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Mall’s new owners want to make venue an exciting place for events and activities

Victoria, British Columbia-based Pioneer Thinking Capital Corporation (PTCC) took over operations on Jan. 12 from Toronto-based real estate firm Salthill Capital, which owned the building for six years. 

The Town ‘n’ Country Mall’s new owners have high hopes for the venue’s future and want to make it a destination where the community can gather for events and activities. 

Victoria, British Columbia-based Pioneer Thinking Capital Corporation (PTCC) took over operations on Jan. 12 from Toronto-based real estate firm Salthill Capital, which owned the building for six years. 

The B.C. company — also known as Pioneer Thinking Consulting Corporation — focuses on marketing, business management and shopping centre management services, with the latter category including event, project and shopping centre property management. Besides the Town ‘n’ Country Mall, it also owns Victoria Square in Regina and the Swift Current Shopping Centre. 

Moose Jaw’s mall is a “huge piece of real estate,” and with real estate always for sale to the right owner, PTCC submitted an offer and Salthill Capital accepted it, said Jennilee Novak, PTCC’s assistant property manager. 

Novak worked for the Toronto-based company in office management for five years — her office is in the mall — while she worked in retail management for 20 years before that. 

One reason PTCC pursued the Town ‘n’ Country building is it wanted to add another mall to its portfolio and liked the look of Moose Jaw’s venue, she said. 

Furthermore, while it is a commercial- and retail-based organization, its philosophy is to become a part of — and give back to — the communities in which it operates, Novak continued. Hence, it saw an opportunity here to be a go-to place for residents and offer space for groups, retailers and events.

In a letter to mall tenants, PTCC said it wanted to “create space where sales soar and customers’ smiles are plentiful.” Moreover, the public should expect “exciting events and marketing activities at Town ‘n’ Country in the near future” because PTCC “can’t wait to shake things up.”

The company has “really upped their game” at the Victoria Square Mall by offering family-friendly and community-oriented spaces, which has begun driving traffic there, said Novak. She believes that will occur in Moose Jaw, especially with events happening more frequently. 

Novak said she wanted to see the mall regain its importance in the community, which she believes can occur since PTCC wants to fill the building. Two new tenants will open soon, while she has been receiving regular inquiries from groups and businesses about available space — an exciting development for her.

“It’s a great space for this city, not only to gather (and) to shop (but) to host an event (and) to become part of an event,” she said. “We have lots of community groups and non-profit groups that operate out of here.”

For example, Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Saskatchewan — a free interactive telephone program for people over age 55 anywhere in the province — has opened a spot and is looking for volunteers and office staff. 

Furthermore, the “possibilities are endless” for community groups to use the mall, if even just for the weekend, she continued. Some clubs currently using space include the Girl Guides, an archery club, a model railroad group and cat-focused SCRAPS. 

“I hope to see this mall grow, not only in retail, but services as well, and one day become a one-stop shop again for everyone in this city … ,” said Novak. 

Another positive she sees with the mall is it brings together many businesses under one roof, so residents can shop comfortably in one spot and not have to wander from building to building when it’s minus 50 Celsius. 

While online commerce has hammered brick-and-mortar stores over the past decade, Novak fully believes malls will make a comeback so customers can shop and acquire services. She pointed out that not everyone enjoys shopping online, while some want to see their friends and neighbours. 

Her time in retail management showed that in-person service has value and customers appreciate receiving attention. Moreover, she knows there’s nothing like touching, holding and trying on clothing or looking at an item in the flesh.

“You can’t get that from online shopping. It’s not personable,” added Novak. “You can’t make a connection with people unless you come here. And what better place to go when there’s more than one store and more than one thing to do.”

Any group interested in acquiring space at the mall can contact Jennilee Novak at 306-693-3419

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