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La Palmera at full capacity for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic

After losing tenants to COVID-19-related closures, the mall has been able to attract some big-name retailers and restaurants.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — La Palmera mall is seeing 100-percent store occupancy for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During the pandemic, some stores obviously had to close," said La Pamera mall spokeswoman Sarona Winfrey. "Didn't make it. Decided to downsize and that kind of thing."

But since then, the mall has seen interest from recognizable names and stores. 

Lush Cosmetics is one of the newer stores at La Palmera, opening in 2020. Lush Manager Kayla Evans said that the company was strategic in deciding on opening a location in Corpus Christi and the mall.

"We have a lot of stores in Texas, but the closest one to here is San Antonio and then McAllen," she said. "So we're like very far apart, so it's like bringing a little bit of what we love into Corpus."

JD Sports' Alyssa Arocha is also happy with her store's location, which is near the escalators. She said that spot provides ample opportunity for shoppers to come in.

"Right by the concierge desk for good information," she said. "It's just a good location."

Winfrey said La Palmera is excited to see all of its shops and stalls occupied.  

"We are back 100-percent leased again, which is great news now through the holidays," she said. "We have some temporary tenants, here but even after the holidays we are still 100 percent leased."

The mall even got a bit of a facelift to accommodate its newest attraction -- the Cheesecake Factory -- which opens Dec. 20. That restaurant is adding close to 300 jobs to the local workforce before Christmas.

"Obviously we have more retailers coming in and not just seasonal jobs, which we see every year," Winfrey said. 

National figures provided by Adobe Analytics shows the holiday shopping season beginning around Veterans Day at more than $210 billion in sales. Evans said the numbers are reflected locally as they're seeing a lot of people coming in.

"Really good," she said. "We've been kind of surprised. Obviously we had projection of how we wanted things to go and we're hitting those."

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