Last years’ Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, a music and dance fest with rides, drew 130,000 young people on its final day. This summer, Billy Joel will play his 43rd sellout concert at Madison Square Garden, where floor tickets sell in the $200 range. No matter their age or inclination, people still want to leave their laptops and homes behind and be with other people. They just need someone to give them a really good reason to do it.

Nine out of 10 retail purchases still take place in malls, and the retail venues that make good on that challenge will win the lion’s share of that bounty. In the interests of both innovation and inspiration, Chain Store Age thought it was time to single out the venues that put a capital “E” in “experiential” with 10 great examples. We’ve been counting down the top 10, and today we’re unveiling No. 1!

#5. The Grove and Uber

“If you got it, go with it!” That’s what Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden character would say whenever he thought he’d hit it big on one of his get-rich-quick schemes. Well, the Grove in Los Angeles has really got it. With average sales per-square-foot of $2,200, the luxe retail site is No. 2 on Fortune’s list of top-grossing shopping centers. But having to traverse acres of parking lot asphalt can ruin the experience or customers used to Art Deco movie palaces and concierge services, so owner Caruso partnered with Uber to remove driving from the equation.

Caruso created a permanent pick-up/drop-off location on the property at The Grove, now Uber’s No. 1 Los Angeles destination with more than 2,000 drop-offs daily. Know thy customer is the lesson, says Caruso Executive VP of Leasing Kloe Colacarro: “We have a deep belief in developing centers only in places where we know the consumer. And we know the SoCal consumer very, very well.”


By Al Urbanski