Central Florida mall reinventing the experience to attract customers

The days of old school shopping malls are gone, but one Central Florida mall is reinventing the wheel to attract customers.

The Lake Square Mall in Leesburg has been a staple in the community for 40 years, but like malls around the country, it’s seen better days. Customers turning to online shopping has hurt malls that rely on brick and motor stores.

“You cannot be the traditional shopping mall anymore,” said Dr. Anna Marie Chwastiak, Marketing Director, Lake Square Mall. “It is a challenging time when it comes to shopping malls and that’s why the owners of the mall Village Lake Promenade are trying to think of innovative ways to attract the community.”

The Mall, nicknamed “The Square,” is under new ownership and looking to reinvent the mall experience. The focus is now on unique attractions: arcade games, bowling, virtual reality games, go-kart racing, laser tag and a modern ice rink opening soon, just to name a few.

“Lake Square Mall is more than a typical shopping experience, we truly are becoming a family destination,” said Chwastiak.

Mall officials say offering actvities is bringing more people through the doors, which means more customers for the stores.

“There have been malls that have actually come here, to meet with the owners and ask us, ‘What is this mall doing?’” said Chwastiak.

Customers we spoke to tell us, “The Square” is on the right track.

“I think it’s pretty great, I think it will bring more people in,” said Hayley Davis, mall customer.

Sara Vaughn brought her boys to the mall and she loves the changes.

“It’s great having the extra activities here, the kids come, they love the arcade, the bowling,” said Vaughn.

Her oldest son agrees.

“They’re amazing, all the kids could have fun, whenever they want,” said Oylan Vaughn.

A new-age mall, trying to survive by changing with the times.

“We are truly proud to say it’s hip to be at The Square,” said Chwastiak.