Business Trend: Experience your local mall

The Cheesecake Factory is one of many dining options available at Hamilton Place.
photo Dave & Buster's is coming to Hamilton Place in 2020.

Hamilton Place opened in 1987 as our state's largest mall. Some 30 years later, it's still among Tennessee's top five largest malls as a regional hub of fashion, fun and back-to-school and holiday shopping.

While online shopping thrives, almost 90% of retail transactions still happen in stores, says Stephen Lebovitz, CBL Properties CEO. CBL owns and operates both area malls.

"Our strategy is to transform what have been traditional or enclosed malls to suburban town centers with more restaurants and more uses like hotels and real estate to complement retail," Lebovitz says. "Hamilton Place is a great example with the restaurants we've added like Cheesecake Factory and Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q.

"Food is big. Entertainment is another important component. The key to success is offering the customer more of an experience."

In 2020, Hamilton Place adds a Dave & Buster's, the first location of the adult bar/gaming concept in our area; a relocated DICK'S Sporting Goods; and an Aloft Hotel adjacent to the main mall entrance. New restaurants will continue to crop up in and around both Northgate Mall and Hamilton Place.

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"What makes Hamilton Place and the surrounding area so powerful is the combination of the retail, office, hotel and restaurant development. Customers can find anything they need in our nearly 200 million square feet of commercial space," Lebovitz says.

Lebovitz points to CBL malls in other communities bringing in everything from supermarkets, casinos and bowling alleys to suburban hospitals intended to bring doctors closer to communities where people live and shop.

In the midst of thinking big, CBL promotes opportunities for small business too.

"People have a perception that the mall is only for national retailers or larger companies. Those are important, but we want to maintain a local element as well, which is why we've added Pop-up Shops," Lebovitz says.

Hamilton Place's Pop-Up Shop offers space near Bath & Body Works on the mall's upper level, a high traffic spot available for local retailers to rent by week. Weekly rental includes fixtures like racks, tables and mannequins, a dressing room and signage and advertising.

Shopping malls may be changing, but won't disappear any time soon. They're morphing to offer more fun than ever as true experiences of shopping, dining and entertainment central to communities.

What’s Inside of InsideOut Land?

This interactive pop-up art exhibit by local artist J.W. Butts makes you feel as if you’ve stepped from the mall into an enchanted forest. Flowers sprouting from the floor, painted landscapes covering the walls, sculpted animals throughout – photo opportunities abound in this natural wonderland.InsideOut Land is Butts’ first 3D art experience. His distinctive style includes bold lines, bright colors and unexpected emotions. He’s known for his large-scale murals around town at locations including the Chattanooga Choo Choo, The Bitter Alibi, Chattanooga Brewing Company and the Riverwalk.› Location: Storefront inside the mall entrance by Bar Louie › Dates: Open until Sept. 15› Tickets: $10; 10% of proceeds benefit the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute.Follow along on J.W. Butts’ creative journey through Instagram: @mute0n