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Malls across the country are dying, but some are finding solutions through multi-use spaces

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On the heels of the  Kanawha County Library announcing a temporary move into the Charleston Town Center, we decided to take a closer look at a problem facing many malls across the region.

When you walk into many traditional malls, like this one in downtown Charleston, you see a lot of empty space. That’s one reason the Charleston Town Center is trying some new innovative ways to keep the retail shopping experience alive.

In recent years they have welcomed the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Gallery 11Art Gallery, and even more recent the Kanawha County Public Library.

And soon the Town Center will add another first to this effort. Its called a mixed-use facility unlike any they’ve had before. The “Shipwreck Collection Market.”

It’s the brainchild of Jennifer and Sean Messer. They told 13 News Reporter Erin Noon, “we thought about branching out and bringing that “port” market type of thing, so that other vendors can come in and they can have a place to successfully sell their stuff as well. And we can still sell our stuff but we don’t have to worry about keeping a huge store full all the time.”

The Messer’s have opened up their store in the Town Center for every Christmas season have had huge success. They thought that by bringing more small businesses to one facility it would create a destination in the mall.

These artisans will be selling everything from soaps, shirts, earrings, home decor, and even something for your sweet tooth – all made by people right here in the Mountain State.

 This is a concept that Charleston hasn’t seen before and the owners of the mall were intrigued.

They have studied the trends across the country, and noticed that these vendor and artisan marketplaces are really springing up, they opted to put one in the mall. And we had an empty space really

Lisa Mccracken, Marketing Manager for Charleston Town Center

Mixed-Use properties are becoming the future in retail shopping, allowing small business to become apart of one big business, keeping the shopping experience alive, and reinventing their approach to drawing in customers.

Jennifer and Sean Messer add, “I want to be able to offer you something that you can take home and you can be proud of…. “and have a story with it.” 

And giving people to leave the mouse behind – and take a trip to the mall.


As promised: Exclusive behind the scenes look of “Shipwreck Collection Market,” before their grand opening on March 7th.

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