Hampshire Mall going tobacco free

By Jackson Alexander

Amanda Joinson/Collegian
Amanda Joinson/Collegian

The Hampshire Mall, located off of Route 9, will ban all tobacco products both inside and outside its property in an effort to provide a better shopping experience for customers, starting Thursday, May 31, said general manager Brian Niland.

The Hampshire Mall’s owner – Pyramid Management Group, LLC, – announced the ban on March 17. The ban states that the use of tobacco products will no longer be allowed inside the mall, in the mall parking lots or outside of the entrances, according to Niland.

The idea for the policy originated when another Pyramid-owned mall in Syracuse, N.Y., called the Carousel Center, instituted its own tobacco ban on Jan. 1, 2007.

When Hampshire Mall executives heard of the glowing reviews that came back from the Carousel Center’s tobacco ban, they decided to formulate a similar policy.

“I guess what we saw in our Syracuse location where we did [the ban] was people who did reach out to us and say ‘oh it’s so nice not to have to walk through clouds of smoke, it’s so nice to not see the place littered with cigarette butts,’” said Niland, who added that there have been “internal discussions” regarding a ban at the Hampshire Mall for some time.

In the five years since the ban was instated, the Carousel Center – which is currently undergoing expansions that will make it one of the 10 largest malls in the country by August – has thrived, according to Niland. The consumer feedback has encouraged Pyramid Management Group to expand the policy to its other malls, according to Niland.

. “The long-term feedback and results have been so overwhelmingly positive that we felt that we had to unroll to our other malls,” said Niland.“I think what we’ll see is results consistent with where we’ve already done this.”

Currently, only one store at the Hampshire Mall sells tobacco products, an A&S Newsstand that sells cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Once the ban goes into effect, the store will no longer sell those tobacco products, according to Niland.

“It’s really [about] responding to customer’s needs and wants and to make it a more enjoyable shopping experience for our customers,” said Niland. “We think the majority of the public enjoys that more than having smoking going on, on the property.”

The effort to make shoppers aware of the ban is already underway at the Hampshire Mall. Signs stating that “Hampshire Mall is proud to be an entirely tobacco free property beginning May 31, 2012,” have been placed outside entrances to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Arizona Pizza Company, and the entrance between Best Buy and Target.

In addition, miniature stickers were placed on the exit doors with the same message.

Niland also pointed to UMass’s ban of smoking that begins in July of 2013 as a reason the Hampshire Mall will no longer allow the use of tobacco.

“I think, certainly with what you know, and certainly with what UMass is trying to do, more and more companies are going that way … we think from a customer standpoint,” said Niland.

The ban will be consistent with all 15 malls that Pyramid owns, including the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, and the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at [email protected]