Landlord Cominar has launched an innovative multi-purpose retail space at Mississauga’s Dixie Outlet Mall, which is free of charge. It’s part of a trend where mall landlords are adding space for pop-up retail and non-conventional uses to malls, to keep things fresh and to keep customers coming back.
The new 3,100 square foot space is called The Dixie Living Room. Cominar repurposed the space into a multi-use community space that can be booked for pop-up shops, corporate meetings, events and other uses, completely for free. Dixie Outlet Mall’s Marketing Director, Cristina Avila, says that the new space is already seeing considerable interest after advertising its availability.
“Transforming a vacant unit into a beautiful community space is just one of the ways we are working to reinvent the retail experience,” says Ms. Avila. “By sharing our resources, we hope to inspire our friends and neighbours to welcome more diverse uses into our shopping centre for our guests to enjoy.”
The bright, open space features storefront windows, as well as a minimalist industrial décor that lends itself to a wide range of functions. The Living Room is open during the mall’s regular operating hours and is available for short-term occupancy or multi-day use. The space is equipped with free Wi-Fi, tables, chairs and lightweight movable wall dividers to transform the space to suit various uses. It has a standing room capacity of 100 guests.
Ms. Avila said that demand for the space is substantial, and that it's available on a ‘first come’ basis. They’ve already had over 150 booking requests from community members and small retailers.
“Adding experiences to shopping centres is attracting consumers, which is a necessity at a time when eCommerce is growing rapidly,” said Farla Efros, President of consultancy HRC Retail Advisory. “Millennials and Generation Z will particularly be attracted to this new initiative, and Dixie Outlet Mall will stand to gain against competitors if it continues to add additional reasons to visit the centre — which will ultimately lead to increased revenue to existing retailers, not to mention an overall higher productivity for the landlord,” she said.
Other landlords are adding similar retail spaces to their malls, in an effort to differentiate their properties as well as offer consumers a reason to repeatedly visit their centres. Oxford Properties, for example, recently launched CONCEPT at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. CONCEPT spans 3,600 square feet and currently houses six food vendors, with its tenant mix to change periodically to feature a variety of different retailers. Unlike The Living Room at Dixie Outlet Mall, however, tenants at CONCEPT pay to be there.
To kick-off The Living Room’s official opening, Dixie Outlet Mall hosted a three-tiered event in the space, including a one-hour fitness class, a health-focused presentation, and a social media course. On Saturday, April 29 between 12:00pm and 4:00pm, Canadian performer and YouTube sensation Joey Kidney will be on-site to meet fans and share his latest project, 'Stay You’. Throughout the day, as well, social media star Andrew Quo will be in attendance, and there will also be musical performances by Cam Bogle and Alexander Stewart. Both events are free to the public with a donation of a non-perishable food item, in support of the Mississauga Food Bank.