Former Hoquiam Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff has been named the property and marketing manager for the Shoppes at Riverside.
She said she plans to continue with the vision of her predecessor, Erin Jeffreys, and the owners of the sprawling former SouthShore Mall — Coming Attractions Theatres — marketing the South Aberdeen space as a cost-friendly place to develop small businesses, offering community services and providing unique, locally-owned food options.
“The people I talk to at Coming Attractions, they genuinely value the community and want to help drive (the Shoppes at Riverside’s) success,” said Dickhoff.
Dickhoff, who ran for re-election this fall and was defeated by Ben Winkelman, said her own focus on her community, evident by her 12 years in Hoquiam city government, continues to drive her personally in her new position.
“No matter what I do I need that to be a factor for me,” she said.
She described the vision for the Shoppes at Riverside as a “small business incubator,” a place where people looking to provide their own businesses and services can find space at a reasonable price to start up. The mall already houses several community services, such as Parent to Parent and Grays Harbor Court Appointed Special Services and she’s already been in contact with other community service agencies about potential leases. She’s also talked to private businesses.
Dickhoff, Jeffreys – who is leaving to pursue her own business venture – and the people at Coming Attractions all want the Shoppes at Riverside to be a community space with a little something for everyone.
“People can get family services here, support local small businesses and get food and entertainment in a safe environment,” said Dickhoff.
The latest addition to the food options is the Game Day Sports Bar and Grill. Soon, Deen Dogs will be moving out of its current location on Park Street into the Shoppes at Riverside, next to the popular Taqueria San Jose, near the entrance to the movie theater.
Dickhoff plans to further promote the events that take place at the Shoppes, including the Grays Harbor Rock Your Health Fair, which enters its fifth year Jan. 25, and will feature some 60 exhibitors all keyed on health-related topics.
And new to the Shoppes this year is the annual Relay for Life of Grays Harbor. According to the relay’s Facebook page, there were numerous factors for moving the event to the Shoppes, including “more parking, lower overhead costs, centralized location, and weather will be a non-factor. Also we have moved the date back to mid summer, July 25 to be exact.”
No stranger to social media, Dickhoff will use it as a tool for promotion of the Shoppes at Riverside’s events, and also plans to meet with existing businesses to help them use social media more productively to promote their own shops.
Marketing can be a challenge, fighting the idea that the Shoppes at Riverside is just another dying mall, one of many across the country. The Shoppes are actually 83% rented, Dickhoff said, and she is working with small business and community services providers to continue the upward trend in leases. She’s also working with existing tenants on things like more standard business owners for individual shops, and the potential to modernize the facility’s interior appearance.
A popular question for Dickhoff is, what’s going to happen with the space previously occupied by Sears? She said the Sears Corporation actually owns that part of the complex and she is not yet sure what the company’s plans are for the space.