Retail, dining destination uses outside setup to its advantage amid pandemic
Hyde Park Village in Tampa has promoted outdoor shopping and dining experiences lately.
| 2:30 p.m. August 26, 2020
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Commercial Real Estate
During the pandemic, more people have been taking advantage of curbside pickup options from national chains and local businesses. Seeing that, Hyde Park Village in Tampa is adapting to the trend by creating Pick Up Quick zones across the property.
Hyde Park Village General Manager Nicole Dee says launching about 20 zones will help support and streamline curbside operations. “Our goal is to give consumers clear direction on where they can go to partake in curbside offerings,” she says.
The outdoor shopping and dining destination is made up of six city blocks and 54 tenants. Compared to indoor shopping malls, it has an advantage and is well equipped to remain open, says Dee. “The fact that we’re an open-air format really allows businesses to expand their capacity beyond their four walls for al fresco dining, outdoor fitness and outdoor shopping,” she says.
Hyde Park Village participated in a recent City of Tampa initiative called Lift Up Local that gave people the chance to eat at the Village’s restaurants outside. Now, a light version of the campaign promotes sidewalk dining.
On the retailer side, Hyde Park Village started an outdoor shopping experience that allows tenants to take their products outside to sell. It enjoyed a good turnout during the tax-free weekend, so Dee says it’s something they plan to do again over Labor Day weekend. “It just allows people to experience outdoor shopping, and then, of course, if they want to go inside, they can,” she says. “We’re trying to do passive programming where we want to encourage people to come out in a safe manner.”
Hyde Park Village has also elevated sanitation practices, added signage about social distancing and made masks available for customers. It recently added touchless hand sanitizing stations throughout the property as well. The efforts aim to make sure customers feel comfortable when they arrive, says Dee.
One key to the destination’s marketing strategy during the pandemic has been to keep its website is up to date with key information, from store hours to mask availability. Hyde Park Village also experiences a high level of engagement with its Instagram followers, so it’s been crucial to make sure social media is relatable, has fresh content and informs the public.
The Village is reimagining and reevaluating event programming, too. Hyde Park Village usually has a fresh market, but it’s shifted to a by-appointment essentials market with a smaller footprint. “We’re just basically adapting and pivoting,” she says. “We want to be able to offer what we used to offer but in a conscientious way.”
Despite all of the challenges, Hyde Park Village hasn’t lost any tenants due to COVID-19. Instead, two businesses have opened, one more is coming soon and a fourth is expanding.
Like most retail and dining establishments, businesses at Hyde Park Village have had to contend with decreased traffic during the pandemic, but there are signs of hope — and better days ahead. Customer activity is on an upward trajectory since the initial months of the coronavirus, says Dee. “We are encouraged that we are seeing people on property doing their fitness exercises, shopping around and eating outside,” she says. “They’re utilizing the services that an open-air center offers.”