Apple Blossom Mall sports new look

Posted: July 31, 2013

The Winchester Star

Renovations to Apple Blossom Mall have been completed. Among the changes are new seating areas.
Mike Wineke, an employee of Triangle Sign and Service of Baltimore, places a covering over the letter “p” while constructing a new sign for the mall at Apple Blossom and Jubal Early drives in Winchester last week. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
Larry Nelson, the Apple Blossom Mall’s director of marketing and business development, shows one of four newly installed charging stations at the mall. Electronics such as cellphones and tablets can now be charged at the shopping center, which Nelson said “had become very dated in appearance.” (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
Peter Cutshaw, 2, Chloe Tetzloff, 6, and Claire Cutshaw, 3, play in the Apple Blossom Mall’s new the children’s area Tuesday. Peter and Claire were with their grandmother, Kathy Cunsolo of Winchester, and Chloe was with her mother, Jaime Tetzloff of Martinsburg, W.Va. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — What does $10 million look like?

A trip to the Apple Blossom Mall will show you.

Owners Simon Property Group, the largest commercial real estate trust in the world, has spent the past year remodeling and adding to Winchester’s first indoor shopping mall.

“The community has been very patient with us,” said Larry Nelson, director of marketing and business development at the mall.

The mall has a new look inside, lighter and brighter, with added amenities and stores and signs to show the way.

The makeover was needed, Nelson said. The mall, built in 1982, “was very dated in appearance.”

Most of the floors were red tile, and even the mirrored ceilings in some places only reflected back the dark color.

“We lightened the ceiling colors and the floors, too,” Nelson said. “It helps give a more open feel.”

And all the entrances are carpeted, he added — a safety precaution for customers coming in from outside in wet weather.

Shoppers may also find the mall more accommodating in terms of creature comforts.

There is more seating around the food court, both inside and outdoors. The arcade was moved to the west entrance to give more seating, Nelson said, and there is also space reserved for a new fast food vendor.

Nelson said he has requests for a burger franchise and a coffee shop to add to the food court.

“We’re actively seeking one,” he said. “We definitely want to grow the food court.”

The mall also moved its restrooms closer to the food court entrance of the mall. And, in response to customer requests, added a family restroom for those dealing with small children.

Parents with little ones will also appreciate the new “Kidgets” play area. It is 1,400 square feet of carpeted, enclosed space, filled with soft, climbable toys.

Couchlike benches have cubbies underneath, to house the shoes everyone is asked to take off in the play area.

“This is the best place for grandparents,” said Kathy Cunsolo, who had two grandchildren — Peter Cutshaw, 2, and Claire Cutshaw, 3 — climbing on a caterpillar in front of her.

“You can do your shopping and then sit down,” Cunsolo said, adding that the play area was safe. “They can’t get away.”

Other sitting areas have “charging stations,” where shoppers can plug in and recharge their phones or electronic devices.

They can even plug in and use them, “instead of using your battery life,” Nelson pointed out. And, “there’s free WiFi throughout the mall.”

Nelson also pointed to a kiosk where mall-goers can turn in an old telephone and get cash for it.

Apple Blossom also has or will have three new tenants. Route 21 and Maurice’s offer junior clothing, Nelson said, and Planet Hollywood is getting ready to open its first Buca di Beppo restaurant in Virginia.

With the new Carmike Entertainment Complex, which has 12 movie screens — including one that is three stories high and 60 feet wide — the mall has a lot of new things worth looking at, Nelson said.

“I love it, it’s just fantastic,” Cunsolo said.

— Contact Val Van Meter at vvanmeter@winchesterstar.com