The owner of the Shops at Atlas Park has a unique solution for boosting the economy. The center is giving away $20,000. It will be giving away some cash in random spots in Queens. The result will be doled out at the shopping center itself to shoppers wearing stickers saying, "I support the economy." The firm plans to give out cash for 25 straight days beginning on President's Day.
The sponsor, The Shops at Atlas Park, is part of the shopping center industry, and we are taking a step ourselves and are also challenging our industry to do the same: to inject saved cash directly into consumer's hands along with encouragement to spend. If we all stop investing and hoard our dollars, the economy will worsen. Fear breeds more fear. If, however, we all take a step forward together, things will get better, sooner. Confidence and optimism about our economic future breed confidence and optimism.
We at The Shops at Atlas Park in Queens, New York are doing our part by giving away $20,000 in cash between President's Day and the day in the spring that the federal economic stimulus checks are mailed. It is our sincere belief that this will lead to increased consumer confidence and spending in Queens, NY and in turn improve the economy.
If we can do it, so can other shopping centers. In fact, we're issuing a challenge to every shopping center across the country. The Shops at Atlas Park is approximately 400,000 square feet, and the owner, Damon Hemmerdinger, is giving away $20,000 from his savings; this sum is equal to 5 cents per square foot. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) estimates that shopping centers in the US account for 6,856 million square feet of space.
So, if every shopping center across the country joined us and gave away just 5 cents per square foot, an astounding $342.8 million dollars would be placed into consumers' hands across the country, along with an encouragement to believe in our future! That will make a big difference, but more important, it will increase consumer confidence.
I'm not sure $20,000 is going to do a whole lot to stimulate the Queens economy. But it's a neat publicity stunt for the property.