Mall Foot Traffic Tested by Halt on Holiday Cheer

Some Mason City, Iowa, shopping mall tenants could lose out on an influx of holiday customers that come to see seasonal performances there. A dance group and other entertainers have reconsidered performing at the Southbridge Mall due to policy changes.

The dancers didn’t perform at the mall last year, either. That’s because after the mall was placed in receivership due to debt, organizations performing or doing other activities at the mall were required to have their own insurance.

The mall is now out of receivership and has a new owner. But not only is the insurance requirement still intact, but groups using the mall are now being charged $50 to offset the cost of set-up and tear-down—a cost that hadn’t been assessed in past years. Temporary insurance rates for occasional performances can cost up to $500. The dance group has chosen another local center as its venue.

Real estate experts said that the mall and others like it that require entertainers to have insurance lose potential business by charging groups to perform there. Shoppers, and especially parents and relatives of the performers, come into the mall for shows and stay to shop and dine.

The mall’s manager said any organization that does anything at the mall, including craft shows and musical performances, must have their own insurance to protect the mall from liability. He said some businesses and organizations already have that insurance, but he encourages those that don’t have the insurance and are under tight budgets to shop around to get the best rate possible.

Several musical groups that have been able to follow the mall’s insurance requirement policy have agreed to perform at the mall this holiday season. One group said that insurance is not an issue for it because it’s affiliated with an international organization that provides umbrella insurance. But those groups that can’t meet requirements are reevaluating their options for holiday season performance. 



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