Apr 22 2012

Spotsylvania Towne Centre

Published by at 10:13 pm under Uncategorized

Friday, April 20th was a perfect day to visit the Spotsylvania Mall, the indoor portion anyway. It was pretty warm and sunny when I arrived at 11 AM, and I was glad to be heading into an air conditioned area instead of walking around downtown on this particular day. Many other Fredericksburg area residents must have had the same idea, because in the area where I parked near the main entrance to the mall, the lot was pretty much packed. The lot was also packed near the Costco exit. I did not see many cars parked along the outside areas / new additions to the Town Centre. Besides driving and fighting your way into a parking spot, visitors and employees can also take the Fred Bus to the mall from other locations around town. They may also walk from nearby neighborhoods.
The mall is aesthetically pleasing, and has been renovated inside and out constantly for the past few years. It is still a work in progress. There are areas outside of the bigger stores (Macy’s, Sears, Belk, and Costco) that are concealed from normal view by fences or other features of the building’s architecture. These spaces hide the areas where trucks bring in the merchandise to stock the stores inside. There is, like in most malls, a back hallway that is hidden from any customer’s view, and this is where the deliveries are transported from the trucks to the individual stores where they belong.
Inside the mall, there is a mixture of large and small stores. There are many chains, including a Hot Topic, a Crocs store, Coach, Build-A-Bear, Zales, and a Regis hair salon. There are also larger stores, including Costco, Jc Penneys (their store is separated into two stores, one for men’s clothing and items for the home, the other for women’s and children’s clothing,) Belk, Sears, and Macy’s. Among the big chain stores are also some smaller, locally owned stores. Among these is a tailor, a Virginia Diner Shoppe, a jewelry repair store, a nail salon, and a place where one can get a massage. Throw in the food court, with everything from pizza to Chik-Fil-a, and an indoor soft play park for the kids (sponsored by local country radio station WFLS), and a family could have a full day of fun in this mall.
All of this, and I’ve only covered what’s inside the mall. Outside, in an outdoor shopping center, there are some nice sit down restaurants, including a Firebirds wood fire grill, Bravo Italian bistro, and Park Lane Tavern, an English pub. This outside area of the mall has attracted some ritzy stores, such as Coldwater Creek, Fink’s Jewelers, and Sephora. I noticed while walking through the outdoor area at about 1130 AM that Sephora was not yet open, so the stores that are outside the mall seem to not follow the strict policy of opening on time that malls usually enforce. Not everything outside is completely white collar though. There is Charming Charlies, a cute store with some clothing and accessories reasonably priced, a Books A Million, and a Saxon Shoes (a company that started in Richmond and is famous for it’s steeply discounted “Backroom.”
I did not see any other shoppers outside, except for inside Charming Charlies. There were women of all ages browsing. Inside the mall, I saw a few women dressed in their workout gear, briskly walking, and a few small families, some were women with kids, some were men. I also saw quite a few older couples walking around. I didn’t see too many school aged kids / teenagers, which is good because they should have been in school at the time I visited the mall. No store looked particularly busy, and the Play Park actually looked like the place where people were concentrated the most. There were about 5 women and 10 kids in there at 11:40 AM.
One thing that makes malls a common destination is that they are a great place to window shop. There are displays in every window, and one can walk past stores, deciding arbitrarily if they would like to go inside one or pass it. Since everything is so close together, if you change your mind, you can just turn around and go back into a store you passed earlier. Signs advertising sales and new summer arrivals were well placed to draw shoppers into the many clothing stores. Once inside of a store, most associates (only one or two present in most of the small stores,) will greet you with a “Hello” or a “Can I help you find something?” sort of greeting. Kiosks dot the walkways of the mall, and don’t count on their silent advertising as much as their associates to grab shoppers’ attention. People working at these booths sell everything from electronic cigarettes to cell phone cases to hair straighteners, and are not shy about bothering you to come and try their product. I personally find these people annoying 99% of the time, and find that, like zombies, if you do not make eye contact or talk to them, they will usually leave you alone.
Overall, Spotsylvania Mall is not a bad place to visit on a Friday morning. When I have shopping to do there, I much prefer to go on a weekday than a weekend or evening, when the mall is busier. There is a great selection of stores, and you can find almost anything you need there, including a post office. If you don’t find what you need, there is always Central Park, one of the country’s largest shopping centers, located right across the street.

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