By Kerry McAvoy
With the holiday buying season just around the corner, ShoppingTown mall is preparing to welcome shoppers from far and wide to indulge in the best retail has to offer.
Mall officials are expecting an increase in the number of shoppers this year due to the construction and lack of parking at the Carousel Mall. To accommodate more shoppers, extra bus service has been put in place, and the bus stops are now in front of JC Penney's and Sears.
Nannette Carbone, senior marketing manager, said that guest service hours and staff would also be increased to take care of visitors.
Ashley Rose said that there would be stores opening for just the holiday season. Hickory Farms, Personalized Christmas Ornaments, Touch of Nature and Utica Club Brewery will all open just in time for holiday shopping. Dunkin Donuts will be opening by the end of the year.
Carbone said the mall would also continue it's random acts of kindness. Shoppers are chosen at random and are given everything from pens to gift cards. A guest comfort zone will also be open with free coffee, tea and bottled water throughout the season.
Santa Claus will also arrive in an unusual way this year, said Carbone. At 10 a.m., he will show up in the mall's food court on a "Segway human transporter," which is Macerich's latest security acquisition. Macerich is the owner and operator of the shopping center. Milk and cookies will be served to the children while welcoming Santa.
The mall will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Individual stores will also open early, so call for times.