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Braelinn renovation targets golf cart traffic

Tucked away behind large pine trees off Crosstown Road, the Braelinn Village shopping center is more off the beaten path compared to Peachtree City’s other shopping centers.

But efforts are underway for the shopping center to carve out another niche by catering specifically to those traveling on golf carts. As part of a $7 million exterior renovation, golf cart parking spaces have been added just off the sidewalk in front of stores.

The shopping center also has added charging stations so cart drivers can juice them up while shopping. That is likely to encourage those who live further away to pay a visit, since they won’t have to worry about running out of battery charge on the trip home.

Even the entrance to the shopping center from the golf cart paths, which goes past the not-so-scenic rear of the stores, has been spruced up.

The changes are all the brainchild of marketing company The Shopping Center Group. Company representative Joey Crawford said the concept is to “cater toward golf carts.”

Crawford said this week that the exterior refreshening is already paying dividends with four potential new tenants in the works, hopefully a couple of new restaurants and service providers.

The company held a formal “grand re-opening” ceremony Wednesday, but the work hasn’t been a big secret, as the shopping center held a public event over the July 4 holiday weekend, attracting nearly 2,000 people.

The shopping center even had its own float in the July 4 holiday parade, which Crawford said wasn’t a typical marketing tactic for a shopping center. Well, anywhere else except perhaps Peachtree City that is.

The center is hoping an increase in golf cart traffic will lead to more customers. The exterior renovations included a brand new facade, an all-new parking lot layout with more landscaping and decoratively-stamped sidewalks, all in an effort to catch customers’ eyes.

The entire construction process took 11 months, and it was an uncomfortable period for many tenants, who had to reroute customer traffic and deal with temporary signage. But Crawford said the end result has been well received, particularly by long-time tenants.

As for the $7 million price tag, Crawford sized it up as a “massive, massive amount of money for ownership to put into a shopping center right now in a slow economy.”

And as Crawford is pleased with the new buzz created by the makeover, only time will tell whether it is the much-needed shot in the arm for Braelinn. If nothing else, the new look has provided interest from the public, and a hope for better financial times ahead.

“We’ve had maybe one concerned resident calling to voice their concern,” about the renovations, Crawford said. “Every one of the 500 others are calling to tell us how much they love it and how much Braelinn Village needed it.”

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