Stony Point Fashion Park
Opening an outdoor shopping center with upscale stores and restaurants in a market that never had one should have been a cinch. The problem was, two weeks before Stony Point Fashion Park was to open in Richmond, Virginia, another outdoor shopping center with upscale stores and restaurants was opening across town. It even had the same initials—SP—for Short Pump Town Center.
If there’s one reason why Taubman Centers, Inc., Stony Point’s developer, hires Siddall over and over again to advertise their properties, it’s because the agency never shrinks from a challenge. Not even from this one: differentiate Stony Point from Short Pump, create preference for Stony Point, and not let Short Pump steal all the thunder. (That would be done by a higher power. Read on.)
The advertising positioned Stony Point as a more intimate, personal and enjoyable place to shop: “A new twist on Southern charm.” TV, radio and print advertising touted the six new-to-Richmond full-service restaurants at Stony Point with an offer to win a year of free dining. A customer loyalty program was started through Stony Point’s sister center Regency Square. 50,000 membership cards were distributed with one card coded to win a trip to the Virgin Islands if swiped during the Grand Opening.
The market took the bait. The advertising was recalled by 84 percent of respondents. Then something happened no one foresaw. The day of the Grand Opening, a category II hurricane named Isabel tore through Richmond, toppling trees and power lines. Yet despite closed roads, no electricity and no media coverage, 20,000 people showed up.
The Grand Opening was rescheduled for a week later. A check for $10,000 was presented to Richmond’s Emergency Disaster Fund. Gift certificates were offered to anyone named Isabel. And T-shirts were given to media and customers that read, “Back by popular demand: Stony Point Fashion Park’s Grand Opening. We’ve taken Richmond by storm…literally.”