Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apparently It Didn't Pay For Discover

Discover Mills in Lawrenceville will be changing its name to Sugarloaf Mills come next month.  The mall, which opened in late 2001, was orignally conceived as Sugarloaf Mills (named for nearby
Sugarloaf Parkway) in 1998.  Before opening, Discover Card signed a ten year sponsorship of the mall giving them naming rights.

I was lucky enough to attend the VIP Discover Cardholder pre opening "Circus Soiree" the day before the official opening in 2001.  The oddest thing at that time, and I'm sure over the past ten years, was that not all merchants in the mall accepted Discover Card!  Even as young as I was back then, this made no sense to me.  I'd say about 15% of the opening day stores did not accept Discover as payment.  The one amenity of posessing a Discover Card was that years ago you could go to what was then the guest relations desk and present your Discover Card and receive free bottled water. This amenity was eliminated a few years ago, and the guest relations area and surrounding couches and video screens have been in disrepair for a similar time.

To my knowledge, this was the only Mills property and possibly the only mall or shopping center in U.S. history to have ever sold its naming rights to a corporation.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola sponsored one of the "neighborhoods" within the mall, but it too pulled its sponsorship over a year ago, although its popular giant size polar bear remains onsite, albeit unbranded.

The Mills Corporation  is the developer of the mall and over two dozen other "Mills" properties around the country.  Some of the more well known properties are Sawgrass Mills in south Florida and Potomac Mills, outside Washington, D.C..  The Mills Corporation was purchased by Simon Property Group in 2007, and today operates as a subsidiary under the Simon umbrella.

Today the property, built as an outlet mall, is more a hybrid center with a pretty even mix of outlet and full price or service retailers.  The center added an 18 screen AMC Theaters, Medieval Times and saw Dave & Busters convert an existing Jillian's in the years since the mall opened.

For me, the main draws to the center remain the Neiman-Marcus last call outlet as well as Saks Off Fifth.  Recent additions such as Forever 21 (full price/women only) and an upcoming Old Navy Outlet don't excite me personally, but will bring new shoppers to the center.

What are your thoughts on Discover Sugarloaf Mills?  Do you like the mix of retailers?  Is Medieval Times worth the cost of admission?  Chime in and share your thoughts below.

4 comments:

TheJohnP said...

I have a feeling people are going to continue to call it Discover Mills for years.

And for me, the only draw is the Lego store. But I'll go to Discover/Sugarloaf Mills all day long opposed to having to go to Gwinnett Place or drive all the way up to Mall of GA.

Anonymous said...

Those folks at Lego really seem to like their jobs.

Anonymous said...

It's kinda funny but, most people have been calling it Discovery Mills for years!

Atlantan99 said...

@ Anon, RE Discovery Mills,

So true! Def heard it called that many a times!