Two area business owners are betting they can attract shoppers to the Upper Valley Mall by offering services shoppers can’t find as easily online.
Lisa Webb opened Treasure Trove Collectibles at the Upper Valley Mall earlier this month, offering a variety of items from vinyl records to action figures and Longaberger baskets.
Brian Anderson is hoping to open his store, Pixel Playground, by October. That business would allow customers to pay by the hour to play the newest video games with friends, while also offering customers a chance to play old games that are now harder to find.
Shoppers can usually find clothing and other products online, Webb said. So the challenge for stores is to find businesses that can provide a different experience and products that are harder to find online.
“We’re really reinventing the mall these days,” Webb said.
Webb has been selling hard-to-find collectible items at antique stores and other locations for several years. But she decided to open Treasure Trove Collectibles after honing in on what kinds of items her customers want.
One section of the store offers vinyl records, while another section offers Star Wars collectibles, comics and other action figures. She also has sections that sell popular brands like Longaberger baskets, Boyds Bears and Department 56 collectible villages.
In the future, she will also have space for other vendors who will sell items like re-purposed furniture and antiques, among other products. To make the store more fun for kids, she also offers free fake pirate tattoos for children, a place to color and a rewards program.
“I’m trying to make it a place for one-stop shopping,” Webb said.
Anderson grew up playing video games, and said his store will offer customers a chance to play video games together, even if it’s not always on the same screen. Pixel Playground will offer the newest games for PlayStation and Xbox, but also old systems like the original Nintendo or Sega Genesis. It will be located across from Epic Loot Games and Comics, so the stores together can be a destination for entertainment at the mall, he said.
“My most enjoyable time spent playing video games has always been the couch co-op, sitting next to your friends playing the same games and enjoying the atmosphere it creates,” Anderson said.
Like Webb, Anderson said he’s confident the mall can attract customers if the right tenants are in place.
“I personally would love to be part of the revival of the mall, whether that’s in the traditional terms of what a mall is or some other adaptation of what malls in small communities are going to be,” Anderson said.