Crossroads Mall had another strong year, with many stores providing goods and services and the mall itself hosting many events.
"All kinds of things went on in 2012," Larry Jessen, general manager, said. "We have 45 stores in the mall, and we obviously continue to look for new opportunities."
In 2011, Crossroads had 90 percent occupancy. In 2012, that number only increased.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Carroll Lang, left, and his wife Judy are among the many walkers who exercise everyday at the Crossroads Mall in Fort Dodge. They said they usually do three trips all the way around.
"Our occupancy is about 92 percent, which is pretty good for Midwestern or malls throughout the United States," Jessen said. "We want to continue with that."
Despite its growth, there was change with some stores noticeably leaving.
"There's going to be change. There's always change," Jessen said. "There are tenants for some odd reason just had to close and we'll try to come back with another tenant to fill that space. We've been very fortunate to do that over the past few years, we look forward to doing that in 2013 as well."
Jessen said Crossroads Mall anticipates still the arrival of two new national stores.
"They're still in the works," he said. "Some of the things, it just takes time to get these things put together. We still have two major tenants that had expressed interest. They're moving along. They're in the final stages of the lease negotiation. We fully expect them to happen, but obviously we have to wait until it does."
The negotiations should conclude in 2013, Jessen said.
"I like to think so," he said. "I would have liked to think they would have happened in 2012, but I'm optimistic that will happen."
Other deals for new tenants are being made in the meantime, Jessen said.
"We're very close with a deal on the old Roadhouse Bar & Grill for another restaurant opportunity," he said. "We have some other things that will happen. We added Bold & Beautiful as a new tenant last year. Stone Creek turned out to be a really nice addition for the mall. Obviously, there's some temporary movement that happens on and off throughout the year."
He added, "In every deal, it just takes time to put all these things together."
In 2012, Crossroads Mall received an exemption from the Fort Dodge City Council for its signage, an important step in attracting new tenants.
"This has to do with the two national tenants that are coming in," Jessen said. "The sign ordinance is a very complicated issue. We were restricted on the exterior signage and we had to have that cleared somewhat so we could add two additional tenants. We've got that taken care of. That part of the lease function has been taken care of. We're just waiting for the final pages."
Throughout 2012, Crossroads Mall hosted events for many organizations, including nonprofits.
"Clarice Thompson from Clarice's Fashions has stepped up and helped out on a couple of different marketing opportunities," Jessen said. "King Author's book signing was a very good event, educational, in cooperation through the school system, that kind of thing. We had a wine tasting event that I think went over real well."
He added, "I look forward to bigger and better things this year."
These events were new to Crossroads Mall, Jessen said.
"A lot of times when you do an event you're just not sure how it's going to go over, how it's going to be received by the general public. Things have gone over very well," he said. "We've learned some things we would do a little bit different, and it all has to do with a combination of marketing and doing some extra things with that event to make them more appealing to the general public."
More than anything, Crossroads Mall remains a place where people can gather.
"We invite the general public to come out all the time," Jessen said. "We do have our contingent of mall walkers that are out here all the time. And you see a lot of familiar faces, friendly faces, from the surrounding communities. It's not uncommon to see people from Webster City, Algona, even Emmetsburg, they come shop at the mall on a regular basis."
Jessen said he enjoys the mall's role in the community.
"Our doors are always open," he said. "We have a community room here that we make available for events that maybe are a little too big for a person's home, if they need a little bit more of a bigger space, maybe not big enough for a banquet hall, but they can come out here. A group of about 30 to 45 people get together and have a good time, whether its baptisms or certificates of graduation, some kind of family event."
Crossroads Mall also remains an economic power in Fort Dodge.
"What we're trying to do is create that shopping experience for the upper midwestern area, if you will," Jessen said. "Fort Dodge is obviously the largest population area in about a 60-mile radius. And we try to present a good mix of tenants to please everybody."
Jessen is optimistic another good year awaits.
"Things are shaping up for it to be a good year," he said. "It just depends on how they go. I guess we look at things from a occupancy, tenant draw kind of thing."