AP NEWS

Two new businesses open in Monument Mall

November 8, 2016 GMT

Monument Mall continues to bring in new and unique businesses. One of which focuses on taking what is trending on the internet and putting in front of you, to give you a better shopping experience.

District 21 just opened for business on Nov. 1, and brings something exciting to the panhandle. Owner Amanda Furrer was frustrated with not being able to go into a store and touch, hold or examine online products.

“That’s kind of what we do,” said Furrer. “We bring in things that are trending online, mermaid tail blankets, couch pouches, stuff like that, so that people can actually come in and see them in the store.”

Furrer said that often, she would order something and when she got it, the product wouldn’t be exactly what she expected.

“For Christmas, you’re not going to find this stuff anywhere unless you go online, but then without seeing it in person, you don’t really know what you are getting,”” she said. “You may think you are getting a big blanket, but it comes in really small.”

Monument Mall Manager Christa Scott said, “It’s really cool to have the stuff that you see online and be able to touch it, and feel it. I hope they do really well.”

Furrer said they use analytics based on Amazon’s own Hot Buys, plus trends on Facebook and Instagram to select trending online items.

“The Mermaid Tail blankets, the Shark blankets and the Couch Pouches are three of the big ones right now,” said Furrer. “I also use my personal taste. If it’s something that I would personally want to buy, or have tried to buy and wasn’t satisfied online. Everything I bring in is something that I would own myself and something that I would want to be able to buy in a store. I also like to test everything first, because customer service is really big for me.”

Furrer also said that this is an attempt to fight back against the online stores. She said, “We’re seeing these brick and mortar places being completely over taken by online sales, by non-local places. This was my idea around that, where you can still support a local business, but get online priced items that you can see in person.”

Furrer hopes that if the store is received well, they can expand more and even into neighboring states.

Another new presence in the mall is Mi Sinaloa. Taking over the Las Americas space across from Subway, Mi Sinaloa is a family owned and operated restaurant that is proud of the twist they put on their food.

“Since we took over right away we kept some of the stuff that they had on the menu, but we added to it,” Co-owner Vladimir Castro said. “Like our pork chili has a different kick. We have combination plates like they did before. We have enchiladas, but they’re our style. It’s something different.”

To honor the name, Mi Sinaloa, Vladimir wanted to make sure there was seafood on the menu.

The difference with us is the seafood,” he said. “Sinaloa is a state in Mexico right along the Pacific, so the goal is to bring more seafood out to the table. We have three different seafood dishes all the time. Like our bacon wrapped shrimp served with rice a beans.”

The menu is inviting and even though the restaurant just opened on Nov. 1, people are saying great things about it already.

“We’ve had really good comments on our menudo and posole, which is our Saturday and Sunday soup, said Vladimir. “Another of our dishes is the sopas. It’s a corn tortilla, but a thicker tortilla, with cheese, and then you have different kinds of meat.”

“Their food is amazing and so fresh,” Scott said. “They have a Facebook page and they post their specials on there everyday. It’s a family run business. They just opened Nov. 1st and they just went right in and got busy. They knew exactly what they wanted to do.”

What they want to do, is expand into the old arcade making a larger sit down restaurant space.

Vladimir said if they do well, then they will expand and get a liquor license.

“What we want is that when you come in here and sit down, you feel like family,” Staci Castro, co-owner and Vladimir’s wife, said.

Scott is also excited to announce another new business opening soon.

“We also have Good Vibes Tea. He’s going to specialize in bubble teas, bakery items and lettuce wraps. Easy food, healthy food. We’re hoping to get him open next month,” Scott said.

There are a lot of things coming up in November and December.

“It’s all beginning this month,” Scott said. “It’s going to be something every single weekend.”

They are working with Scottsbluff Public Schools to organize Christmas caroling and an orchestra.

There will be a Christmas Vendor and Craft Expo on Saturday, Dec. 3 that will support local homebased businesses and Santa will be making his appearance that day.

“We’re also going to have stories with Mrs. Claus every Saturday in December,” said Scott. “So the kids can come in and hear a story from Mrs. Claus.”

Scott also wants to bring back some of the Monument Mall traditions.

She said, “The thing that solidified with me were the fashion shows. They always had fashion. So, I’m bringing those back. We have one coming up here, what to wear to your Christmas party. All of the merchants are going to participate.” The fashion show is set for Nov. 20.