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Dec 15, 2009 9:46 PM by Ariel Wesler

Santa Maria mall brings in more local businesses

The Santa Maria Town Center Mall is getting a fresh look with some new stores this holiday season. Thirteen new stores have been added to the mall. Toy stores, pet stores, and restaurants are just a few of the new options.

With the down economy, the mall is focusing on attracting local merchants instead of national retailers, who aren't likely to open new stores.

Many people told KSBY News they hadn't stepped into the aging mall for years and were pleased with what they saw.

Out with the old and in with the new,aimed at making sure no one leaves empty handed.

"We're focusing more so on local stores rather than catering to the national retailers and thus trying to create a real sense of community within Santa Maria, said Laryssa Stevens," Marketing Director for the mall.

From toy stores to pet shops,

A lot of our retailers are now catering towards kids," Stevens said.

And with kids come parents, also looking to spend their holiday dollars. Amber Goodall owns Sandbox Kids, a children's boutique which opened on Black Friday.

"If you were here a year ago until now, it's night and day. I mean, it has a nicer atmosphere. It's family friendly," Goodall said.

Add a few restaurants

"What we're trying to make this, if nothing else, is a destination for people to come and get really good food in Santa Maria, said Erin Gromfin," who's in charge of several food operations at the mall.

For the mall this holiday season, attracting new businesses also attracts new people who can get more of their shopping done under the same roof.

"You can easily spend hours here in appointments in haircuts, in shopping and eating and it's fun. . .it's all of a sudden like, somebody's working in there again," said Mary, a Santa Maria resident.

Working and on track for a bright holiday season.

Good news for movie fans. A new Regal 14 Cinemas will replace Gottschalks. It's scheduled to open in early 2011.

The mall hopes national retailers will look at opening more stores once the economy turns around.

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