Advocate editorial board opinion: Quality-of-life issue presents itself to Victoria

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 4, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 3, 2011 at 7:04 p.m.

Is Victoria Mall pricing itself out of business or not recruiting enough to attract new retailers?

This month, Old Navy shuts its doors, but we also understand that it is closing in other malls, too. Still, it may have remained here had the lease been affordable. All too often, we hear the rent at the mall is steep and unreasonable.

And look at the exodus of so many past stores from Victoria Mall: Luby's, Gap, Walden Book Store, Just Dogs Gourmet, Scoreboard Sports Bar, Tuesday Morning and various others. Maybe there is something to the expensive rent theory.

One thing is for sure: Victoria residents are getting fewer and fewer choices to shop.

While things look dismal at the mall, we have Caterpillar Inc. coming to town, we have a four-year destination university that is thriving and we have other manufacturing businesses waiting in the aisles to move to the area.

Of course, the Victoria Economic Development Corp. handles the job of bringing such manufacturing companies to Victoria and making them comfortable enough to stay for years and years. But who handles the retail businesses?

This is a quality-of-life issue. Who is promoting Victoria's retail business? The city is moving toward prosperous times, so why aren't retailers moving into the mall or to the city in anticipation of the community's good fortune?

Perhaps the city council should create a department that would take the reins and start a marketing program to attract retailers. After all, there's sales tax involved. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce or the Convention and Visitors Bureau should tackle this most important piece of the puzzle.

People here have walked the mall and found not much there, and there should be, considering the economic outlook for our area.

We look at other malls in other towns.

One example is the Padre Staples Mall in Corpus Christi, which was sinking and failing miserably. Now called La Palmera, the new management renovated the place, would only settle for upscale retailers and seems to have targeted women for customers. Now, La Pamera has turned the downward trend of the previous management to an upward climb; it's a great mall.

The point is what is Victoria Mall management doing to attract retailers? To turn things around? To change the downward trend?

Our country's retailers should know that Victoria is not some backwater community.

They should know that a real opportunity awaits them.

And our business leaders should organize and market that fact.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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