Calgary’s New Horizon Mall opening with only two per cent of its store spaces occupied isn’t a concern for the business owners that have already opened their doors.
“It’s slow, but in the next month or so, I say there will be more traffic for sure,” said Sabi Mattu, owner of Perfume Boutique.
Mattu said that in October alone, there should be about 40 new stores opening up.
“The mall has 500 shops, it is a $200-million mall, is south of CrossIron Mills, and there are new communities developing nearby,” said Mattu.
“People will be here, once the stores start opening,” he said.
Ranjit Kaur is leasing a unit for her phone accessory business, Kase Gallery, because the space is much cheaper than getting a kiosk at CrossIron.
“I pay $3,000 monthly, as compared to $12,000 for a kiosk at CrossIron,” Kaur said.
She said that the weekends are getting busier with consumers and the traffic keeps increasing.
“There’s a lot of potential for this mall, because it is based on local owners,” Kaur said.
Kaur said that the mall is a great opportunity for first-time business owners, like herself, to create a brand.
The mall is also increasing its marketing, holding two events in the past month, trying to attract customers, she said.
“During the Mid-Autumn Festival, there were over 3,000 people,” Kaur said.
She said she’s happy that she is no longer working for anyone, and that all her earnings are hers to keep.
“Every business takes time. I have patience,” Kaur said.
She said that many people are calling it a “ghost mall,” but that won’t be the case in a few more months.
Before opening her business, Kaur did research into how much other competitors were charging for phone accessories.
“I have to build a client base by giving people what they want for the prices they want them at. After that, people will continue to come,” Kaur said.
Mohammed Ruhul-Amin, the owner of Just Juniors, said he didn’t expect traffic right away, when he opened up.
He said that businesses like this take time.
“Operative cost isn’t high. If you own, you only pay rent or mortgage, and a condominium fee,” Ruhul-Amin said.
He said the concept of the mall is really good.
“The mall will be good for consumers, because there will be a lot of unique stores. People want unique stuff,” said Ruhul-Amin.
He said that the mall is taking longer than expected to fill up, probably because of the economy.
He also said that some people bought units as investments, hoping to rent them out, which is why so many spaces are unoccupied.
Ruhul-Amin said that the mall will attract many tourists because it is going to be a mall full of local vendors.
“It’s slow right now, but CrossIron also had the same issue, and now finding parking is difficult,” he said.
Ruhul-Amin also questioned the mall’s marketing strategy.
“This is not the time for marketing. It’s the time to figure out how to get more stores open,” he said.
Instead, the marketing team should wait till there are at least 70-80 stores open, and then advertise, so the consumers don’t waste their time coming to an empty mall.