Short Pump vs. Stony Point
On the day after Christmas there isn't much to talk about really. AOL, for instance, has as its banner news story — "He's Blind, and He Golfs. How does Zohar Sharon do it?" But one little item in the paper today did catch my eye, on a topic I hear a lot of people (OK, mostly women) talking about: Short Pump vs. Stony Point.
In a piece today about the ups and downs of the local business community this past year, the Times-Dispatch's MetroBusiness section dubbed Short Pump Town Center an unequivocal UP, with the paper citing a 16.6 percent increase in sales in the first half of the year compared with the same time frame in 2004. Stony Point Fashion Park was labeled DOWN or FLAT, with sales falling more than 12 percent in the first six months of 2005. Since malls don't give out sales figures, these numbers are usually determined by looking at sales-tax information. A representative of the company that owns Stony Point disputed the T-D's figures saying, "We are very satisfied with our results at Stony Point." Not exactly effusive enthusiasm.
I would assume the bigger Short Pump Town Center would rack up larger sales but I wonder what explains the dip for Stony Point. What do you all think of these outdoor malls? What I find interesting is that time and time again I hear people say how much they love Stony Point — it's comfortable and very conducive to strolling. It has some great stores — Sur La Table, Anthropologie, Saks Fifth Avenue, Restoration Hardware — yet it also has a low-key, low-stress feel. Could that be part of the problem? Do people just like to hang out there and not actually spend money?
Short Pump, on the other hand, I have heard described as overwhelming, too big, too much. Still, it has the stores a lot of people want: Crate & Barrel, the Apple store, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, Nordstrom and some great local retailers like Soak!, Saxon Shoes and the venerable Schwarzschild Jewelers.
So what is it? Do we like to stroll one and shop the other? Can they both succeed or is it inevitable that one will stamp out the other? Let's hope this town is big enough for the both of them, unlike the two sheriffs ...