Monday, March 16, 2009

GardenWalk Party Thursday night


I have a special invitation for anyone reading this:

On Thursday, March 19, at the Anaheim Resort GardenWalk, SOAR is hosting a getting-to-know-you event from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. We are offering FREE food and beverage, provided by GardenWalk restaurants. We also have FREE entry to the GardenWalk movie theatre! What’s in it for us? We want the chance to tell you how important it is to support the Anaheim Resort, as Anaheim’s primary source of tax revenue. And if you agree that saving Anaheim’s critical services, like Fire, Police, Parks, Libraries, is important, then we would like the chance to sign you up for a FREE Soar membership. No fees, no funny hats, and your information will never be sold. We just want to be able to contact you in the future, with invitations to more exciting events in the Resort. Such a deal! We also want to be sure that you know about the GardenWalk, and see for yourself that locals are very, very welcome there!

For many years, we have lamented the lack of quality entertainment, retail shops, and restaurants in the flatlands of our beloved Anaheim. When we begged merchants for upscale offerings, the standard answer has been, "Anaheim's demographics do not support this type of development." And we took our bent little noses off to other cities for our shopping, and dreamt of a day when a simple Ann Taylor sweater might be had in Anaheim, and not just the leftovers being cleared out at the Anaheim Plaza Clearance Center, but in a real store, with real sales staff. (and real dressing rooms)

Not long ago, a visionary man brought these things to us, right here in the Anaheim Resort. Bill Stone stuck his neck (and a large fortune) out to build GardenWalk, offering Anaheim residents all of those merchants we begged for. And yet, Anaheim's response has been, well, lackluster at best.

So what is holding us back from enjoying all that the GardenWalk has to offer? I think it is largely perception, and I know I had my own preconceived notions of what GardenWalk is and isn’t. I had anticipated a tourist trap, where one might find the usual t-shirts and postcards, upcharged to grab dollars from visitors as a captive audience. But I have delighted in the stores, such as Ann Taylor, Giorgios Studio, White House/Black Market, etc. that would be found in any quality shopping mall. I have found genuine values there, as I recently updated my tired wardrobe, with pieces I could not have found elsewhere in Anaheim, at very competitive prices.

My fear is that misperception will keep us from patronizing the center that Bill Stone so bravely built, trusting that Anaheim could support such a quality environment. And if GardenWalk does not hold its own through this economic challenge, merchants will never give us this chance again, and we as a community will be condemned to a lifetime of Chuck E Cheese's, and TJ Maxx. My challenge is to each and every resident of Anaheim who has ever longed for a "real" shopping center right here in town. Come on out and give GardenWalk a try.

So please pass this along, and bring your friends and family to see us on Thursday evening. You do not need to live in Anahiem, just care about Anaheim! Our hosts are prepared to entertain hundreds of people, there is no such thing as too many guests for this event! I would love to see this party packed that evening. We need to send a message that the people of Anaheim want to thank Bill Stone and these quality retailers for taking a chance on Anaheim. Any of us who have tried to get Trader Joe's here know how hard it is to talk merchants into investing in Anaheim. Let's tell these folks that their investment has been well placed, that Anaheim CAN and WILL support quality merchants. It is time for us to step up and tell the world that Anaheim’s demographics DO support something more than a discount center. I hope to see you all there on March 19.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

What a friendly gesture! I'm going to tell everyone at work.