The SIMON property, featuring more than 200 stores, north of Barrett Parkway east of Interstate 75, will string Christmas decorations throughout the mall today for Santa’s arrival Nov. 1.
As in years past, Santa will arrive to Town Center pulled in his sleigh by live reindeer and escorted by The Walker School marching band to the doors outside the food court, before children line up at 6 p.m.
For almost two months, through Christmas Eve, 200,000 people are expected to visit Santa, including three Sunday evenings after the mall closes, Nov. 17, Nov. 24 and Dec. 8, when pets are brought in by owners for pictures with the jolly man.
Throughout the season, the mall will be filled with music by local organizations and schools.
Shelly Weidner, director of business development, who has worked at Town Center for five years, said the Cobb location is the “perfect family mall.”
Town Center will also welcome seasonal retailers starting Nov. 1 who will sell special treats not available year round.
These popup shops include Go! Calendars, Hickory Farms, See’s Candies and Polar X Ornaments.
By coming to the mall, as compared to shopping online, customers have a complete experience, with holiday music and decorations, while they handpick the perfect holiday gift.
“It is just that feeling of Christmastime that you don’t get on your computer,” Weidner said.
Last year, Town Center opened at midnight on the morning of Black Friday — the busy shopping day following Thanksgiving Day — and stayed open until 10 p.m.
“It was insane here,” Weidner said.
This year, many retailers are pushing a step further and opening in the late evening on Thanksgiving Day, but Weidner said Town Center has not yet announced their plans.
Weidner said there is a high turnout on Black Friday by shoppers who flood the mall in groups searching for special promotions and giveaways.
“Holiday shopping has become a social family event,” Weidner said.
The success of Black Friday is a good predictor on the success for the rest of the holiday shopping season, Weidner said.
Few empty store fronts
Town Center has very little empty space left in the mall, especially after last year’s expansion of the Forever 21 store that now fills 23,000 square feet of space, taking up an entire wing of store fronts, Weidner said.
Also, Victoria’s Secret, located on the lower level, completed a full renovation of its 9,600 square foot store this month.
New stores have recently been added to the mall, some based on suggestions shoppers made at the information booth or on the Town Center’s Facebook page.
“We try to stay on the pulse of what shoppers want,” Weidner said.
Also on the lower level, 2 Chez Boutique caters to fashionistas in college and high school, as well as young moms.
“Whoever likes to keep up with trends is our ideal customer,” said Oana Brown, the owner of 2 Chez Boutique, who opened the Town Center store after the success of her first store at the Mall of Georgia.
Brown said young girls tend to go to the same parties and do not want to see someone wearing the same outfit.
By only offering a limited number of items of a certain style, and rotating the merchandise every week, the store prides itself on reducing the “uniform effect,” Brown said.
Chunky jewelry with large, deep red and blue glass pieces line the window displays, and racks of blouses greet shoppers inside the boutique.
There are entire sections of salmon orange and navy blue pieces, as well as black, gray and fuchsia shirts, many with a modern take on Aztec and tribal designs.
Brown said the trend this fall and winter season is big, boxy cardigans and long sweaters with riding boots.
Not your grandfather’s suit
The latest additions to Town Center are not just for the ladies. Bachrach opened three weeks ago at Town Center, but has placed stores all over Georgia in the last six years.
Headquartered out of California, Bachrach began in 1877 as a haberdashery, said the Town Center store co-manager, Scott Damhorst, who lives in Kennesaw.
The 3,000 square foot store specializes in men’s fashion with an emphasis on building long-lasting relationships with customers.
Bachrach sells suits, suede sport jackets, wool coats, and dress shirts. For the winter season, the store is stocked with dark clothes, including standout items like plum pants.
Damhorst said clothes can really make the man, especially if a suit bought for an important meeting or event makes a shopper feel like a million bucks.
Teenagers select suits at Bachrach for special events, while young adult men choose dressy pieces to feel sharper as they enter the work force.
At the same time, many companies are going toward a more casual look, with bankers wearing jeans and funky button-down shirts, which Bachrach also sells.
Bachrach carries slim fit styles with skinny ties and thin lapels, as well as classic looks for the traditional man.
Even though the growing modern trend is fitted clothes, not every guy wants a skinny pant, Damhorst said.
“We cater to every type of guy,” Damhorst said.
Bowties are another hot item for younger men, but Damhorst predicts the next craze will be cable knit ties that end in a blunt line, instead of a triangle. The style is a new take on the 1980s retro style.
The biggest risk that some shoppers of Bachrach are successfully trying is mixing patterns with different articles of clothing.
For instance, Damhorst was wearing a blue and orange stripped tie, with a plaid orange and white shirt.