Fairfax, Va. — As various states begin to open back up, Peterson Companies, known throughout the Washington, D.C., region as one of the largest shopping/lifestyle center owners and managers, has developed a plan to safely welcome back its tenants and their customers, once permitted to do so. Elements of this plan will be implemented at several of its signature properties throughout the DMV including National Harbor, Downtown Silver Spring, Rio in Gaithersburg, Fairfax Corner and Fair Lakes.
To better understand changing consumer preferences, the company recently surveyed its customers and received more than 5,000 responses, which helped inform key elements of the plan. Customers are eager to dine out again at restaurants, although some are still hesitant about venturing out. Being able to go to places with outdoor spaces where social distancing and other safety measures are in place will help customers feel more comfortable.
“Peterson Cos. lifestyle centers are known for their unique outdoor spaces — plazas, seating areas, stages, fire pits, walking trails, carousels, gathering spaces and more,” says Paul Weinschenk, president of retail for Peterson Cos. “As a result, we are well suited to accommodate consumers’ desire for open spaces and social distancing.”
Given the open-air nature of the retail centers, many of the restaurants have been able to continue to operate with curbside pickup and carry-out. Many more merchants will join them as the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.
Some of the new operations that the shopping centers will implement include:
- Hand sanitizing stations located throughout centers, especially in high-traffic, high-touch areas such as elevator lobbies, breezeways, restrooms, outdoor plazas and gathering areas.
- Social distancing signage will remind customers and employees to stay 6 feet apart.
- Curbside pickup areas, already identified, will remain throughout the properties and will be identified clearly.
- Peterson Cos. employees and third-party contractors will wear face coverings and gloves whenever they are on property and all employees will be asked to personally monitor their health and temperature daily.
- Temporary storage for excess furniture and fixtures will be provided to merchants, where available, so that they space out inventory in their stores and provide space so that customers, and employees, can practice safe distancing.
- Security teams will be on hand at each property and will be trained to monitor safe distancing, codes of conduct, etc.
- Cleaning will be more intensive and focused on high touch areas including elevators, restrooms, tables, chairs and benches.
- All outdoor common seating will be spread out, wherever possible.
- If necessary, temporary street closures may be used to accommodate queuing and crowds.
Websites and social media for each center will be updated regularly to include merchant information on hours, availability of online ordering and curbside pickup/carry-out.
For those customers who remain concerned about venturing out, the centers have launched virtual programming (Little Tots, Wine Tastings, Fitness Classes, etc.) and will continue these for the foreseeable future.
Peterson Companies has also developed a robust marketing plan to help support their tenants as they ramp back up. This includes enhanced advertising with targeted digital ads, gift card giveaways, gifts with purchase and other promotions.
“The health and safety of our guests continues to be our primary concern and we’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations from local and state officials,” adds Weinschenk. “When our merchants and guests are ready to return, our centers will be ready for them.”
For more information, visit www.petersoncos.com.
SOURCE: Peterson Companies