Empire Mall Taking Advantage Of Construction Traffic, Leasing Parking Lot To Food Trucks
The Empire Mall in Sioux Falls has some new tenants for the summer. As part of a pilot project, the mall is leasing some spots in their parking lot to food trucks. If all goes well they hope to make this an annual thing.
“It’s about attracting a new crowd, a different crowd, a bigger crowd,” said The Empire Mall Manager Ron Soucie.
Soucie says they’ve been talking about bringing food trucks to the Empire Mall since December.
“The retail is an evolution so if we don’t continue to do different things then it’s get boring and I think the millennials today love the experience,” Soucie said.
Soucie says they also wanted to take advantage of the ‘ring road’ in the mall parking lot. They’ve seen an increase in traffic as drivers try to navigate the construction on Louise Avenue.
Papa Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza Owner Lisa Esser said, “We had so many people that drove by and looked and and stopped and came by and said you know ‘What is this?’, ‘How often are you going to be here?’, ‘Are you just here today?'”
Papa Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza is one of two food trucks that has reserved a spot on the north side for the summer. They will likely be there sporadically into September.
Esser said, “Really anything that we can cook in an oven, we can do in our truck.”
Esser says she and her husband Steve started the business to be able to come and go whenever. They say they like the flexibility that the mall spot offers.
Esser said, “Some weeks we’re going to be out here several times throughout the week and then there’s times we’ll only be out here once, but we can be out here as often as we need to be or want to be.”
The business, open since last August, mainly caters and sets up shop at different events. But they say it’s nice having a home base.
“The first couple of days that we’ve been here, we’ve seen a lot of great traffic and we’re excited to see what happens throughout the summer as people start to see us here more regularly,” said Esser.
Another food truck that is leasing a spot in the mall lot is Dakota Snow Shaved Ice Creations. The Esser’s hope this idea catches on with even more trucks as more options mean more business.