Vancouver Mall is seeing growing interest from new businesses as COVID-19 restrictions lift and people resume pre-pandemic life.
Despite the pandemic, the mall has seen positive growth, said Tracy Peters, general manager of Vancouver Mall.
Although some stores closed due to bankruptcy, such as Sears and Loft, a far larger number opened, including Hobby Lobby, Round1, Chick-fil-A, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Stuntin’ Selfie Studios.
The newest addition, Stuntin’ Selfie Studios, is run by a Vancouver family and graduates from Skyview High School.
Mik Anthony, the youngest of the family at 19 years old, said the idea came from TikTok, a video-sharing social networking app.
“We all were just sitting in our living room one day, and our parents were talking about investing, and then the idea came on starting a selfie studio business from TikTok videos — since there’s not a lot to do in Vancouver,” Anthony said.
The business took about 2½ months to set up, with help from family and friends. Anthony said the response has been great so far.
The photo studio has over two dozen selfie sets, ranging from colorful and vibrant to relaxed backdrops, for customers to use.
“We look at how many people are taking photos in each set, and if a set is being ignored, then we change it. But most of our inspiration comes from Pinterest and looking through Instagram, and then we put our own flair on it,” Anthony said.
Peters said the mall is “above double digits over our 2019 traffic figures,” and credits the success to the new mall tenants.
In addition to big businesses, the mall has seen small pop-up shops. Peters said this model is popular and can take as few as 30 days to set up and open.
“We were already seeing a large return of customers wanting to get out, and now we’ll continue to see that as there’s less waiting in stores since their occupancy is greater,” Peters said.
Washington officially reopened June 30, allowing all businesses previously restricted under the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan to resume operations at pre-pandemic levels.