By E.I. Hillin
Phoenix Staff Writer
Wagoner native Frank Cooper remembers what the mall in Muskogee was like when he was a young boy.
“I came to this mall often as a child growing up,” Cooper said. “I’ve seen it in it’s heyday, and fortunately, it’s not dead now. It just needs a few new things.”
Those new things include new stores and upgrades throughout the facility.
Inside the mall, 62 spots are filled, including kiosks. However, there are available spaces. A walk through the mall will reveal there are around 20 open spaces waiting to be filled.
“We have a dedicated team of leasing agents in a corporate office that focus solely on this property, and they’re working to bring tenants that strategically fit our mix,” Cooper said.
Arrowhead Mall is owned and managed by J. Herzog & Sons Inc. Almost 500 people work at the mall, Cooper said.
Being the general manager of Arrowhead Mall has been an interesting adventure for Cooper, he said.
He started the job in the summer of 2012.
“It’s kind of like our logo, ‘explore, experience, and enjoy,’” Cooper said.
In 2013, $500,000 was spent in upgrades for the mall in the form of new carpeting, aquarium renovation, a new guest services station, seasonal decor, and exterior painting.
Another update for the mall is its heating and cooling system. The climate control offers guests a comfortable mall experience.
“Things you cannot see, but you can feel,” Cooper said.
Other upgrades can be expected in 2014.
“We are working on a complete re-design for the kids’ zone,” Cooper said.
There will be soft seating and free Wi-Fi throughout the mall.
Local residents can find national, regional, as well as local retailers inside Arrowhead Mall.
“Big guys own it, but there’s local people that operate it,” Cooper said. a
Local residents run retailers RockItz, Cozy Cup Cafe, and Dynasty Express, as well other stores.
Justice, a store that features “tween” girls’ clothing, recently opened. If Justice does well, they will most likely bring their store, Brothers, the boys version of the retailer, to the mall, Cooper said.
A shopping experience is not the only role the mall plays for the area.
A number of community events are hosted at the mall including the Magic Holiday Giveaway, the Carnival Mall-O-Ween, and Success Expo.
“The mall is very important to this community,” Cooper said.
Each quarter, all the coins thrown in the fountain are donated to local not-for-profit organizations.
Being a part of Muskogee’s revitalizing process is something Cooper said he is humbled by.
“I am so thankful that the community and city administration and other organizations within the community have accepted me with open arms and been willing to help me in any way they possibly could to help us achieve our goals.”
Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.