How Sikes Senter Mall is surviving despite the closing of 40 thousand U.S malls in years to come

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) -Sikes Senter mall has been a hot topic recently as several big box stores have left and some say they are planning to leave.

With online shopping and these retailers leaving some residents feel like the mall is dying, but owners are offering something you can’t buy online, experience.

“I think the age of going through to a department store to find six different colors of blue shirts that are button-up.” Carl Alfert, owner of Chooch ax throwing said, “I think you can just go online and buy that now but what you can’t buy online is experience.”

That’s exactly what owners at Sikes Senter Mall are offering. Since COVID, the number of consumers shopping online has risen and changed the way people shop.

Alfert said, “So, I think all these big malls are going through a big shift. It’s not just a Wichita Falls thing, it’s not just a sikes thing. I think the way consumers buy things are different now.”

According to U-B-S investment bank, they expect between 40,000 to 50,000 retail stores in the United States to close over the next five years. Store owners are combatting this by offering something different.

“I mean Amazon for one has done away with shopping in-store.” Utah Robertson, manager of Nexus Game Lounge said, “So we give an experience that you can’t get anywhere else and I think that’s kind of what most of the stores are coming to, is if you can’t get it here you can’t get it anywhere.”

Old navy already left the mall and Dillards is soon to follow, and residents are having mixed reactions. Some like the entertainment and some feel like the mall is dead.

Robertson said, “From the other side, when I wasn’t working in the mall, I would’ve agreed with them, but having moved in here and seen the number of people that have come to build something from nothing, in the mall, we’re far from dead.”

As some do feel the mall is dying with numerous spaces still vacant. There are several more entertainment experiences giving a breath of light, such as ax throwing, a gaming lounge, and even a pool tournament.

Robertson says it’s a Wichita Falls exclusive experience so that’s all the more reason to come to Sikes.

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