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Does It Take a Village?

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Kohl’s is headquartered in a village. Sure, it’s a big village—the largest in the state of Wisconsin—but Menomonee Falls is still a village, with all the municipal powers and services that come with the state’s definition of the term.

But, when I think of a village, I don’t think of Menomonee Falls. I subscribe to a less formal distinction—that a village is a community of people, smaller than a town, bound by a need to cluster in a setting that remains somehow intimate while surrounding townships grow into anonymity.

A village can also be a community of retailers. In the United States there are thousands of shopping centers that label themselves as villages, but just because a shopping center calls itself a village doesn’t necessarily make it so. By the same token, there are centers that, while the name doesn’t call out its identity as a village, it meets all the criteria (mine anyway). Take Shadow Lake Towne Center, in Papillion, Neb.

Some might think building a village in a town hardly bigger than one might be redundant. I don’t think so. Papillion’s population is less than 20,000 (Papillion, by the way, is pronounced pah-pill-yun, with the accent on the “pill”—which is oddly typical in Nebraska. Norfolk, Neb., is pronounced “nor-fork.”). Located about 10 miles from Omaha, Papillion enjoys proximity to Interstate 80, a brand-new Cabela’s, and now an even newer, and bigger, retail destination joint-ventured by RED Development (co-headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Omaha-based The Lerner Co.

No one was more surprised than I was to learn that a major lifestyle/town center/power center was being developed in Papillion. Efforts began about six years ago, and culminated with a grand-opening ceremony I attended in the pouring rain on May 26. Among the dignitaries huddled under the tent was Governor Dave Heineman (see “Bringing out the Governor” by visiting www.chainstoreage.com and clicking on the CSA blog site, RetailView) who came out because, quite frankly, Shadow Lake Towne Center is a big deal in Nebraska.

At 800,000 sq. ft., it is a gathering place that is matched (almost) by only one other development in the state—Village Pointe in Omaha, which also happens to be a RED center. Not even the wind and rain could deter me from walking the project from end to end, admiring the Nebraska-inspired architecture, the amphitheatre, outdoor fireplace, extraordinary lineup of retailers and restaurants—and a town square like nothing Papillion has, or would have dreamed of having.

What struck me most about Shadow Lake, though, was how good it looked on its residents. I saw it in their faces, as they walked about the center, admired the flowers and mingled in the town square. They were proud of their new village. The arrival of this community of retailers and restaurants was a positive reflection on all of the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.

Though Shadow Lake Town Center doesn’t label itself a village, in my mind that’s exactly what it is.

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Long lines greet iPhone debut

BY CSA STAFF

CUPERTINO, Calif. The long-awaited debut of Apple’s iPhone was greeted with long lines outside of Apple and AT&T stores on June 29 with some people camping out days to get one. Analysts expected Apple’s new smart phone to sell about 200,000 units during its first weekend in release.

The combination phone and Web browser is selling for $499 for a basic phone and $599 for a version with 8GB of memory. The sleek phone that’s operated with a touch screen also comes with an iPod and a camera. The phones are being sold exclusively at 166 Apple stores and 1,800 stores operated by service provider AT&T. Apple ceo Steve Jobs said he hopes to sell about 10 million iPhones during its first year on the market.

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CE vet Callahan passes on

BY CSA STAFF

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. CE veteran Phil Callahan died from what is believed to be a heart attack June 26 at the age of 57.

Callahan spent several years at Mitsubishi and also held positions at Sumiko, Hitachi and Princeton Graphics Systems. In June 2005 he founded a public relations and consulting firm named Callahan Public Relations and Consulting.

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