Revamping Richland: Waco mall to get upgrades

Typical Concourse4  550 FTWBy Rebecca Fiedler
Staff Writer

Richland Mall is getting the first makeover it’s had in 18 years. By November, the mall’s owners will have made millions of dollars of renovations in an attempt to enhance customers’ shopping experience.

Although the mall will not physically expand in square footage or store space, the renovation will update both the interior and exterior look of the mall.

Todd Anderton, the mall’s regional marketing director, said particular renovation decisions yet to be made prevent the mall’s owners from estimating just how much the project will cost.

“We don’t even have any figures of that kind,” Anderton said.

A press release from the mall’s owners, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., states the mall will receive changes such as fresh paint, new décor, new flooring and lighting.

It will also receive upgraded restrooms, new signage, outdoor landscaping and food court seating.

Bealls and Dillard’s will also receive new lighting.

The mall will be open regular hours throughout the renovations, and construction will take place at night when the mall is closed, Anderton said.

“The disruption from the shoppers’ standpoint will be almost nonexistent,” he said.

Anderton said Richland Mall performs well in sales, and these changes to the mall are not being made as a result of any loss in business.

“In the life cycle of a shopping center like this — a shopping center that performs well — wanting to stay competitive in the private retail marketplace, you have to revitalize yourself every few years,” Anderton said.

Dr. Lorynn Divita is an associate professor of fashion merchandising and author of an upcoming edition of the textbook “Fashion Forecasting.” Divita said Richland Mall is revamping itself in a time when the U.S is becoming what she calls “over-stored.”

Divita said more retail space is available than every person in the nation can support.

Because of this, malls and retail outlets are having to be creative and experimental on how they attract customers, she said.

“Currently the Richland Mall is overdue for an update,” Divita said. “I think that it’s a very good thing they’re doing this.”

Divita said malls today are trying to make customers’ experiences not just about shopping, but also entertaining.

People spend more money when on vacation, and so malls must now provide more of a vacation experience, Divita said.

“Because there is so much choice now and so much customization, I think customers have greater aesthetic awareness than they used to,” Divita said. “Now malls will have to kick it up a notch to keep consumers satisfied.”

Waco junior Emilie Fogleman has grown up in Waco and been familiar with the Richland Mall since she was a child.

“Growing up I’ve always liked our mall,” Fogleman said. “It’s a nice size, and the stores are a good size, too.”

Fogleman said she likes the mall the way it is but thinks it could use some revamping to make it look nicer.

She said she’s hated the floor tiling and color of the walls since she was a little girl.

“I think it will be good for the mall to look nicer and more appealing in order for people to kind of have a pleasant enjoyment of it when walking through, not worrying that they’re going to catch some kind of disease from the weird, odd coloring of things,” Fogleman said.