Americana offers parking perk

DOWNTOWN — The Americana at Brand has sent free one-day valet parking vouchers to non-Glendale residents in an effort to draw more area consumers to the shopping center during the holiday season, an executive said.

Although the Americana has become well-known in Glendale, many shoppers outside of the city are unaware of the massive retail and residential complex, said Jennifer Gordon, vice president of Caruso Affiliated.

The hope is that the valet parking offer can inspire more consumers to choose the Americana for their shopping needs, Gordon said.

“It’s part of our marketing program, and it’s to expand our customer base outside of Glendale,” Gordon said.

The center is offering the free valet service for any one day during November or December, she said.

The Americana offers free parking Mondays through Thursdays, but charges on the weekends, although it offers up to four hours of free parking with validation from a movie theater.

The adjacent Glendale Galleria offers free parking daily.

Inviting other shoppers to Glendale with holiday offers of free valet parking service could make the difference for residents of other cities who might be uncertain about where to spend their holiday dollars, said Judee Kendall, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

“I think that’s really smart,” Kendall said. “If it was just free parking in the garage, no, I don’t think that would work, but if it’s valet parking, I think that might draw people.”

Valet parking could offer customers added convenience and a feeling of exclusivity that they would not get for free at other retail centers, Kendall said.

Plus, she said, ”You don’t have to go park your car and walk.”

The Galleria has also sent out a mailer for free valet parking, although the offer is limited to between Dec. 1 and 4, said Janet LaFevre, senior marketing director for the mall.

Shopping centers like the Galleria and the Americana commonly offer free valet parking during promotions, LaFevre said.

“It’s just a great perk,” she said.

The Galleria has no plans to change its free self-parking policy, which it credits for helping to draw many of its 26 million visitors annually, she said.

“That’s one of the most compelling amenities for a shopper to pick a destination is the abundance of free parking and really an ease of getting in and out, so it’s one of our key advantages,” she said.

Retailers planning to increase their free parking offerings during the holiday season will likely benefit from stronger foot traffic and sales, said Jean Maluccio, executive director of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Limiting free parking to weekdays, for instance, could send shoppers mixed signals or push them to other outlets, Maluccio said.

“I think if any of the businesses anywhere want to get business, they need to make the parking free for all of it,” she said. “You go to Burbank, you see their parking lots are free.”

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