Mall aiming for more family involvement ahead of sales tax holiday

McALLEN — Ahead of the upcoming sales tax holiday where shoppers can buy most clothing, footwear and school supplies tax free from Texas retailers, La Plaza Mall in McAllen has launched a program to en-courage more family involvement at the mall by providing discounts at select stores and restaurants.

Following more than 20 months of declining sales tax revenues, the city has now seen two years of increas-ing sales tax growth, which city officials have said is in part due to heightened activity at the mall over the last 18 months. So far this fiscal year, which ends in September, the city has seen a more than 10% jump in sales tax revenues. And with the mall making a late July push, it comes at a “critical time” for businesses in South Texas.

“Obviously it’s one of the three big sales periods for our region,” said Steve Ahlenius, president of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “You have Christmas, Easter and back to school,” and added: “It’s a great opportunity for retail business in our area.”

La Plaza Mall has undergone a $50 million expansion in recent years, which has continued to open new businesses, such as the Mexican clothing store Cuidado con el Perro, which opened its first United States location in July at the mall and will have a sale that will last until the sales tax weekend.

The expansion has also included several restaurants, which Isabel Rodriguez, director of marketing and business development at La Plaza Mall, said will enhance the experience during big shopping times like the sales tax weekend, which begins Aug. 9.

“Something we lacked was an actual presence of sit-down restaurants,” Rodriguez said.

“Having this ele-ment now will help families not cut their shopping trips short.”

Families interested in signing up for the program can visit the information desk at the mall, and the deals include: 20% off a purchase of $75 or more at U.S. Polo Association; 20% off one item of your choice at H&M; and special children’s pricing at Texas de Brazil.

The program’s launch also comes after news of Cinemark planning a new theater at the mall: CUT!

With construction expected to commence by April 2020 and plans to open in 2021, La Plaza will serve as the second CUT! theater, which will feature eight screens and a dine-in experience, to open in Texas.

“Cinemark is excited to bring our new, fresh, dine-in theatre concept to McAllen,” Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO, said in a news release issued July 17.

Freshly prepared food, beer, martinis, wine and cocktails are expected to be offered at CUT!, in addition to high-tech screens and more.