With plans to open nine new stores in the coming weeks, the Staten Island Mall is trying to step up its game in light of the pending competition the Empire Outlet Mall will bring. Shoppers couldn't be happier with the new retailers who now call the mall home. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
The Staten Island Mall has been an Island institution for the last forty-two years.
As the only mall in town, it's had its share of ups and downs. Now, though, the mall is on an upswing, as it welcomes nine new retailers before the summer's end.
The Lego shop only opened about a week ago, but has already attracted customers young and old.
"You could build stuff and you could take them apart—and you could put anything on them," one Lego shopper says.
Historically, the mall has struggled with keeping local shoppers to spend their money on Staten Island.
With tough competition from nearby New Jersey malls that don't burden shoppers with sales tax and offer upscale stores, there used to be few reasons to stick around close to home.
Now, though, shoppers say they've noticed a change in the mall and don't necessarily have to bolt to the Garden State to hit the mall anymore.
"They have very beautiful stores that opened," one shopper says.
"It just has a different feel, I mean, even the way the stores are done up. It's definitely more upscale," another says.
That's exactly what mall officials are aiming for.
They're also hoping to stay relevant as the Empire Outlet Mall, the first of its kind in the city, is set to open in St. George in 2016.
"It just proves that there are shopping and retail opportunities on Staten Island and that customers want to do so—and we're going to continue to do so as well," says Dave Albertson.
There's also talk of expanding the Macy's Department store, of building a 500-car parking garage and of building a supermarket on existing parking lots.
While a mall representative wouldn't confirm those rumors, he did say anything's possible.
In the meantime, shoppers can binge on all things potato at the gourmet potato shop, Potatopia, and finish off that meal with a scoop of Haagen Dazs ice cream.
Then, they can work off the calories by checking out everything the new the mall has to offer.