Sierra Vista Mall managers hope big changes will draw in younger crowds

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Malls around the country, and here in the Valley, are evolving to keep younger generations of shoppers in their doors.

Construction crews are tearing down what used to be the old Gottschalks and are making way for a new and interactive event center called No Surrender Laser Tag at the Sierra Vista Mall.

"I kind of want to bring the gaming to life," owner Peter Chang said. "Plus, kids nowadays, they don't socialize. They talk on games. They don't meet each other."

Chang hopes his new concept will bring young people together and allow his business to thrive. He's relocating from northeast Fresno to Clovis and expanding his business to a new space that will allow him triple in size and bring in mallgoers.

Across the country, malls are trying to draw in millennials, those in their 20s and early 30s, like Jerrod Wood.

"My wife usually shops online, but I like to come and see things and look around," he said.

General manager Greg Newman says the Sierra Vista Mall started operations in 1988 and has evolved over time.

"The millennials, or the younger generation, are still a big part of our mall business," he said. "And they're a big part of what the buying power of tomorrow."

The mall is adding to that experience with go-kart racing at MB2. Also, the movie theater is changing. Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 will offer reclining seats - a unique viewing experience they say people are already taking advantage of.

As for Chang, he's already looking ahead to the youngest generation with an out-of-this-world jungle gym.

"So, it will be three stories high, there will be obstacle courses for little kids," he explained. "They can climb up, slide down."

Shoppers will be able to put on laser tag gear, experience virtual reality and more when No Surrender Laser Tag opens in summer of 2017 at the Sierra Vista Mall.
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