I agree with bettering the mall. The Citadel Mall has chosen to break away from the status quo, ignoring the demands of the market and instead filling vacant space with stores and kiosks that sell things that there simply isn't a high demand for. Cell phone case kiosks, for example. I would not waste the time to park the car and walk through the mall just to buy a cell phone case. My time would be much better spent ordering one online, or on my cell. However, if you put in a Francesca's Boutique or a cute home accessory store, a Starbucks, a forever 21, urban outfitters, Macy's or an H&M (lord knows we need one!!!). A better selection of stores would entice me to go to the mall, and then when I got there, I may be persuaded to buy a cell phone case or something on the side.
This is where the mall fails. There are very few if any name brand stores in the mall. Not saying that labels are everything, but having them around boosts your business greatly. If I'm reading the store directory online and see places like Authentiks, Fun Wear, Harmony Rose, Jimmy Jazz, and Treasure, I'm not really motivated to go to the mall because I don't know what any of those places are. Now, I support the local shop owner, but you HAVE TO HAVE those mainstream and big name brands in order to attract people because nobody is coming for your product alone. They may swing in on the way, but you've got to give them a reason to go there, and Lola's Handbags isn't gonna do it.
To that extent.... HOWEVER, I understand that the mall does have some pretty good stores. New York & Co. American Eagle, Express, are all great name brands, but the next area that the Citadel Mall has failed in is establishing a demographic. Who's your target customer? Age group? Income level? Style? Town Center does well because it built itself as an upscale shopping center that caters to people who have a little more money to spend. Yet, that's not all that they sell. You can go there without a ton of money and still be a happy bargain shopper. Same with Tanger. There's a Michael Koors, a Saks, a Lucky Brand, a Ralph Lauren, but there's also things that a broke college student like myself can afford, like Rue 21, Old Navy, etc.
Owners of the Citadel Mall have yet to establish a demographic and the if the one that they have is one that they're complaining about... seriously???? Flava cuts and other cheapskate stores? Yea.... those are great to have and they'll get business but please don't make that the center piece of your store. You complain about the type of clientele that you get but then again the products that you're selling are what attracts them directly. This is not a stereotypical statement, this is based on facts and statistics. The majority of the people in America that commit gun-related crimes are in poverty. Gang affiliation has a HUGE impact on this statistic, and the typical type of clothing found on drug dealers and gang members are things similar to what is sold in stores in the mall. So if you don't want that demographic of people, why target them by selling the very things that they want to buy? Why not sell things that would attract the demographic that you're trying to achieve. It's a costly endeavor. no doubt, convincing such brand names to open a store within the Citadel Mall and you'll have to attract a bunch of them not two or three because it's gonna take a complete turn around to change the situation the citadel mall has gotten itself in. If I put Gucci in a bad neighborhood it will go out of business, but if I change the neighborhood then I can change the dynamics of the business around it it.
This doesn't mean putting really expensive stores and weeding out people who can't afford the merchandise. There should be some of everything for everybody. But if your target group is well behaved, classy middle aged adults with bank accounts and money in them, then you need to direct your merchandise towards there wants and needs. The smaller kiosks, businesses, etc, will benefit from their being there. Follow fads... ie put a vegan or health food store (NOT SUBWAY) in the food court. The latest trend has been on healthy eating. I'm not a vegetarian by any means and I love a good steak, but it's hard for me to go near any of those fast food vendors because I don't want to eat the over-processed, over fattened, over salted food. Black Bean company is inexpensive and healthy, and the mall would benefit from having someone like there. Speaking of food... King Street Grill and Sesame? The only two restaurants you have are burger shops? Yawn... could you be any more diverse?
And my final rant, establish some sort of dress code!!! I can't take you seriously as the owner of a shop when you've got some loud multi-colored hat (unless you work in a hat shop), pants down to your knees, stains on your t-shirt, messy beards or hair, or any such thing. This is not the voice of an elder person who's not "with the times." This is the voice of a 22 year old student, who would prefer to conduct ANY MANNER OF BUSINESS with a person who speaks proper English, is respectful, and is wearing decent attire (a button down and slacks) that shows me that they put a little effort into getting ready for work and didn't just show up straight out of bed, or head into work after hanging out with their friends all day. I promise, if you were to install that demand, you'd lose alot of business, but what'd you gain would be well worth the loss.
So that is my page long rant. If you managed to get to the end of this, congrats because it was a lot to read through. But at the end of the day, if you the owner's of the citadel mall can't make it work, I'm all for opening an IKEA
Having met both Jay and Nicole and having visited this restaurant I feel that I must comment. The restaurant is quaint with flowers on the tables, a fine wine selection, and cute China plates and jars for glasses. It has that down home feel with a New York elegance. Even better than the atmosphere was the food! It was truly southern and I believe that Chef Jay and Nicole have taken the best out of what Charleston has to offer and turned it into cuisine that reminds you of home cooking, but has a certain quality that you'd never be able to prepare yourself.
As for the comment about going back to New York? I must only shake my head. Ignorance is the downfall of the south, and I may speak of that because my family has lived here for many generations, having owned several plantations and other such things. A redneck who may not even truly understand the Civil War would be expected to make such comments however a true southerner can overlook what is now Ancient history and embrace and diversity.
Chef Jay and Nicole, on behalf of me and many other South Carolinians, we welcome you to Charleston, SC and hope that you are able to enjoy all of the beautiful things that this state has to offer. We are honored that you chose to make our home yours and wish you and your restaurant the best of luck!
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