(From For the Record, August 13, 1997:) Opening date: The official grand opening of the Spokane Valley Mall is today at 9:30 a.m. The Clothesline column in Tuesday’s In Life section incorrectly listed the mall’s opening date.
Let’s get it out in the open and up front: I am not a shopping mall fan.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to shop and will do so anywhere, anytime. I’ve shopped in malls from Seattle to Miami and dozens of places in between.
But shopping in a mall has always seemed akin to hunting on a game preserve - there’s just no challenge.
It’s not that I go out of my way to avoid malls. I simply prefer exploring independent or unusual shops that don’t fit into the shopping mall’s cookie-cutter image.
In general, I need to be dazzled before a mall becomes my main shopping arena.
Given this bit of self-assessment, it was with a degree of apprehension and a dose of skepticism that I arranged for a personal preview of the new Spokane Valley Mall.
“Show me something new and innovative,” I told my guide, Wendy LePiane, the mall’s marketing director. “Show me something that makes this mall different from all the others.”
She successfully executed her assignment.
What I saw was a sophisticated, contemporary structure. Glass, neon and steel, combined with a fabulous view of the Centennial Trail, offers a unique draw. It has a very urban feel in a natural, almost rural setting.
It’s open and airy without that claustrophobic feeling you get in many similar malls.
Palm trees, lighted foot bridges and granite store fronts all contribute to an inviting atmosphere.
It feels cool and pleasant in the summer and should feel almost like Southern California in the winter.
With only 75 retailers, it’s smaller than many malls, but there is plenty of room for growth within the mall and on surrounding property.
Was I impressed? Yes. This is definitely a shopping mall with a difference.
I look forward to spending many hours exploring the shops, eating at the food court and simply enjoying the pleasant ambiance.
Several stores, including two anchors, The Bon Marche and JCPenney, have already opened for business, but Saturday is the official grand opening when nearly all the shops - including the third anchor, Sears - will be ready to go at 9:30 a.m.
There will be a fashion show at 1 p.m. and the Spokane Symphony will perform at 9 p.m. Other activities will take place throughout the week, including the opening of the 12-plex theater on Friday.
Stop by and experience this beautiful new mall. You are likely to agree it’s a welcome addition to our retailing community.
MEMO: Shanna Southern Peterson is a Spokane writer and home economist. The Clothesline appears weekly. Ideas for the column may be sent to her c/o The Spokesman-Review Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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