By Mark Ackerman
DENVER (CBS4)– A store owner at the Cherry Creek Mall has offered to pay for parking for any shopper who walks into his store, even if they don’t buy anything.
Mike Murphy owns the Steve Madden shoe store at the Cherry Creek Mall and said the mall’s new paid parking system has “drastically” cut into his business. He said at his Cherry Creek store sales are down 20 percent.
Taubman, the mall’s parent company, does not disclose sales by individual shopping center.
The mall instituted a paid parking system Jan. 17. Parking is free for the first hour but increases to $3 in the second and third hours. Murphy said shoppers know they only get one hour free so they want to rush out the door.
“I’m offering to pay for their second hour,” Murphy told CBS4 that he will pay for parking for the entire month of March. “No need to buy anything at all, just come in to say ‘Hi’ and ‘ask us to take care of it’ and we will.”
Instead, Murphy said his shoppers feel hassled, “making you feel rushed or unwelcome in the center because you are forced to pay to park does the opposite of that.”
Steve Madden and the AMC Cherry Creek 8 Theater are the only merchants inside the mall proper that currently validate. Free-standing stores on mall property that validate are Bed Bath and Beyond and the Boulder Running Company. Elway’s and Brio restaurants validate as well.
The Cherry Creek Shopping Center released the following statement: “We implemented Smart Parking on January 17 because of the growing neighborhood and the need to protect and make easy parking for our customers. We are confident that the benefits of the new system will outweigh any short-term disruption and this will become evident to our valued tenants and customers.”