tenants that have been around for years received face-lifts and relocations — all of which adds to the appeal and look of a new and improved shopping center. T-Mobile, The Buckle, Maurices, Bath & Body Works, Regis and others shifted around and unveiled fresh appearances.

Since January, Children’s Place, CJ Banks, Christopher & Banks and Gordmans opened, while Gamestop closed.

Gordmans became the official fourth anchor store at East Hills. The space had once been home to Montgomery Ward and then Home Style Furniture and Flooring, which left the mall at the end of 2010. The nearly 65,000-square-foot space had sat vacant for several months before Gordmans announced its plans to locate there.

It was about that time that Charming Charlie scheduled its grand opening. The addition of the boutique happens to be the first store, beside the four anchor stores, to have an entrance from the outside, too.

Hallmark Gold Crown and Fanzz opened just in time for Christmas shopping, and Off Broadway Shoes announced its plans to open an 18,000-sqaure-foot store around March 2012. The stores typically carry up to 50,000 pairs of shoes for men, women and children.

The mall has been busier during the holidays, too. Kiosks like Hickory Farms, Marigold’s and Topsy’s are regulars, but East Hills attracted some new temporary shops, such as Jose Pepper’s, Lil’ Pink Bubbles Bath Boutique, Pigtails ‘n Inkwells and Organo Gold Coffee.

“It was an exciting year full of progress,” Ms. Lyons said, adding that she hopes for more announcements in 2012.

Jennifer Hall can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.

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