Sacramento senior citizens are sad that the Country Club shopping mall’s Bed, Bath & Beyond store, and Ross Dress for Less, located at the corner of Watt and El Camino Avenues are moving away from the Country Club mall to the Town and Country Mall. Also, T.J. Maxx is expected to open at the Town and Country Mall shopping center near Fulton and Marconi avenues. According to reports, consumer spending in California has increased and consumer confidence has risen to the highest level in three months.
Surrounding the Country Club shopping center within walking distance are numerous senior apartment complexes, and many older home owners who walk to the Country Club shopping center because it’s close to home rather than take the number 25 bus from Marconi and Watt Avenue to Fulton and Marconi because the bus runs once an hour and doesn’t run on Sundays at all, one of the heaviest shopping days. Those who buy their clothing at Ross and their sheets, cookware, and other items at Bed Bath and Beyond (because they give good discount coupons) will now have to shop by bus as there are few sidewalks to stroll between Watt and Marconi and Fulton and Marconi.
Who will benefit most will be the expensive homes along Marconi Avenue near the pricey Country Club golf course and the low-income apartments along Marconi near Fulton Avenue. But for those who have access to Town and Country, which is hard for non-drivers taking the once-an-hour number 25 bus, they’ll now have more shopping. On the other hand, the large senior population living near the Country Club shopping area, will lose more variety on stores where they can shop for necessities other than food. What they do have is Walmart and Macy’s, now that Gottschalks department store has been gone for more than a year.
What seniors also have left at Country Club shopping mall is the Hometown Buffet restaurant, which has a senior’s discount. You have left at the mall the Hallmark store, Macy’s and a perfume store. The rest are smaller business such as the art gallery and the vitamin store.
A favorite place for seniors to gather during Christmas Week is the Country Club mall, where Fridays you can hear the harp concert between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and a few food court eateries such as the Panda Asian-style food eatery (high in sodium and fats), the Hometown Buffet, and the small Subway sandwich store. Higher-priced Macy’s competes with lower-priced Walmart for the lower-income senior citizens shopping. But the mall is handy for the numerous nondrivers who walk or take the bus.
Meanwhile at the Town and Country shopping mall, a fourth tenant will be selling either sporting goods or clothing. Check out Cathie Anderson’s September 29, 2012 column, Inside Business in the Sacramento Bee, “Stores sign up at Town & Country as Country Club takes another hit.”
What the Country Club could do to bring in more customers is to have a place where more senior citizens living close to that area can meet for either world music concerts, clubs, cultural and ethnic festivals, or lectures on subjects of interest to people in the area. The mall which draws a high number of older adults to the Hometown Buffet in the afternoons, could make more use of its spaces for groups to meet that recognize the sizeable and growing number of retirees who are at the shopping center or its eateries during afternoons between noon and 3:00 p.m. daily.
The mall gets its share of teenagers and young parents with small children, but in the daytime, many seniors are likely to be seen walking through the mall. More activities could be scheduled that appeal to these many residents such as the Friday Harp concerts, which are scheduled during the 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. working adult’s lunch hour instead of during the 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. senior citizen’s afternoon stroll and shopping hour, that more empty mall time when the retirees are most likely to be there, after the lunch hour (working adult) and shoppers with preschool children go back to work.
After all, across the street from the Country Club mall is Walmart with its recent emphasis on selling food and groceries as well as low-priced clothing, filled with shoppers at almost all hours of the day and evening. And within walking distance are several food markets such as Fresh and Easy. Lacking and much needed at Country Club would be a food store selling organic food. But then again, there’s the seasonal Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in the parking lot of Macy’s.
Unfortunately, the 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. misses many of the senior shoppers who get up in the late morning and do their shopping in the afternoon, usually between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. avoiding the crowds when the working adults finish their lunch hour. If you stroll through the Country Club mall on weekdays during those afternoon hours when the lunch hour is over, there will be relatively few people there. Filling the empty time with senior shoppers could be done by offering them entertainment, lectures, club meetings, cultural events, or concerts during those hours either on weekdays or weekends.