Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Change in hours is inconsiderate shift

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Feb. 20, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 19, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

We all have our morning routines. Whether it's your daily cup of coffee while watching the sun rise or slapping the snooze button for the umpteenth time, we all have our own way to greet the day and get moving.

Unfortunately, some Victoria residents received an unexpected and unwelcome change to their daily routine. Walkers at the Victoria Mall were told that the mall would no longer open at 7 a.m. for those wishing to exercise as of Feb. 10. Walkers will now have to wait until 9 a.m. Monday-Saturday, which is an hour before the mall opens.

Understandably, this caused some grumbling and stirred up what one walker called "a hornet's nest." Victoria residents have enjoyed the ability to have a safe, climate-controlled environment in which to take their early morning walks for years, decades for some. When the mall was open early, walkers could get their daily exercise without having to worry about dodging around shoppers. Now, the walkers have only one hour before the stores are open.

An earlier statement from Hull Storey Gibson Companies, which purchased the property in 2003, revealed this was not something that changed only in Victoria. Coles Hull, marketing manager for the company, said this policy change will apply to 20 properties in eight states and was considered for a year before it was implemented.

We understand that the purpose of a mall is to make money, just like any other business. However, part of how a business makes money is by being a positive part of the community and inspiring customer loyalty through good service. Hull said that the change is an effort to improve safety and to better serve the walkers. But that statement seems counter to what the mall walkers want to do. They come in the mornings to exercise, not shop. No exercise routine would be effective if the person kept stopping to look at and buy items.

We encourage Hull Storey Gibson Companies to reconsider this change to mall walker hours. Opening early was a valuable service that was appreciated by members of the Victoria community. Even if the original 7 a.m. opening cannot be restored, perhaps a compromise of 8 a.m. would be possible.

But, as unfortunate and inconvenient as this change is, we recognize that the company ultimately has the right to make its own rules concerning opening hours and what services are available to customers. We just hope that the company will be willing to listen to the feedback of the people it serves.

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



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