CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A lot of people tend to go to the mall on Black Friday to shop, but not many people in Charleston shop at Charleston Town Center Mall anymore.
When it comes to shopping in Charleston, it’s a tale of two shopping areas. While downtown Charleston is mostly empty on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, at the South Ridge shopping center, you can barely find a place to park.
“It was always packed. The mall was the place to be back whenever I was growing up. Back before I took off out of here,” Nelson Henson, a shopper said.
Now after years of shifting populations, habits are changing too.
“It has been a number of years since we really gone to the mall. I think for one, I think they’ve lost a number of stores that would normally draw people in to do their shopping,” Brett Hamilton, a shopper said.
“Up here has built a lot and I feel like most of downtown Charleston is up here now more so than it is downtown,” Henson said.
Still, others cling to the downtown Christmas experience.
“I like to sit and have a coffee and this time of year. I like to see all of the beautiful decorations at the mall and just see people moving around,” Mark Spangler, a shopper said.
Online shopping has also taken a toll on brick-and-mortar businesses wherever they are because of the convenience factor. Convenience is just another reason shoppers go to South Ridge.
“Out here it’s just easier to get around. You’re not paying for parking. It also seems like some of the stores have moved out here,” Hamilton said.
Tomorrow is small business Saturday and businesses hope people will come shop with them to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic.