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Mall in Columbia looking ahead with hope

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Barbara Nicklas, senior general manager of The Mall in Columbia, has an image of what The Mall will look like when it reopens – even if she doesn’t quite know when that will be.

“The center is beautiful this time of year,” she said. “The outside cafes are full, and the exterior retailers all open their doors.”

She’s looking forward to reopening and welcoming back the community. “I am seeing our customers enjoying themselves once again throughout the property – in the food court, restaurants, play areas and of course, shopping!”

As part of the look forward, The Mall in Columbia has several retailers in the process of building out new spaces, with two undergoing renovations, including Love Sac and Five Guys.

“Our new tenants that will open over the coming months include Popeye’s, Charming Charlies, Custom Ink, AT&T Portables and & Pizza,” said Nicklas. “Additionally, Krispy Kreme and Shoe Show are two very recent additions to The Mall in Columbia.”

The here and now

During these strange times, Nicklas expressed deep appreciation for the dedicated and hardworking crews taking care of public safety, housekeeping, maintenance and landscaping. They are keeping The Mall in Columbia maintained and primed for reopening.

“We have modified hours on these crews when and where appropriate with our focus on maintaining our high standards of safety, cleanliness and visual appeal,” she said.

Nicklas said she also values the connectivity with her staff, retailers, vendors and the community.

“We are following government orders – with many of the team working from home – and are looking forward to all being back working together,” she said. “There is actually a great deal to do during this time.”

Each day, she asks herself how best she can support retailers, employees and the community. “What are their needs? How can we best support and serve them today? And what can we do today to ensure that we are at our best and ready to reopen when this health crisis has passed?”

In addition to maintaining the property itself, Nicklas has reached out to the community to inquire how The Mall in Columbia can best be of service during this challenging time.

“Through our restaurants that have remained opened, we are providing meals to Howard County General Hospital,” she said, “and we are looking into the possibility of doing a blood drive in our parking lot.”

Nicklas also extended her public thanks to restaurants and retailers that are operating during this time.

“We are grateful to be a resource right now, in any way we can,” she said. “Currently, we have six restaurants that are open for curbside takeout and delivery – Maggiano’s, PF Chang’s, Seasons 52, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory and Walrus Oyster & Ale House,” she said. “Additionally, Pearle Vision is now opening for individual, emergency patients.”

By Susan Kim | Staff Writer | The Business Monthly

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