From the Desk of the COO
The past six months have been incredibly difficult on businesses everywhere, and we’re no exception to that. We all know how trying it has been dealing with the coronavirus while attempting to retain some semblance of normalcy in the workplace and pushing to continue directing business operations forward. However, no matter how difficult it has been, simply lying down is not an option.
With that in mind, we have been hard at work connecting with businesses both here in Northeast Ohio and across the country to add new and exciting options to our commercial developments. Our Westlake property, Crocker Park, is in the midst of welcoming several new additions to the lifestyle center. These include American Eagle’s intimate apparel offshoot Aerie, women’s fashion retailer DryGoods, and modular furniture company Lovesac, which are all slated to open later this summer. Also, major national brand buybuyBABY is slated to open this fall and eclectic home decor and furnishing store World Market will be opening early winter.
Renderings of the future buybuyBABY and World Market stores opening this fall at Crocker Park. (Click to enlarge)
One of the main things I took away from my last visit to Crocker Park is that we are very fortunate to have so many great outdoor areas. In a time where personal space and social distancing is so crucial, we can offer visitors a destination where they can leave their home bubble while still feeling safe and secure knowing they are in an open-air environment where they can actively control how they navigate their surroundings. As we spend more and more time at home, having a place to escape to is increasingly important for our physical health in terms of exercise, but even more so for our mental health.
The other thing that I noticed during my last visit was just how resourceful our retail and dining tenants have become in adapting to the situation. From offering curbside pickup, to placing distancing markers on the ground, to adhering capacity signage and safety requirements in windows, they have done an incredible job in doing what they feel is best to advance their business during these tough times. It is always impressive and inspiring to see people respond with such creativity and purpose … and it has been on full display at Crocker Park.
Lastly, going back to our new tenants, I am noticing some unique trends starting to emerge. Because they have the opportunity to build their spaces from scratch, they are developing them with social distancing in mind and directly incorporating new concepts that provide a more safe, secure shopping/dining experience. For instance, many are incorporating dedicated sanitizing stations, seamless partitioning elements, smart layouts and spatially aware checkout areas to maximize visitor flow, and streamlining omnichannel (online, in-store, delivery) options.
So, as you can see, as difficult as it has been, there is still plenty to look forward to in the near future and beyond. People are incredibly resilient and resourceful, and when it comes to building and sharing something that they are passionate about, they will stop short of nothing to deliver it to you in a safe and thoughtful manner. That has always been our stance and it will continue to be as we work through this current situation together … because it’s all about the experience.
Ezra Stark, Chief Operating Officer