New Horizon Mall in Balzac is seeing exponential growth and is quickly becoming an interesting shopping destination for locals and tourists alike.

Originally, the mall opened last year with only a few stores opened and did not see the traffic they were hoping for.   However, in recent months, more and more stores are opening up to offer many new items..

General Manager Scott Smith gives the numbers on the recent growth and what he hopes to see for February.

"Well, we've had a tremendous amount of growth actually. We're up to 67 stores that have opened and we're anticipating another 20 to 30 opening between now and the end of February. "

New Horizon Mall follows a design that focuses on compact stores when compared to traditional malls. Smith is aware of only one other mall in Canada similar to New Horizon.

"There's one other that I'm familiar with and that's the Pacific Mall in Markham, Ontario that this was essentially designed after."

Some would say the beginning of New Horizon could have seemed a little disappointing, but Smith says there was always a plan in place, and they remain on target.

"I wouldn't call it a rocky start. I think what happened is that the mall opened, we didn't have a lot of stores open at the time and perhaps there was some negative press that came with that. But, there's always (been) a plan in place that it would take two years to fill all the stores. So, we're in that process, there's a plan in place and we're making progress to get to that goal."

A mall like this offers such a different opportunity according to Smith. Customers have a chance to engage in a new shopping experience while business entrepreneurs have an opportunity to open a shop inside a mall.

"It's an opportunity for mom and pop entrepreneurial business minded people to come in, open a store and run it. This opportunity doesn't exist in a big shopping centre like Chinook or Market Mall or South Centre so it gives people an opportunity who are entrepreneurial to come and have that experience in the mall."

Smith encourages locals to come and see the growth New Horizon is seeing.

"There's lots of things (and) lots of changes happening here. We're having monthly and weekly events that take place. We're trying to bring the community together to take advantage of our atrium area and use our stage area, all for free. We're looking to have events that would bring more people to the mall, but it's an opportunity to see the mall, see the changes that have taken place and shop something that's very unique and very different that you can't find anywhere else."

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