Located in Princeton's just outside Half Moon Bay, Harbor Village Mall launched its last Thursday as a way to bring more concentrated foot traffic in an area that has sometimes been forgotten by local shoppers. Shops will offer discounts and deals to those who come in for the special extended hours from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. every Thursday night.
store owner Sheri Olson suggested investing more heavily into advertising the existence of the shops as a way to bring in more customers.
“I think it’s the economy and signage,” she said. If there were large signs to promote the shops, Olson said, Harbor Village may not fade into the scenery of the harbor but instead stand out as a local hot spot.
David Seaton, Property Manager of Harbor Village, said slow business might be due to lack of familiarity.
“People get comfortable with wherever they’re usually going,” he said. “Sometimes things just take longer to adapt.”
By creating a time for merchants and the community to interact, business might increase, according to Seaton.
“They haven’t really done too much with the local community,” Seaton said of the mall's merchants. “The most exciting thing is to have locals come out and have a good time.”
At the first Locals Night last Thursday, shoppers browsed the various sales to the sounds of live guitar. While some enjoyed the opening of Empowered Fitness, others took to the $1 off hot slices deal at . A little boy, a charmer dressed in a suit, walked around the mall offering samples of salt water taffy to passersby.
Allie Molina, volunteer at the Freedom Store, said the temperature could be a variable in business.
“Depending on the weather, weekends are pretty busy,” she said. “But so far Thursday’s been a big success.”
All proceeds from the Freedom Store go to the Not for Sale Campaign, a campaign dedicated to ending human trafficking. On Thursday nights, the store will be offering 20 percent off Freeset bags.
“People don’t give it enough opportunity to look at the cause,” Molina said.
Store manager Benita Hopkins said the community may not be used to this kind of shop, but they should definitely check it out.
“We want to get the word out there,” she said. “I think it’s different for this area, but some advertising would definitely help.”
Not all businesses have decided to stick it out and wait for more customers to patronize the mall. Kings and Knights miniature golf left the mall after less than a year in business. And on Sunday, longtime Half Moon Bay Main St.-turned-Harbor Village store Sense of Peace closed its doors.
“I’ve seen some good times and not so good times,” said owner Sung Lee last week.
Lee looked around her store and mused as to why business in the mall is slow.
“I honestly don’t know, because you can’t make people do things,” she said. “The economy has to grow, that’s really the bottom line.”
Sense of Peace, which specialized in eco-friendly and items largely based on nature, will move their store to an online format. Though it’s a new platform, Lee remains optimistic that others will appreciate the beautiful pieces in her online store.
“It’s all a learning experience,” Lee said.
Olson, who considers herself a pure optimist, believes that business will get better.
“If you have a good product and place to go people will find you,” Olson said.
“It’s a gorgeous place to have a store,” said Olson. “It’s kind of like a treasure. Once you find it, people love it.”
Savvy Skirts was the first store to open its doors at Harbor Village with a commitment to serving the multi-faceted roles of women.
Though Savvy Skirts doesn’t actually sell skirts, they do sell several items for varying interests and generations, Olson said.
“We call it retail therapy for all ages,” she said.
Each Thursday night is Girls Night Out at Savvy Skirts with discounts and delicious and refreshing “mocktails.”
One Locals Night shopper, Annette Roman, said she hopes to bring a friend or group to tonight's second evening of special discounts.
“I want people to support local businesses,” she said.
Roman, who expressed her love for Village Pizza, said the shops in Harbor Village are unique and bring something different to the community.
Locals should support them before it’s too late, she said.
“It’s hard to see businesses go one by one,” Roman said. “I want Harbor Village to survive because I love Half Moon Bay.”
Tonight's Locals Night specials:
Kristi Will + Home Design- 10% off all items
- 20% off all wine by the glass or bottle consumed on the premises. Coastside ID required.
HMB Salt Water Taffy- 20% off all items
-10% off all items
-10% off all items
-10% off all items
Freedom Store- 20% off Freeset bags. 100% of proceeds go towards the Not For Sale Campaign to benefit those who have survived modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
-$1 off pizza slices
-Complimentary chair massages
- Girls' Night every Thursday featuring specials, promotions & giveaways.
Empowered Fitness- Grand-Free consultation and $50 off 1 month program