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How Macomb Mall is thriving during the holiday season and the pandemic

Michelle Martin, for Macomb Mall
Macomb Mall is overcoming all odds and is quietly experiencing a resurgence.

Macomb Mall has been quietly experiencing a resurgence for the last few years. When Bloomfield Hills-based Lormax Stern purchased the property out of receivership in 2013, the mall was only two-thirds occupied. With an investment of over $30 million in renovations and upgrades, the center now boasts a relaxed atmosphere, updated entrances, new flooring, soft seating and raised, open-air ceilings — and a long list of new and highly sought after tenants.  The Roseville-based mall, which originally opened in 1964, provides a meaningful mix of big-name stores and local businesses.

Key to its success, Macomb Mall is not only immersed but also truly invested in the community it serves. The dedicated shoppers who continue to support Macomb Mall and its tenants often stop in to speak with Mall Management and share how amazed they are with the transformation, especially the ongoing addition of new stores and they are quick to mention how clean, well maintained, and safe they feel while visiting.

“It is important to provide a mix of national and local tenants for our customers to show we are invested in our community,” said Marianne Meyers, general manager of Macomb Mall. “You need to include everyone … big and small. Loyalty and commitment is very important … it shows you care.”

A devoted community partner, the mall hosts free monthly kids club activities and annual family-friendly events such as Heroes Day, Back to School Bash and Mall-O-Ween; however, those have been paused due to public safety guidelines during this challenging year. Families are invited to celebrate the season’s traditions and create holiday memories by taking in the mall-wide holiday decorations on display. This includes the 50-year-old, iconic 15-foot Frosty The Snowman Family exhibit or the stunningly beautiful 16-foot Christmas tree flanked by toy soldiers — it’s perfect for festive selfies. Perhaps enjoying the ambiance of the live music series “Sounds of the Season” by local musicians on Saturdays and Sundays and safely visiting Santa at his lodge. There is even a virtual Santa experience available for families available on their website.

Longtime tenant, Diamond Gallery, has been at Macomb Mall since 1987. Albert Ansara’s family-owned jewelry store is happily embracing the changes that have allowed the mall to thrive after falling on tough times a decade earlier. Ansara, raised in the family business himself, began working at the store at the age of 14 and is inspired by the turnaround.   

Albert Ansara, owner of Diamond Gallery, began working at the family-owned jewelry store in Macomb Mall at the age of 14.

“This mall means everything to my family and me,” said Albert Ansara, owner of Diamond Gallery. “Since starting here, we’ve grown our business to include two other locations. Nevertheless, at its core, it’s all about the relationships we’ve built with our customers. We’re now seeing generations buying pieces that will become family heirlooms. My young girls come to the store just as I used to. It is a special place, and even more so now. What the new owners have been able to do here in less than eight years is nothing short of amazing.”

This year the mall is spotlighting its nonprofit Go Local campaign. According to the campaign’s website, Go Local celebrates community by encouraging people to shop locally, support small businesses and invest in their own neighborhood. For every $1 spent at a participating local business, 45 cents goes back into the community. You can visit the mall’s website, which provides a full list of participating businesses. 

“Local and independent businesses play a vital role in maintaining a community’s distinct character,” said Apple Wick, assistant general manager of Macomb Mall. “These aren’t just clothing shops, these are eateries, nail salons and other desired services. The owners and employees are your neighbors and friends. When you shop and spend with them, that investment gets shared with local accountants, skilled (trades) workers and more. It is a full community eco-system that can only be sustained by the patronage of those in our own backyards.”

Macomb Mall’s mix of popular big box stores and independent, locally owned shops creates a diverse shopping experience.

The Macomb Mall owners know that keeping a diverse tenant mix is key to satisfying the needs of the community. With fan favorite big box stores such as Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michaels and Five Below, Macomb Mall is also home to other large national retailers like Old Navy, Ulta Beauty, H&M, Shoe Carnival, Bath & Body Works, several Foot Locker brands, Kay Jewelers and many more. A winning combination that has proven to work in their favor, despite national shopping trends changing vastly in recent years. Continuing to buck that trend and succeed despite some retail experts’ predictions is what sets this property apart. During the first week of November, Girl Boss, a woman-owned local clothing retailer, opened her fourth location at the center. Additionally, Cinnabon and SameDay Custom plan to open new operations in December. Some retailers are operating on reduced hours and all have capacity limits due to the State’s safety mandates. Even during this time, both national and local tenants are rebounding.

The revitalization of Macomb Mall may just be one of the best-kept secrets of the East Side, but now it is time to shine. Stop by and check them out, you won’t believe the transformation.

To see a complete list of stores, deal and events at Macomb Mall, visit shopmacombmall.com.

Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.