On Sunday my family made plans for Easter lunch at Seasons. It’s pretty much our restaurant of choice for family gatherings because they take the gluten-free thing seriously, and we have a member of our party for whom gluten-free is no joke. Our only problem: church was going to be over 11:45ish, and our reservation wasn’t until 1:15.
“No problem,” said my husband. “We’ll just have a cup of coffee at Starbucks.”
This seemed like a good plan right up until we arrived at the Mall and discovered that Starbucks was closed. So were the main doors to the Mall. The weather was beautiful and there were plenty of folks on the outside plaza area. The fountain was on. People were toing and froing from restaurants. The parking lot was amply filled while the Mall itself was closed.
Garnering cool points from my family, I recalled that the new Barnes and Noble had a coffee bar. They were open. We met up there, enjoyed our coffee, and my husband found a book he had been looking for. The cafe was well populated by singles, spread out, working, reading, studying, on laptops. It felt almost like a reading room in a library. We were the only “social” group.
Clearly the Barnes and Noble was meeting a need. Not everyone goes out to Easter lunch. Not everyone celebrates Easter. Some folks are in search of a quiet place to do some work, read a good book, have some coffee.
My mother-in-law mentioned that she hardly recognized the Mall anymore. That’s a sentiment I’ve heard a lot lately. What I found interesting on Sunday was how many people were there, patronizing establishments which were open, even though the Mall proper was closed for the holiday. Somebody somewhere is studying these sorts of things to see what works and what doesn’t.
From our experience on Sunday, I’d say the “outside” parts of the Mall are doing quite well.