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Changing shopping tastes and the changing demographics of Las Vegas have prompted a reinvention of the venerable Boulevard mall.
When Boulevard opened in 1968 it was the first enclosed shopping mall in Nevada, and then-Gov. Paul Laxalt was there to cut the ribbon.
Today the mall is coping with the pending closure of its Macy’s by bringing in entertainment attractions and stores designed to appeal to Hispanic customers and others in the many neighboring ethnic communities
The Hispanic Museum of Nevada and John’s Incredible Pizza Co., which offers an arcade experience along with its pies, were joined late last year by the SeaQuest Aquarium. Planned for later this year are a nine-screen luxury movie theater and a yet-to-be-named attraction with go-karts and bumper cars.
Mall General Manager Timo Kuusela said traditional mall anchors like clothing and department stores can’t compete with the selection and convenience of Internet shopping. Instead, mall management is counting on unique experiences to draw customers to the Maryland Parkway shopping center.
“We realized these entertainment users are totally bullish right now and they are expanding like crazy,” Kuusela said.
He said Boulevard mall will be a mall without the traditional anchors like department stores and clothing stores. Instead, it will be more of an entertainment destination.
One of those non-traditional anchors is the Hispanic Museum of Nevada. Lynnette Sawyer is the founder and executive director of the museum.
She said Boulevard mall was great fit from the beginning and she believes the management is taking the mall in the right direction.
“The move to a family entertainment destination is exciting and I think they’re going in the right direction,” she said.
Timo Kuusela, general manager, Boulevard mall; Lynette Sawyer, founder and executive director, Hispanic Museum of Nevada