Maybe I am just a millennial baby or possibly living in nostalgia, but what happened to the once premier shopping destination, Esplanade mall? As teenagers my peers and I would beg our mothers, fathers, older sisters or brothers to take us to the MALL and where I'm from Esplanade Mall, to be exact! LOL.. I have created so many memories there. Yet with all things, nothing remains the same forever. Furthermore, as with life there are ups and downs. Somewhat of a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and lows. On a side note, I have recently been wanting to go to a theme park just to get on a roller coaster, It's been years now! So, what was once a bustling location is now mostly desolate, minus the tumble weeds. With very few retail locations left, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. It's funny, but I can actually remember what stores were where.
I When "Spotlight for You" first entered the Esplanade Mall back in 2012 a buzz of rumors circulated the community about the possible founder of the retailer, as I am sure it was unbeknownst to the owner. Nevertheless, most patrons imagined that the fashion retailer was a new business. Yet, in 1999 Spotlight started under the name "Spoiled Rotten" as a DBA in the New Orleans Centre mall, located off of Poydras Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is now the site for Champion Square. The rumors were then demystified in that moment of truth. Interestingly, one should never believe everything you hear, do a bit of research and I am positive you will be surprised to know the truth. "Spoiled Rotten" later moved to the Lake Forest Plaza mall in 2000 based in Eastern New Orleans as "Spotlight for Women." Not long after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Spotlight resiliently packed up and moved to the Perimeter mall in Atlanta, Georgia under it's current name "Spotlight for You." This particular location just closed its doors January of this year due to a buy out of the wing it was housed in by a very big retail brand.
With Mardi Gras ball season just beginning, I decided it would be fun to try on a few gowns that are displayed so beautifully in the window at Spotlight. Upon entering, I was greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable associate, who I later found out was the operations manager named Toya. She gather a bit of information from me about my size and what I was shopping for and then helped me pick out a few pieces that she thought I would like. The selections were beautiful and reasonably priced. Plus, they looked absolutely amazing on! Toya informed me the Cary Henderson, the owner, travels to Los Angles personally and hand picks everything that is sold at all locations. To my revelation I learned that there are three other retail sites including two that are also inside of Esplanade mall, "Spotlight for Prom" and "Spotlight for Less." The third store is housed in the Riverwalk Outlet mall at 500 Port of New Orleans next to Steven Madden.
I left Spotlight feeling really inspired by their brand's story. With 20 years of legacy, along with many ups and downs, we can all take away from this a drive to keep our faces strongly planted towards the wind and just keep going. It was a pleasure becoming aware of their true brand's success.
Alicia M. Adewumi
"I feel absolutely challenged in just being myself, yet building my life on a foundation of excellence."