Shop Local, Meet Santa, and Have Fun at Great Lakes Mall this Holiday Season

The mall is an ever-changing environment. This year the Great Lakes Mall has many exciting things planned for the holidays. On a day-to-day basis, those working behind-the-scenes employ new strategies to bring innovation and fun to the community. For the Great Lakes Mall on Mentor Avenue, the mastermind behind marketing and community interaction is Renee Sanden.

In her work as the marketing director for Great Lakes Mall, Renee Sanden has been a jack of all trades. She balances roles that includes determining the marketing budget for the Great Lakes Mall property and planning various other events and activities that take place in the mall’s common areas. She also sells sponsorships, advertising, and space for promotional activities. On the weekends, Renee is in charge of overseeing the mall’s guest services booth (which sells mall and specific retailer gift cards and acts as a Ticketmaster service center), in addition to her management duties,

Especially coming up [on] this holiday season, there are so many great things happening here,” Renee says. “Keeping all the pots boiling, as they say, is a challenge and a fun one at that. It’s good to be challenged year after year with the different opportunities as the retail market changes.”

Great events are planned at the Great Lakes Mall this year. Marking the start of the Santa Photo Experience, Breakfast with Santa starts this Saturday, November 8, when Santa arrives at the mall to greet all the excited children. Santa arrives in a horse-drawn carriage and more than 500 children and families line up outside the food court, waiting eagerly to meet Jolly Old Saint Nick. The Santa Photo Experience will be at the mall from Nov. 8 all the way until Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Along with Santa’s arrival at the Great Lakes Mall on Saturday, there will be two pet photo nights this year. These fun photo nights will take place on two Sunday evenings, December 14 and 21 from 6-8 p.m. Registration is not required; all you need to do is show up with your dog or cat and your family and get your picture taken together with Santa Claus. Your well-behaved pet will even get a little treat from Santa. This event is always popular in Mentor, Ohio.

This holiday season marks the third annual Caring Santa event, set to take place on December 7, where children with special needs get to meet Santa. Great Lakes Mall partners up with and other local charities to help prepare for the Caring Santa event, which is committed only to bringing happiness to children. Tickets are free, but please register so that everyone’s needs can be accommodated.

We have a lot of feel-good events surrounding our Santa Photo Experience,” Renee says.

Black Friday will also be huge at the Great Lakes Mall this year. This is the Friday that marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and the mall will be prepared to accommodate all shoppers with great deals and extended hours. Many families will come out to shop together.

We’ll open at 6 p.m., November 27 and we’ll close at one in the morning. We’ll recoup in the middle of the night, and open up once again Friday, the 28th at 6 a.m.,” Renee says.

Great Lakes Mall has built a strong partnership with Fox 8 News, which features the mall on the morning news every few weeks. For example, Fox 8 News partnered with the mall to do a segment on animal prints and how to stylishly apply these unusual patterns to your wardrobe.

Coming up in November, a morning segment on Fox 8 News will show viewers how not to look cheesy in your family holiday photos,” Renee reveals. “How your family can choose different outfits so your family will look coordinated.”

The mall experience at Great Lakes Mall is something you can’t find anywhere else in Mentor, Ohio. The social experience is so important for people. Customers have the opportunity to browse many different stores, try things on, and do it all with their family and friends. Recently, soft seating areas and mobile charger stations have been added to the mall to make sure all customers’ have an enhanced shopping experience.

As the marketing director of the entire mall, Renee suggests that people looking to start their own businesses should connect with other small business owners and discuss their thoughts, fears, and plans for the future. People who have gone through these experiences already can really help a new entrepreneur get ahead of the competition.

Share your thoughts and share your ideas with peers,” Renee suggests. “Get their thoughts and their opinions and learn from them.”

The Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, Ohio has so much going on and so many different options to choose from this holiday season. The mall is a great place to support local businesses like Prelude Photography, Gee Lilly (for a girls’ boutique experience), and C Town Sports Cave (for your new sporting apparel). This holiday season, make sure not to miss all the great events that the Great Lakes Mall has to offer to you and your family.

Gabe Arnold
Author: Gabe Arnold