Photo taken by RichardBH courtesy of Flickr
The snow has yet to hit the ground but malls across the greater Toronto area are already gearing up for the oncoming holiday season.
Holiday installations, the eye catching sale signs and yes, the anxious feeling some of you may get when in crowded spaces are all on the way. For malls, the holiday season is the biggest earner where they maximize revenue and also when they get the most visitors.
“The Eaton Centre started planning for the season January 1, 2013. It’s never not on the radar. This is something we work on all year long,” says Meredith Vlitas, 39, the senior marketing director for the Eaton Centre.
According to Vlitas, the centre takes holiday season preparation so seriously because it is the most important time of the year for the mall. The mall goes through a long list of changes including its famous Christmas installation. Installation of the holiday décor began last night, and Vlitas says “it will take six days to do the whole thing because we have six reindeers this year and it takes one full night to install each reindeer.”
The holiday décor installations may be the biggest physical changes shoppers see around this time but behind the scenes a lot more is involved in preparing for the season. The small but important things such as power requirements, public security teams, partnerships with other companies and contributors all have to checked off the list of things to do.
This year the mall extended its hours early in August to stay ahead of the competition Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale and Square One malls.
In addition, the Eaton Centre has partnered with the Remix Project as a part of their philanthropic effort. The Remix Project helps disadvantaged youth versed in the arts to recognize their full potential by helping them achieve formal training and putting the young adults in real life work situations. This year 60 kids with talents ranging from photography to music will work with the Toronto Eaton Center. Some of the mall’s professional team will be replaced by these young adults for the holiday season.
Assistant manager of Mendocino Yorkdale Sandra Spatnollo, 24, says “we start the season as early as September and hire five to six seasonal staff members. Christmas is a time when we try to take advantage of the already heavy traffic in the mall.”
So whether you like it or not, with or without the snow the holiday season has already began and malls like the Toronto Eaton Center are more than ready for it.