Going to the mall? Prime parking may cost you
Malls across the country, having lost millions of customers to online rivals, hope to win shoppers back with a rather odd marketing plan: pay for parking.
In partnership with an app called MyPark, malls and outlet centers are starting to reserve the best parking spots — those nearest the stores — and will allow shoppers to reserve those spots, for a fee.
Woodbury Common Premium Outlets is the latest shopping center to sign a deal with MyPark. Shoppers who want to reserve a spot near the entrance or by popular restaurants can pay $3 for two hours — plus $3 an hour thereafter — to reserve a spot as much as six months in advance.
Serious shoppers are already scooping up spaces for Black Friday, according to MyPark CEO Luis Mayendia, who is eyeing airports and hospitals as expansion targets.
To be sure, a two-hour mall visit with MyPark is still less expensive than using valet parking services — which charge about $10, plus tip.
“Some people don’t like to relinquish their keys and cars,” said Mayendia, who launched the company in 2013 in Puerto Rico and is signing up two malls a month now.
Some 15 malls across the country, including Miami’s Dadeland Mall and Bloomington, Minn.’s Mall of America, have set aside dozens of MyPark spots.
The service uses a roughly 4-foot-by-2-foot sign attached to the ground in the middle of the parking space. The sign, hinged at the ground, lowers as drivers, after tapping their smartphone app, enter to claim their spot.
Shoppers who arrive early or need extra time can adjust setting via the app.