Mall officials call Saturday parade a major success

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Monday, community leaders and mall managers called the Saturday re-opening of the Hickory Ridge Mall a major success.

"We knew that we would see tens of thousands of people," said Jimmie Haley, director of economic development at the Hickory Ridge Mall.

In a celebration of rebirth, people of all ages lined the streets Saturday morning for the Hickory Hill Community Parade. The parade kicked off the re-opening of the mall, after its structure was severely damaged by a tornado in 2008.

"We're very pleased with how the parade itself went," Haley said. "It drew a lot of interest back into the area, we think."

Saturday morning, crowds packed the parade route, watching the floats go by as local dignitaries, school bands and business owners waived.  Inside the mall, officials believe roughly 15,000 people toured the facility to catch a quick glimpse of what it has to offer.

Haley said support from the community will play a big role in the mall's success.

"We want the families to be able to come to this mall and feel ownership, and feel this mall is here to meet all needs," he said.

Mall management expects to eventually have at least 50 tenants.  Right now 25 stores have committed to doing business there.

"The response from opening the mall has been huge," said Patrick Jacobs, general manager of the mall. "We have to take our time, take a look at the planning, and put together good plans for successful businesses."

World Overcomers Church bought the mall after the tornado to help restore and revitalize the community. Management hopes to have the space inside the mall fully occupied within a year.

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