Calm, quiet, crowd free shopping: it's just the way Stephanie Coleman likes it at Eastern Hills Mall on Transit Road in Clarence. “I like it here. I like the atmosphere and I like that there aren't crowds. So, it's perfect for me,” she explained.
Coleman isn’t a big fan of online shopping. “If I get clothes I never return it if it doesn't fit. So, I'd rather come to the store and make sure it's exactly what I want first before I take it home.”
But according to retail experts, online shopping is on the rise. That's causing fewer shoppers to visit stores in person. “We have experienced that ourselves,” said Eastern Hills Mall Marketing Director, Meghan Hinton. “Other malls in the area have also. So, this is the way we're going to try and beat that.”
Hinton's talking about plans to convert the mall into a lifestyle center. It's early in the process but the concept is similar to Crocker Park in Cleveland, Ohio. The mall would basically stay the same other than possible cosmetic updates and other businesses, including a hotel, would be added to the retail center. The goal would be to create a place to live, work, and play. “It's going to be something different. And I think that's what Buffalo needs is just something new and exciting,” Hinton said.
“(Walden) Galleria's getting so big. So, I think that if you can turn instead of closing the mall you could turn it into something else, and still have the area be able to shop somewhere, I think that would be great,” said shopper, Paul Coleman.
Construction on the Life Style Center isn't something we can expect to see anytime soon. Officials said there's still a lot that needs to be done including formal approval from the town.