Katy Fitzgerald is living your teenage dream—she runs a mall. The DeVargas Center, to be precise, and it actually seems like a pretty cool gig for an adult. The northside mall opened in 1973 and while it's sometimes seen as "the small mall" when compared to Santa Fe Place, the recent closure of the Sanbusco Center and upcoming addition of a bowling alley have injected new life into the property. We asked her about holiday shopping.
Small Business Saturday; is that still a thing? For local shops, how is that different from Black Friday?
It is still a thing, and quite frankly it’s a thing because of our customers, right? Customers are becoming more aware that it’s important that they support small, mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar stores if they want to see their community stay healthy and vibrant. So really, that’s why it’s a thing and it continues to be a thing. … I know [all the merchants] put their best foot forward. Some of them do specials. It varies between the stores, but yes, they’re very much aware of it and thankful that it is a thing.
You have a bunch of construction going on. What's coming?
Well, we have the bowling alley, [which opens] this winter. We’re rocking along, rolling along with that. And then the theater is also being renovated for Office Depot’s new store in the future. That’ll be next year. … On Your Feet was the last one to come over [from the old Sanbusco Center]. They’re back there behind Starbucks and loving their new spot.
What's your top tip for people who go out and shop next weekend?
From a slightly selfish perspective, DeVargas would be a great place to start because we don’t have the Best Buys and the Targets of the world. It’s actually very calm here. Several of my stores do have activities or sales only for that weekend. So it’s a great way to grab a Starbucks and a bite to eat and have a low-key shopping experience as opposed to the frenzy.