White Oaks Mall’s first storefront opened in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. It has been just over a year since it was closed.
The mallMany of the small-business-owned stores in’s use technology and shopping trends as a way to bring back customers to their brick-and-mortar locations.
“Physical retail is always going to be in demand,” Lori Kiel, White Oaks Mall’s marketing director, said. “I know a lot of people shop online or do a combination of both, but there are certain items that you want that experience with. … I think that there’s always going to be a need for that and to come into a store and physically touch, feel, try and then buy it when you’re here.”
These three small businesses all have physical locations within the mall, use technology to get customers to come to their stores.
Daily Stealz & Furniture
Kiel stated that Daily Stealz & Furniture embodies her vision of a “great place to live” “shopping experience.”The operation now has two stores at the mall there are many items on sale at, which have a fluctuating price but aren’t guaranteed to remain in stock.
Daily Stealz begins each week on Friday. The store receives boxes and boxes of new inventory, and each item starts at $9. Every day thereafter, $2 is taken off the price tag. On Tuesday and Wednesday, every item in the store’s bins will be priced at $2 and 1 respectively.
Thursday features what Daily Stealz’s Omar Abdel calls “higher end”Items up to 50% off the price of what they cost online Abdel explained that his business often broadcasts live on Facebook during those mornings to promote the products.
“If you look at our website online on dailystealzfurniture.com, you’ll actually go ahead and find that we have five times the amount that we have actually displayed here. And we have all that in stock,” said Abdel, who added that his business is working on developing capabilities for customers to buy products online.
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Abdel said that in-person shopping is the best experience. “curated for the customer”Daily Stealz, because the prices can change daily. He’ll also barter and offer discounts for furniture purchased in bulk.
One location offers discounted shopping bins, priced according to the day, and furniture, while Abdel’s second location only has furniture.
After opening a business at 223 S. Sixth St. in October 2018, Corrine’s Closet owner Corrine Campbell opened another resale store inside the mall filled with purses, home décor and unique clothing items for men and women.
Her items include decorations she picked up in Africa, resale pieces from vendors, and clothes that are suitable for boutique-style buyers. She posts pictures of her new store and her clothes on Instagram.
“I’m really happy to be here. I (feel) like I’m home. What’s funny about it, my first job in the U.S. was Gap,” Campbell said. Campbell says the GapKids used to be the storefront she works at.
Kiel said White Oaks Mall continues to bring jobs to the community despite the pandemic. It is a popular spot for commuters between Chicago (and St. Louis) and central Illinois. She said that malls are often the first place people go to for their first job.
“The mall, it’s much more than just like a retail space. It’s a place where people have their first job … we’re responsible for a lot of jobs in the community,” Kiel said. “We pay taxes here and that supports a lot of funding for first responders and educators. So, I feel like that’s becoming important to people (when) they shop.”
Campbell stated that her location was at the mall she opened a new location on Sixth Street in August. It is four times larger than her original location. She also offers free pickup in-store of her extensive online catalog https://corrinescloset.com/.
Bubbli is Better
Randi Pecka opened Better With Bubbli Boutique in White Oaks Mall with Justin, her husband. This was around the time that it reopened in August 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I actually opened online first. And then we did some pop-ups over the holiday and we did pretty good at the pop-ups and then I somehow convinced my husband that a store is a good idea,” Pecka said, jokingly. “(It) took some arm twisting but now he definitely agrees that the store was a good idea.”
Pecka, who runs a visually appealing boutique said Instagram is huge for promoting her wares. However, she still relies upon foot traffic to attract new customers.
“I’ve been kind of tracking it recently just to see my marketing skills are because Instagram is really big for us,”Pecka said. “So just finding out how many girls have heard of us through Instagram versus just kind of walking through, that’s been good.”
Pecka regularly promotes her new items on her Better with Bubbli Instagram account. This account has more than 2,000 subscribers. She also hosted a back to school party. fashion show at the mallAugust
Her catalog is featured online at https://betterwithbubbli.com/. Like Corrine’s Closet, shipping is free on orders of $75 or more.