I love a good atmosphere.
So much so that my husband and I often get into what I would call "lighting battles." I'll turn on every lamp in the house in an attempt to create a warm, cozy environment, then he'll come home and turn them all off in an effort to conserve electricity and instead flip on the harsh overhead lighting only when needed.
If we go out to eat at a restaurant, I base my decision just as much on the decor and ambiance as the quality of the food.
A nice atmosphere just helps create a better experience. It's plain and simple.
That's why I'm happy about the recent changes at the former Metropolis Lifestyle Center in Plainfield. The 600,000-square-foot outdoor shopping center, now called The Shops at Perry Crossing, just completed an $11.1 million makeover that appeals to all the senses.
The formerly cold, futuristic look has been replaced with a warmer, upscale environment with more gathering areas.
In the central plaza of the mall, which is now called the Town Square, there is a beautiful stone fountain and large gazebo with a fireplace and cushioned seating. Tables and chairs line the sidewalk. In the warmer months, children will be able to play on the new splash pad. Even the parking in that area has changed with more angled parking as the mall's new owners, Poag Shopping Centers, LLC, removed all of the previous parallel parking spots.
A new stone fireplace with more benches creates a second main gathering area in front of Dick's Sporting Goods. A third main gathering area can be found near the entrance of JCPenney, where a wooden bridge allows shoppers to cross over a new koi pond.
All throughout the mall, new signs, landscaping, lighting, and even a brand new sound system contribute to a more refined feel.
I was at the shopping center the other day and I noticed many people enjoying the changes. One family walked up to the fireplace in front of Dick's Sporting Goods and warmed their hands by the fire. Others gathered by the fountain or sat by the serene koi pond.
And these changes are just the beginning. The developers of the shopping center plan to make it dog friendly and will be adding pet stations throughout the mall. They are planning to have a summer movie series on the lawn and also hope to attract new stores to the center.
There are already so many of my favorite stores. I can always find a good pair of shoes at DSW, I love browsing for new books at Barnes & Noble, and Heidi Pops is a great place to get a locally-made snack. With the holidays coming up, I know I'm going to enjoy shopping much more with all the new changes at The Shops at Perry Crossing.
I would highly encourage residents to check out the changes and visitors to experience this outdoor shopping experience for the first time. The Shops at Perry Crossing provides the type of atmosphere, especially during the holiday season, that we can all get behind.
For a complete listing of stores, visit The Shops at Perry Crossing website.