A Mall World
Retailers gather to share ideas and complaints.
Thursday, March 28, 2002
Throngs of retailers descended on Monterey last week for the International Council of Shopping Centers'' Idea Exchange at the Hyatt Regency.
The bad news is Krispy Kreme''s gifted donut-makers aren''t setting up shop on the Peninsula anytime soon.
"I''d love to, we just don''t have a location," said Chuck Shaw, a Krispy Kreme VP, adding that he had his sights set on opening a shop at the Del Monte Shopping Center--until the deal fell through and Outback Steakhouse move in.
Most of the 50 or so retailers, however, geared their pitches toward the big cities--San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles--while Monterey County shopping center owners and managers waited in the wings, hoping to lure new businesses or encourage existing ones to get bigger.
Attending retailers included Jack in the Box, AutoZone Inc., Blockbuster, Payless ShoeSource, Hallmark Cards, In-N-Out Burger and Trader Joe''s.
When they weren''t making deals, convention-goers listened to ICSC reps bag on the California Coastal Commission ("Because they''ve done such a great job protecting our coastline, let''s extend their jurisdiction to the Sierras!"), smart-growth, urban-growth boundaries ("another great idea!") and land-use principles in general.
The outdoor patio, the golf course, and, of course, Knuckles, remained popular alternatives to the sessions.
Keynote speaker Capt. Scott O''Grady, a former Air Force F-16 pilot, packed the Regency Ballroom. O''Grady, who was shot down over Bosnia in 2001 while enforcing the NATO no-fly zone, shared the problem-solving ingenuity that kept him alive in enemy territory for six days.
"We all have something in common and that''s we all face difficulties in life," he told the standing-room only crowd. It''s just that his difficulties included ejecting himself from a burning F-16, surviving six days in a war zone while being hunted like a wild animal, eating live ants and drinking dirty, sweaty water wrung from his socks. And theirs include negotiating leases with greedy landlords, competing with powerhouses like Safeway and Starbucks, and charming hostile, anti-chain Peninsula-dwellers.