By Jennifer Peterson
Even amidst a global pandemic, Easton can prove why it continues to be considered a Top Retail Center Experience in America. As we entered 2021 with many regulations still in place and people feeling fatigued, Ohioans craved a way to beat the winter blues. By continuing to focus on being a thriving destination that feeds guests’ need to be social, the center became a place for families to safely enjoy quality time with their “pod” outside of the home.
Here are a few examples of placemaking in action at Easton this year.
Skate Around the Town
In continuing with our mission to create an innovative, fun and safe atmosphere to shop, dine and be entertained, Easton brought an outdoor ice skating rink to the center’s Town Square for guests to enjoy. As a way to maximize the experience for guests, admission to the rink—including skate rental—has been made absolutely free.
To keep things safe, spots are limited and offered on a first come, first serve basis. Rental skates are also vigorously sanitized between uses, and hand sanitizer stations have been placed around the rink. Masks are also required to be worn at all times.
As one of numerous Easton retailers that shut down last March, Dreamscape at AMC stayed dormant until the end of December when it reopened its doors. Rethinking the experiential VR brand’s focus on collective social experience, the team put numerous safety guidelines in place—including deep cleaning, intense sanitization, limit to private groups only and overall fewer people going through the rides at a time. With temperatures below freezing most days, these adaptations proved successful in helping guests feel comfortable about being entertained in an indoor setting.
As a way to level up our winter outdoor dining game, Easton added EGLOOS to several restaurants throughout the center. These heated, reservation-only enclosures feature chic decor, comfortable seating and air purification. With each EGLOO thoroughly cleaned in between guests, the experience presents a fun way for families and close friends to dine out and spend time together safely. The success of these EGLOOs has prompted us to order several more for distribution to other center restaurants.
The end of the holiday season doesn’t mean the end of holiday lights! Easton is keeping guest spirits bright by keeping up all holiday lights on buildings and outdoor trees throughout the doldrum of winter. Keeping this festive flavor is a small but powerful way to maintain an excellent experience throughout the center.
Even in the days of social distancing, experience matters. With some creative thinking, a rock-solid safety plan and an investment in guest satisfaction, shopping centers will notice higher traffic counts, happier tenants and more engaged customers.