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Old 01-13-2017, 05:46 PM
 
744 posts, read 451,406 times
Reputation: 344

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I had a shopping trip to CTC this evening and spent way too much but I had been planning this for a while. Every time I go to CTC I do so with a critical eye and it had plenty to notice.


Sears -


The poor beast. It was dismal in that store, everything in clearance and the worst sale price was 40%, some went as high as 90% and the store looked it had not been touched. Even at discount prices no one was buying and that to me is simply amazing. I must confess, I found nothing worth buying either. The sales clerk were their normal funereal selves, the lights seemed dimmer and there was an air of despair about the place, all of the sounds seemed muffled and the only thing missing was the loud speakers blaring out the Funeral March. Sad. Beyond Sad.




CTC -


It took 30 years for CTC to do a cosmetic update and I am still baffled that they put down the ugliest peel-n-stick tile on the second floor. It could have been the best looking peel-n-stick and it would still be ugly. NO ONE and certainly no business that advertises itself as West Virginia premier shopping mall puts down peel-n-stick tile. I know it has been there a while but the decision to do that just floors me and tells any one all they need to know about Forest City management concerns.


Worse that tile is badly stained in some areas, but the pattern they chose has a stain motif in it, I guess they knew it would get dirty and that they would leave it that way and the pattern would hide most of it. Guess what, it can't hide the smell, especially on a rainy day.


EMPTY STORES! Every other store was empty and they have done a good job of masking those empty spaces with promo walls for the store that is next to the spot so that it looks like it belongs to an open store, but if you look at it you can see the game that they are playing.


The clientele was a mix. Affluent looking customers speeding through the mall with numerous bags - I was one of those. There were a few mall walkers, looking terrified and confused. Wandering groups of - how to put this - WHITE TRASH - fat, teens or early 20 some things dressed in sweat pants and shirts, covered in tacky tats, piercings and using the F-bomb at every opportunity. Male or female they both looked unwashed and did not care whatsoever that they could be the poster child for the Welfare Department.


But the worst was yet to come...


Every employee in the mall, especially those in the food court area looked as though they were part of a prisoner exchange program. I know business get government credits for hiring convicts, but your entire staff should not look like Alcatraz was their pervious address. Of the four I saw in the food court, three were black men sitting at a table talking about the ******* and one was a seemingly crippled, robust older white lady that was loaded down with cleaning products and doing her job. In the time that we sat there - perhaps 45 minutes - the old lady made three circuits of the food court and on the second and third trip should made a point to inform the three guys that they needed to get back to work. Yeah, we could hear them plainly, we were sitting in the table next to them. I chose it on purpose just so I could "observe".


Speaking of the food court, there aren't many places to choose from up there these days. I was telling a friend that when it opened, eateries ringed both sides of the upper level, but one side is rented out by the state for two stupid organizations for Senior Citizens that should probably be located at DHHR and not paying outrageous sums in mall space. Of those eateries there, most were trying to give away samples of food and the 20 some things were getting dinner.


I eventually made my way to J C Penney and if some have read my past accounts of that store you would think I had a repeat experience but this time I did not. I walked in, asked the first CSR I came to a question, got a direct, obviously informed answer and a smile, hello, thank you and I will be here if you need anything else as she was waiting on another customer! I was floored by her professional demeanor. Two hundred dollars later I was back at register and asking to see the manager. I gave the manager the run down of my previous experience and updated that impression with my current trip. I noticed everyone in JCP had something to buy or had bought and all of the sales people were not only welcoming with verbal hello and thank you, they had a lively banter with each other and made the store feel fun to be in!


On the way to the car in the garage, every kiosk we passed seemed to be unmanned until you got close enough to see over the counter at a clerk sitting in a short chair and on their phone. I am sure those business are doing brisk sales with that format.


The garage had many lights out and the exit helix had no lights on at all!


As we left the mall we drove around the Civic Center site and took note of the progress. The Fifth Quarter is only a memory now, nothing but mud and old asphalt is left. The outside of the additions on the CTC are a pistachio green - everywhere and it seems to be weather proof, meaning work is going on inside.


