Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Inlet Square Mall may be lacking in stores, but it’s not missing out on business.
Although nearly half of its inline stores are vacant or filled with promotional materials for the mall’s other stores, at least two of the 425,000-square-foot Murrells Inlet mall’s anchor stores are enjoying increased sales.
“Our sales are up over last year,” said Janet Reitzel, general store manager for Books-A-Million. “In terms of square footage, the mall isn’t that empty.”
Mall officials referred any comments on the mall’s vacancy rate to Joe Weirick, president at CRP Commercial, the owners of the mall built in 1995. Weirick, based in Wisconsin, was unavailable for comment last week.
However, local mall officials did laud the coming of a new LED board to promote store events.
“The mall is in the process of installing the new board,” said Steven Quickery, Belk vice president-regional store manager, Myrtle Beach.
A 40-foot tall LED electronic message center is being constructed on Highway 17 Bypass.
The 3,000-pound, 20-foot wide structure has video capabilities and may tout Frank Theatre showings.
Quickery also lauded the mall and the Belk store’s place within it.
“Our store is very healthy. Our business is up and the store is in the top 25 percent of all Belk stores. It is a tribute to great customer service and customer loyalty.”
Local mall officials also stress the mall’s strong customer base. “I hear it all the time. They say ‘That’s my mall,’” said the mall’s marketing consultant.
The mall has earned a place in the hearts and steps of various community groups.
Earlier this summer it sponsored an Italian festival and was the site for the annual Stormfest 2012 in June.
The facility also offers medical screenings and other health-related events.
Each morning the mall sponsors a senior’s walking club, allowing senior citizens to come in before the mall opens to get in their indoor exercise.
The mall provides coffee and location. That program has been a growing success, officials said.
As for the future, people were unanimous in saying that the mall was not going anywhere. However, what form it takes is still to be determined.
By Anita Crone
For The Times