North Grand Mall needs to shape up

Ames is a bustling college town. In fact, it is a metropolis by definition since the population exceeds 50,000 people. Of those 50,000, around half are college students. So, would it not make sense for a town of this size to have a mall that can cater to the needs of a bustling city and the university full of young people? What would a mall need to have to be successful in the lovely environment here in Ames? Well, for a start, it would need a food court. Food courts are the reason most people go to the mall in the first place. People don’t really care about shopping as much as they care about getting cheap Americanized food from several supposedly “ethnic” fast food establishments. They would also need several quality stores to browse through after they eat so they don’t feel quite as guilty about going into the mall just to eat. Aside from that, the mall would only need to be large enough for various teens to hang out comfortably when they should be doing homework or other things that are actually worth while. That is it. Food, quality stores, and space makes a complete mall for a college town. Now for what we actually have. We have a “mall” on North Grand. In this “mall” there are several components that any mall would have. We have an area right near the middle of the complex that has restaurants, but Jimmy Johns, Cookies Etc., and Flame and Skewer do not a food court make. The four or five tables (and only slightly more chairs) that are near these restaurants may indeed be able to serve the crowds of people that traffic through these fine establishments everyday, but if we had some more restaurants, or an actual food court, we may need to get some more tables (or at least a few more chairs). As for the “quality” stores for customers to wander through after they eat, North Grand “Mall” has a wide selection of clothing stores to choose from. There is a J.C. Penney’s at one end, a Younkers in the middle, and let’s not forget the multiple Gaps, Hot Topic, Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Milroy’s Tuxedos, and that Cyclone/Hawkeye apparel store. If clothes aren’t your favorite thing in the world, you can always go to Game Stop, Claire’s, one of the two jewelry stores, or, my personal favorite, La La Handbags. With all of these “quality” stores, it is hard to imagine why people don’t hang out at the mall as much as they used to. As for the one remaining requirement for a quality mall, space, our “mall” has plenty. Between the area by Younkers where Santa takes up residence every year, the small area with tables by Jimmy Johns and Cookies Etc., and the numerous vacant spaces where stores used to be there is enough room for any group of four or less people to hang out in almost any place they don’t want to. Okay, now let’s be serious. Our “mall” is terrible. They don’t cater to the needs of a growing college town with a large population under the age of 25. If they want to attract more people, they need to spruce the place up a little. First, start with the aesthetics of the building. Put more benches/chairs/tables where people can just hang out. Get at least two or more new food establishments that serve cheap, fast, unhealthy food to people who don’t really want to shop, but are there anyway. Secondly, add some greenery around in strategic places through out the mall (I know what you’re thinking, and no, that pathetic area of fake grass and rocks by Younkers, where the fountain used to be, doesn’t count). Thirdly, we need some stores that will actually hold someone’s interest for more than a few seconds. We already have enough clothing stores for Justin Bieber wannabes, so what we need are more unique stores that don’t necessarily have things you would find in the average house, but are still fun to peruse while you digest what you ate at the expanded food court. We have heard about the new renovations that will go into effect quickly for several years now, but they never seem to actually get done. Come on North Grand “Mall”–it is up to you to do what you have promised, so don’t let us down…again.