Danville Register & Bee | Danville Mall Enacts Family First policy
Starting Friday, Piedmont Mall will begin instituting its Family First policy where youth 18 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The policy is in place at the other 17 enclosed malls operated by new Piedmont Mall owner, Hull Storey Gibson Companies, said principal John Gibson.
"We're trying to promote a family venue," Gibson said.
Gibson explained the company wants to change the community's vision of the mall on Friday and Saturday nights from one of being crowded with young people hanging out to one of a place where families feel more comfortable shopping and where parents spend time with their children.
He said he anticipates an initial fall in traffic but added word would spread among families who would come on weekend nights.
Piedmont Mall will also work to develop event programming to cater to families and would provide space at no cost to organizations, like hosting the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby, youth dance groups or health fairs, for instance.
Hull Storey Gibson plans to invest significantly in Piedmont Mall to remodel it so that other tenants can be recruited. Gibson said women are the dominant mall customers as they do the bulk of purchasing for households and enjoy the experience of in-store shopping, particularly for clothing, which better survives Internet retail competition compared to books and music.
Company experience shows that women are more inclined to shop at family-oriented malls, Gibson said.
"The enhancement of the mall as a family venue is part of the company's long-term plan to make it a first-class facility," Gibson said. Renovations should start in 2013 after planning this year and would take two years to complete.
Were going to transform that property, Gibson said.
Douglas Grotschel of Reidsville, N.C., said he and his friends and family would probably shop more on weekend nights with the new policy. He currently shops at Piedmont Mall about once a week during the weekday because its less crowded and kids aren't lined up outside waiting to be picked up.
He noticed the mall in Petersburg, where his grandparents live, is less crowded and quieter at night because of such a policy.
"Honestly, I think its a good policy," the 22-year-old said.
"Are you kidding me?" asked 21-year-old mall patron Gabrielle Polsky of Danville, who said many teenagers shop or eat dinner at the mall on weekend nights without their parents.
She understands removing loiterers but not teenagers who would spend money like she did as a 16-year-old. Her friends would also swing by while she worked at American Eagle. Polsky wouldn't be surprised if teenagers just boycott the mall and go to Coleman MarketPlace instead.
"I think it's just finishing off a dying mall," said Polsky about the policy.