Numbers continue to improve for Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian. The mall reported roughly a 5% to 6% increase in sales last year. So far, numbers for this year are even higher.
"Business has been extremely good this year," says Renee Williams, who is the general manager for Bonita Lakes Mall.
She says so far this year both sales volume and patron traffic numbers are up for the mall.
"Through June our sales were up. July's numbers are coming in right now and it looks like we had a really good back to school season over all for this year. We do anticipate opening a couple of other stores during the holiday season which will be seasonal retailers."
Within the next week or so mall officials hope to sign a deal with a seasonal retailer. Williams says that deal in particular is expected to significantly boost traffic at the mall. Because the deal is not finalized yet, the only information that Williams is releasing about the retailer is that it will likely open in the mall in late September and remain open throughout the Christmas holiday season.
With people still lining up to taste food at the mall's newest eatery, Williams says another new restaurant could soon locate in the mall. She credits this to national exposure gained when the mall was recently featured on the Food Network show, 'Food Court Wars.'
"Since the show aired, we've got 'Mary Jo's Hot Tamales' open now, and we have had a tremendous response for inquiries about our other vacant food court space. So, we're definitely working with some people right now and hope that maybe by the end of this year or the first part of next year we'll be able to open that space as well."
Williams credits the improving economy, and the large of new jobs that have been created at the local coal plant site with helping to increase mall traffic and sales.
Each year more than 6,000,000 patrons visit Bonita Lakes Mall. It's the only enclosed regional shopping center within a 90-mile radius. Currently, it's about 94% filled to capacity.