If Forest City were to ever try to land a mid to high range retailer like Dillard's and that company had any business sense it would not stop in CTC. CTC for all of its PR as West Virginia's premiere shopping destination has polyester prison written all over it. I hear they have a woman there named Lisa McKraken that runs this aspect of the mall, whatever they are paying her is far too much!
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:12 PM
 
435 posts, read 267,937 times
Reputation: 245
You've just described my last few visits there. Hard to believe what a shell of its former self the place has become. JCP has looked at the corridor before perhaps they will again. Ditto for Chili's. Why stay in dying mall that the owner and the city don't care about? If they do leave they most likely end up in South Charleston so there's another hit to Charleston's tax receipts. I don't think City Hall even cares anymore to be honest. And Forest City just keeps milking the carcass. I'll be heading to THM tomorrow. I used to hate that drive but to be honest to avoid the language and behavior in the CTC it's worth it. And the food court experience is downright creepy any time of day.

I used to always hear about The Diamond and how grand it was. I was really too young to appreciate that but I find myself in some way waxing nostalgically about the CTC in its prime versus what it is now in the same way. Unless there is some intervention by Cura/City the CTC is done. Not right now but 5 or 10 max and I don't know what it will be but a viable shopping destination it surely won't.
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:11 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
121 posts, read 101,322 times
Reputation: 73
I'm sorry guys but Huntington Mall is nothing but a bunch of cheap baseball hat shops and cheap gaudy pre hooker teen apparel stores. Dress clothes are considered Marshall jerseys. The average customer is 350+ pounds as evidenced by Forbes magazine ranking Huntington as the fattest city in the US. That mall is a dump. Even Elder Beerman failed there. They don't fail anywhere.
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:31 AM
 
77,942 posts, read 33,252,383 times
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People seem to really enjoy judging others. I think I would prefer to hang around the tatted, cussing group.
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:45 AM
 
Location: 304
5,090 posts, read 6,835,208 times
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I personally don't see the CTC in the same bleak light as some of my fellow posters. I hate seeing empty store fronts, but honestly there aren't too many enclosed malls that don't have vacant spots. The CTC has at least replaced many of the stores that have moved on with new ones that often times are not already present in WV. I suppose that I am just used to the mall, so I do not experience it in a way that others might. The mall could use a shot in the arm, but it isn't really that bad. Actually considering all the circumstances with the local/state economy and poverty rates, the mall is a blessing. There has been a steady stream of new brands enter into the mall; Torrid, Sleep Number, Rack Room Shoe's, Rue 21, Pandora, White Barn, etc...

Also I prefer shopping in Charleston over the Huntington mall. They basically have the same stores or similar, and their mall is a lot more spread out. Where the CTC is two levels (with a 3rd for food court), shoppers can easily trek the mall from end to end in no time. Anything that the Huntington mall has that the CTC doesn't, you can find one up Southridge with a few exceptions (Old Navy, Forever 21).

Could the mall do better? Absolutely! However, I am more optimistic. A remodeled and expanded Civic Center will generate more visitors to downtown. Also having a vibrant and safe pedestrian corridor between Capitol Street and the Civic Center, will draw people through the mall. The mall has a great location, and the city was forward thinking in placing it downtown. Capitol and Summers Street were hurt for a few decades, but now they are coming back with a better role for the city. Long gone are the days where people want to parallel park 3 blocks away to shop at one particular store. The mall has the advantage of a well designed parking garage that puts shoppers in close proximity to an entrance.

Something else that will help the CTC is further development of downtown housing. It is clear the young professionals want to live close to downtown. It's a national trend, as well as one here. The problem is nobody is stepping up and building new units. I live on Quarrier Street on the East End in an apartment and absolutely love the access to downtown. Several nights a week I make the short journey to Capitol or Summers and grab a bite to eat with friends. Young people like myself want that kind of lifestyle. The more young people downtown, the more the mall will thrive!

