There's a new addition to the management team at Crossroads Mall. Melissa Verschoor, who spent seven years in a variety of roles the local Sears store, was named marketing director in October.
Crossroads Mall has been a shopping mecca for a large segment of north central Iowa for more than four decades. It has been owned since 1999 by J. Herzog & Sons Inc., which is headquartered in Denver, Colo. For 32 years, Larry Jessen has been the general manager of this home to many of the region's most popular stores.
Jessen said Verschoor brings impressive talents to her new position and will help Crossroads Mall remain successful in the years ahead. She is charged with promoting the mall and the 46 businesses that are currently tenants.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Melissa Verschoor, the new marketing director at the Crossroads Mall, stops to chat with Nathan Dencklau, manager of the Riddle’s Jewelry store.
"She takes care of and handles all the marketing events that happen at Crossroads Mall," Jessen said. "All of the advertising. ... All of the vendor lists for activities. ... Melissa brings a great, tremendous organizational background. She is just super at this kind of stuff. She has great ideas and now she is implementing these ideas. She is a great asset."
During the course of the year, Crossroads Mall hosts a large number of special events. Making sure that those activities appeal to the public and help the mall's merchants thrive are a major part of Verschoor's agenda.
"For the special events, the key is finding things that a family can do together that isn't just for the adults or just for the kids," Verschoor said. "We want to keep it something that is going to interest everybody. Something that is not only going to draw them out to the mall but draw them into the stores too."
As 2014 unfolds, the events calendar is already being filled.
"So far this year I've got over 20 for 2014 that I've already got set and there are still more to come," Verschoor said, noting that the mix includes familiar activities and some that are departures from the past.
"We're trying to bring in some new ideas," she said.
Verschoor said the goal is to have at least one special event or activity each month, but it already is apparent there will be far more than that in 2014.
Building interest in Crossroads Mall and its merchants is at the heart of Verschoor's game plan.
"I want to draw interest back to the mall and create a positive image," she said. "We've been working with the community on quite a few events. My biggest thing, though, is getting people back into the stores that maybe they haven't checked out recently and seeing that there are things in there that they may not realize are in there."
Verschoor said the only way customers can appreciate what the mall's stores and shops have to offer is to pay them frequent visits.
"A lot of the stores are picking up on new items or even branching out," she said. "If it's been a while, it's time to come out and take another look."
Verschoor said Crossroads Mall is a special place that reflects the nature of the community where it is located.
"We have some of the big names that the big cities have, but we also have that small-town feel," she said. "By doing that we can keep the local flavor."
Meet Melissa Verschoor
Verschoor spent her early years in Austin, Minn., but her family moved to Fort Dodge while she was a teenager. She graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1999 and continued her education at Iowa Central Community College. She entered the retail world in 2006 when she joined the sales team at the Sears store at Crossroads Mall.
Verschoor is enthused about her new job.
"I like working with the people, whether it be the tenants or the community," she said. "I'm finding it to be quite the adventure. That's for sure. I like a challenge and this has definitely given me one."
About Crossroads Mall
Crossroads Mall is open for business Sundays noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The mall has 418,089 square feet of leasable space. Jessen said it is approximately 91 percent leased and has been for most of the last year and a half.
There are approximately 2,500 parking spaces.
Jessen said the mall has a proud history and aims to build on that success story in the days ahead.
"The Crossroads Mall is and always has been good a shopping area for Fort Dodge and our primary and secondary markets," he said. "We want people to come out and have a good time when they shop. We like to present a good family environment for everything and we do our best keep it that way. We want to be the place that customers think about when they want to go shopping."