Marketplace Mall to unveil new renovation in October

By Marcia Harris

There are changes coming to Marketplace Mall this year. The shopping center is expanding to make room for some trendy new stores. Last July, the administrative board decided it was time for a change and construction began in February of this year. They hope to attract new people to the mall by adding a new look and introducing more upscale retail stores. Marketplace Mall General Manager Randy Tennison is enthusiastic about what’s taking place.

“We’ll be adding the Anne Taylor Loft, Coldwater Creek, and J. Jill, which are more high-end retail stores,” he said. “We’re planning on having the grand opening of the new stores on October 1.”

So what does this mean for other businesses at Marketplace Mall? According to some, the addition of the new stores will be beneficial for everyone involved. Not only will it bring in shoppers who are curious about the new stores, but it will also give more people a chance to see all that Marketplace has to offer. Wet Seal Manager Afenya Pongo believes it will help rather than hurt business at her popular clothing store.

“It will bring more people to the mall who might not shop here normally. It will also increase sales all-around and bring in a diverse crowd,” she said.

However, some University students who are used to the old Marketplace are not so sure. Ebonie Durham, senior in English, questions whether or not the new stores will attract students and Champaign-Urbana residents.

“The upscale retail stores don’t match the Marketplace Mall atmosphere, which has stores like Rave and a discount perfume shop. The Ann Taylor Loft and J. Jill are upscale stores that won’t appeal to the college students who are the mall’s primary consumers.”

Each new store will have unique looks and styles, allowing customers more choices. While there are debates over the success of the addition, Champaign-Urbana residents and University students will have to wait until October for the results.