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Mall credits community for success

August 5, 2016 2:27 P.M.
Kamloops Princess Emily Hogeveen and Miss Kamloops Olivia Verity-Kryger together with Lisa Russell, Miss Kamloops 1981, at Aberdeen Mall Friday.

Hundreds lined up Friday for gift bags and pancakes, helping to celebrate Aberdeen Mall’s 35th anniversary.

It’s not every shopping mall that can attract such a turnout at 9 a.m. on a summer morning, but Aberdeen Mall changed the retail landscape in 1981 and continues to play a lead role as the largest mall in the city.

“We are thrilled that so many people wanted to celebrate this event with us,” said general manger Sandra Desrosiers.

More lined up in the afternoon for a cupcake at Centre Court.

“We’ve been really fortunate in that the community has always supported us,” Desrosiers added. “It’s the local community that’s made us so successful for 35 years. This is just a thank you.”

Though many in the crowd were probably too young to remember 1981, there were a few memories shared.

Lisa Russell was a teenager at the time, recently crowned Miss Kamloops. Attending the mall’s opening was her first official duty.

“I was here for the opening fashion show,” recalled Russell, now a Sun Rivers realtor and vice-president of the Kamloops Ambassador Society. “It was exciting for the city. It was a pretty big deal for Kamloops.”

Russell even remembered one of the outfits she wore in the show that day — a rabbit fur coat.

“You wouldn’t be walking around in that today.”

With 85-90 tenants and only a couple of vacancies, the mall still tops the list when retailers look to locating their businesses in Kamloops, Desrosiers said. About 500 people are employed at the mall, climbing to as many as 1,000 during the Christmas season.

Convenient parking and transit help the mall’s business, but it’s more than that, she added.

“I have to give credit to the entire team. I think, in any organization, it’s the people who make the difference, who make the success.”

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