Galeria Katowicka is 10 years old
Can a shopping mall co-create life in the city and build its offer in harmony with its rhythm? Can it offer customers something more than just shopping and activate residents? Does it prove itself as a partner for local governments, NGOs, cultural institutions? The 10-year presence of Galeria Katowicka on the retail map of Poland has already brought satisfactory answers to all these questions.
A shopping mall, especially one located in the heart of the city, and managed with the assumption of openness to the dynamically changing reality, has all the prerequisites to become something like an agora around which urban life takes place. A wide range of activities oriented to the surrounding stakeholders redefines the character of the facility and builds associations in the minds of the public with a place that definitely goes beyond the retail-service-catering offer, although it also builds this one taking into account local needs. However, it is equally clearly marking its presence, for example, in the area of social engagement or in the leisure sector.
The first 10 years of Galeria Katowicka's operation have seen not only its consolidation on the market, but also the building of an active role in the region. APSYS Polska, the company managing Katowicka, is strongly developing the potential of the Gallery as a real co-creator and partner of the region, the city, its institutions and residents. These activities are part of the #citylife idea adopted by the manager, Apsys Polska, under which Katowicka responds in real time to the needs of the residents of Katowice and the entire region. After a decade, it has integrated with the city to such an extent that today it is one of its most active entities, and the building itself is among the most recognizable in the region and has become a permanent part of residents' everyday life.
Situated in the center of the city, Katowicka, connected to the train and bus stations, is a transportation hub, which affects the diversity of the customer base. In addition to residents of the city and region, there are also tourists or business visitors to the city. The Gallery's offer follows this and is complementary enough to take into account the needs of all groups. Among the Gallery's tenants, a large number are those, such as Peek&Cloppenburg or RTV Euro AGD, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary here with Katowicka. Some decide to continue their cooperation in a new shape, increasing the area and expanding the assortment, such as stores from the LPP group. The tenant-mix follows expectations and needs, changing fashions or lifestyles, which has resulted, among other things, in the opening of the first Rituals store in the region and the first Lovisa brand store in Poland.
The focus on a wide range of customers can also be seen in the constant expansion of the food offer, which includes both world cuisines, increasingly popular plant-based cuisine and fast-food, which has many admirers. This year, in the food-court area, a Makarun island was opened, food trucks stood in the square in front of the Gallery during the summer season, and in the last quarter of this year a sushi restaurant will join the offer. Seasonally, the gastronomic offer is enriched by thematic culinary festivals organized in the square in front of the Gallery, such as the World Pierogies Festival and the Vege Festival.
From the beginning, Katowicka has also focused on cooperation with local brands, promoting entrepreneurs from the region, such as Caseownia and Sofi-Flora.
Katowicka's 10 years have brought a number of initiatives combining pro-environmental, pro-social activities and integrating residents. Over the past few years, the gallery has been involved in urban projects such as the Bebok Trail, and on a global scale, including helping those affected by the war in Ukraine. It has supported local NGOs, such as the Guardian Angels Home and the Municipal Shelter for Homeless Animals. She also has to her credit the project This City Will Grow Green, as part of which she enriched the city center with an Urban Farm and an air-purifying eco-mural, or promoted circular fashion in two editions of the Clothes Full of Power campaign. Its commitment to ecology was recognized by the PRCH Awards jury, which awarded Katowicka a gold statuette for these activities. The mall is also open to unprecedented ideas. One of them is the Dogbar, created this year in cooperation with a behaviorist, a separate part of the food court where customers can be accompanied by their pets.
A word that is particularly strongly associated with Katowicka is inclusivity. In addition to architectural solutions that make it easier for people with disabilities to stay in the facility, Katowicka was the first shopping center in Poland to introduce a pioneering, multi-faceted project called Katowicka for Autism. At Katowicka, people with ASD and their caregivers can take advantage of a soundproofing room, noise-canceling headphones available for free, quiet hours, the willingness of selected tenants to adjust stimuli in the premises (such as lighting or music) to suit the customer's needs, and a practical guide for people with ASD staying on the premises.
Katowicka is also the first shopping center in Poland to commission a comfort room - a place where people with disabilities or limited mobility can change hygiene products in convenient conditions. The mall also periodically supports health prevention campaigns, such as the Mohawks and Pink Lips.