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Coralville mall incubates start-ups while landing big chains
Nov. 18, 2022 6:00 am, Updated: Nov. 19, 2022 8:03 am
CORALVILLE — It’s beginning to look a lot like mall season.
Coral Ridge Mall, a 24-year-old retail center near Interstate 80 in Coralville, welcomed new clothing stores and a candy shop this fall. And Planet Fitness is under construction and expected to open in January.
“That’s kind of the whole direction of malls, making it an entertainment and shopping destination,” Coral Ridge General Manager Monica Hiles said. “Retail, fitness and making it a one-stop shop.”
The mall is 97 percent occupied, bucking a trend among some Iowa malls. One of its anchor tenants, Younkers department store, closed in 2018 when the company went out of business. But in 2019, a new anchor was found for the space: Ashley Homestore.
One strategy, Hiles said, is attracting national and international stores, such as H&M, which opened last year at Coral Ridge, and local entrepreneurs who want to try bricks-and-mortar retail.
“A lot of times what we do for local tenants is we start them on a kiosk or on a short-term lease so they can start their business and incubate it,” Hiles said. “If it’s successful, we grow them into a larger space on a permanent basis.”
An example of this is the Black & Gold Shop, which started as a kiosk, then moved to a satellite building outside Coral Ridge Mall when its business grew, Hiles said. For November and December, Black & Gold also will have a store in the mall.
Other new stores include Lolli & Pops, which sells everything from gourmet cotton candy and gummies to macarons and fancy chocolates. The store opened Nov. 4 by Helzberg Diamonds, near the mall’s center court.
“Bring your sweet tooth because there’s something in there for everybody,” Hiles said.
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Daily Thread, a new women’s clothing store near Dillard’s, has the motto “Affordable fashion every day,” Hiles said.
Planet Fitness is taking over the space of several former storefronts, moving into the area south of Barnes & Noble where Chico’s, Ragstock and Hallmark had been. The New Hampshire-based fitness chain will have only an exterior entrance.
“They are under construction right now,” she said. “They are hoping to be open around the first of the year to get all the New Year’s resolutions.”
Planet Fitness opened a location last year at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids and it also has a gym in the Iowa City Marketplace on the east side of Iowa City.
Ragstock, a Minneapolis-based chain that sells vintage and recycled clothing, moved to a bigger store on Coral Ridge’s main concourse by Bath & Body Works. Hallmark, the greeting card and gift retailer, also upgraded to a larger store, moving to the former Pier I store outside the mall.
Santa will be arriving at Coral Ridge at 11 a.m. Nov. 25. For the first time in the mall’s history, the jolly old elf and his photo-taking crew will be in the mall food court rather than the center of the mall, Hiles said.
Santa will be there until Christmas Eve.
Coral Ridge will be closed Thanksgiving Day, reopening from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Black Friday. From Dec. 9 to 23, the mall will extend hours from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas Eve hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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With Planet Fitness coming, Coral Ridge buck trends of some malls – The Gazette