Just some thoughts
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:49 AM
 
744 posts, read 451,406 times
Reputation: 344
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRWMSPPGH View Post
I'm sorry guys but Huntington Mall is nothing but a bunch of cheap baseball hat shops and cheap gaudy pre hooker teen apparel stores. Dress clothes are considered Marshall jerseys. The average customer is 350+ pounds as evidenced by Forbes magazine ranking Huntington as the fattest city in the US. That mall is a dump. Even Elder Beerman failed there. They don't fail anywhere.

I have to agree with you on THM, it really is little more than an enclosed strip mall. However, I have never noticed that THM was especially dirty or that the people there were any fatter than in Charleston. I think with West Virginia being a welfare state, fat is the norm - the two topics seem to be interwoven.


My problem with THM is that it is so laid out and the few stores there that I do want to shop in are so far apart. At my age, the knees are not what they used to be and when I go to THM I can either hit one of the stores on my list or walk back to my car and drive around to the other end and complete my trip. I really hate linear malls and fortunately, they died out as a design style 30 years ago. THM must have been one of the last ones built.


You are on point with Elder Beerman. Then again THMs Sears is staying open - for now. I think in the long run that is going to hurt THM. The Sears in CTC is going to be replaced by something - God only knows what, but it will be something. Sears, as we all know, is it's death spiral and in two years there will not be a Sears any where. When the final going out of business signs go up at THM, who will want to come into this market? Who would be left? If we assume CTC can magically attract Dillard's or even Belk, they are unlikely to double their footprint in what is essentially the same consumer base. I think Dillard's would especially not want to be in THM because of the blue collar atmosphere of that mall.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:45 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,120 posts, read 10,944,408 times
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I don't see what the Huntington Mall has to do with a discussion of Town Center.

I was in Town Center last month. It looked to me like everything is fine. There have always been some empty store fronts. If they don't have a tenant lined up, it has always been fairly common to use those windows to advertise other mall stores or mall events. I didn't walk the entire mall from end to end on both floors, but the number of empty slots did not seem to be any greater than it usually is. The place was as clean as I'd expect a mall to be. The crowd seems to be about the same size as I have observed at the same time of year for the past 20 years. The mall employees I saw were just as skilled and helpful and they were on other visits.

I seriously doubt that the mall was surprised to learn that Sears is closing. They are always looking for tenants to fill slots, no matter what size space opens up.
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Old 01-14-2017, 06:27 PM
 
1,537 posts, read 1,401,769 times
Reputation: 473
Doesn't most of the second floor of the CTC have the carpet type tiles? When laid down it sorta resembles a fully laid carpet. Is that what you mean by the peel and stick tile? I have to say that I would have preferred to see the same ceramic tile used on the first floor installed on the second floor.

I haven't had any issues with the folks who work at the eateries at the CTC. The majority I've encountered are nice people, pleasant and just trying to make a living.

I agree with Chriscross. The CTC can do better, so can most shopping malls, and hopefully the Civic Center remodel will help both. I for one want to see them succeed because when the stores stay open, the jobs stay as well. We want to see people keep their jobs.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:11 PM
 
7 posts, read 4,575 times
Reputation: 10
For me I'd like to see Boscov's enter the Charleston market. They took over the former JCP spot in the Ohio Valley Mall near Wheeling. They expanded the store to 180,000 square feet and by all accounts they are doing fine there. Maybe CTC should try to bring them in to replace Sears. Please, not another office space or a hotel, that would be the end of CTC.

Last edited by 261370jeff; 02-03-2017 at 06:11 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 02-22-2017, 09:11 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,175,502 times
Reputation: 5121
I live out of state and haven't been in for years but have people there and have heard of the "teen problem" there. But that's an issue for mall management and security. It WOULD change if people walked in (in numbers and frequently enough) and asked for mall management and demanded they crack down on it. And perhaps even getting the local news to do a story on it would help as malls HATE bad press.

I live in Atlanta now and through the years there have been a couple of malls that over time, were overrun by what you would say, "punks", causing good shoppers to avoid them. Eventually those people got fed up enough to voice their complaints and encourage as I said, local media to get involved. Once that happened, both malls fired their security companies and replaced them with new more aggressive ones - and the malls returned to a place controlled by adults - not teens.

Give it a try.
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