BOZEMAN- This year the Gallatin Valley Mall is celebrating its 40th anniversary as an anchor in our community, the mall says the key to success is evolution and transformation.
“Back when this mall was developed 40 years ago we were doing 40-year leases,” Deb Jacupke the General Manager of the Gallatin Valley Mall said.
There are two reasons why a large anchor outlet like JC Pennies or Sears might pull out of a mall, JC Pennies had a 40-year lease at Gallatin Valley Mall.
One reason is that they don’t fit with customer expectations and that there’s an option for an underserved category to bring new life to the mall and a new player.
Or it doesn’t fit with the evolution plan.
“Where the horse that saddled you’ve got this great property it’s got its infrastructure in place it just needs to be evolved to what the new expectations are,” Jacupke said, “Gallatin Valley Mall is a real candidate, it’s a brilliant candidate for redevelopment and those are some of the things we are working on now.”
During the COVID-19 outbreak online shopping increasing by 36%- but now the doors at the mall are back open and people are shopping, but the mall is working to stay stronger together and they’re utilizing their parking lot to help local vendors recoup lost funds.
“We realize that we don’t have a lot of the festivals and the art shows,” Jacupke said, “and people that make their living in cottage businesses have nowhere to go.”
So the mall is putting its parking lot to use, hosting “The Best of the 406 Market Place,” every Friday.
“I think that this market is on fire, I do not think Bozeman grew less attractive during COVID-19,” Jacupke said, “I think it grew more attractive and we are seeing that in the inquiries we’re having about the mall.”
“The Best of the 406 Market Place,” allows for small mom and pop shops to open up and make sales.
But the utilization of their parking lot doesn’t stop there, during COVID the mall, even though it was closed worked to be the heartbeat of the community.
“During the pandemic early on we did a drive-by Easter Bunny, we did a drive-in church service, we gave away potatoes and beef out of the parking lot and the girl scouts did their work [here]” Jacupke said, “You name a nonprofit and we’re involved with it.”
For Jacupke who has 40 years of experience managing malls, she says every mall has a heartbeat and a personality.
The personally of Bozeman’s mall, is one that takes care of its community.