Surrey Central City a Dud?
“Dude, you’ll love it! There is a mall right underneath the campus!” said my friend, when she convinced me to take my first course here at Simon Fraser University Surrey(SFU). This was more than a year and a half ago, during my enrolment period for my first semester here at SFU. I still remember vividly my first day here at the campus, opening those tough large glass doors to be welcomed by a set of stairs that graciously led me to the main lobby. The feeling was great; everything in the building was brand new, ceiling was ingeniously supported by wooden beams that met together in the middle to form a point, the tinted green glass lined walls let the sun shine through the building, it felt very welcoming and cozy. At that point, I felt a little less weary of my three hour long break which resulted from a course located at this newly built campus. “I could just browse around the mall to kill some time!” I said to myself ignorantly, as I left class to begin my three hour long break.
Immediately I noticed the liquor store staring at me with its beastly sign and the walls of complacently smiling alcohol waiting for its next victim. Happy and content from my first impressions, I continued to walk further within the depths of the mall. Unfortunately, after a few short minute of exploring further into this conglomerate of stores, my high expectations slowly faded. The mall was completely dead, with only a handful of shoppers generously dispersed throughout the various small stores. Busiest locations were at the plentiful of lotto stands and the food court. Elsewhere, the stores were empty with the employees playing solitaire on their laptops. Central City had a couple anchor stores dispersed throughout different sections of the building; Zellers, Futureshop, Winners, and T&T Supermarket, were designed to attract more customers into the mall. As an university student, one can only spend so much time browsing through the various aisles of groceries, laundry detergents, expensive electronics, and exotic furniture. However, all hope is not lost... as I also noticed the large sections of “coming soon” signs plastered throughout the unfinished portions of the mall. I decided to give the semi-finished shopping center some time to polish up its line up of stores, and so for the rest of the semester I spent my three hour breaks catching up on some sleep.
One and a half year later, nothing within Central City has improved. The lobbies are still empty with the occasional patron carelessly walking by. Boarded up sections of the complex were still unfinished. Instead, it has taken a step backwards with multiple stores closing down with very little attention paid to them. This is where I begin to wonder, why isn’t the mall doing more to attract more potential clients to open up shop in their mall? There are so many advantages this shopping center has, as opposed to many other malls. Easily accessible by transportation from bus and skytrain, the attractive design of the building and most importantly the undivided attention of student shoppers. There are tremendous amounts of “buying power” contained within these students, being one myself. I can safely say, if they had more stores directed towards our age group, they would have a much better time in selling the image of the Central City. However, nothing is being done to help attract us to shop in their stores. As most students who have had classes at SFU Surrey can attest, “these stores are where my grandparents shop at!” With department stores such as Zellers having sales to attract the early morning retirees, to the clothing stores whom none of us think of ever shopping at until our aged bodies are wrinkled and bulging out from the middle. I think to myself, do they really care about the profitability of the building? Throw in some reputable stores where we can spend more than 10 minutes browsing in, and you will see a lot more of us with our wallets bulging out our rear ends.