“WestGate Mall was built in 1975, the year I was born, and I grew up here. So I have a fond spot in my heart for WestGate Mall,” says General Manager Spencer Dawkins. “This indoor play area was a major step for us.”
Located in the largely blue-collar town of Spartanburg, SC, WestGate Mall has been serving its community for nearly 40 years. But, according to Dawkins, CBL & Associates sought to brand the mall more as a family destination.
“Families have been asking for a play area for a long time,” says Dawkins. “Retailers have definitely asked for it because they wanted to see more families at this mall.”
Once the decision was made to install an indoor play area, the company selected PLAYTIME as the designer, manufacturer and installer. Then, the next question was: what should be the theme?
After considering many ideas, the mall decided to honor the community it has served for so long by creating replicas of the area’s most recognizable landmarks.
“A replica of the Daniel Morgan Square Clock Tower represents a centralized location in our downtown landscape,” explains Dawkins. “A train and airplane play elements, stand as a reminders of Spartanburg’s old nickname, ‘the Hub City,’ referring to the many transportation routes that connected Spartanburg with cities throughout the region.”
Additionally, woven into the carpet, the water streams, gardens and greenery remind visitors of what a welcoming oasis the area was for early European settlers. The peach represents a peach-shaped water tower in one of the neighboring counties, and is a recognizable landmark on I-85, which connects Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties.
“We have a lot of hometown pride,” says Dawkins. “This play area gives us an opportunity to brand ourselves as more family friendly. One day, these children will grow up and talk about how they used to go play at WestGate Mall. That’s pretty special.”
Dawkins adds, “It was great to work with PLAYTIME. They were on the ball from beginning to end. They’ve just been wonderful to work with and we appreciate everything they’ve done for us. Sometimes, you can have a vision of what you want but you can’t explain it; PLAYTIME can take what you’re thinking and make it reality. That is special.”