Phipps Plaza is a mall that is located in Buckhead, it was created shortly after Lenox Mall which was built in 1959. The first impression that a person will probably have of Phipps Plaza is that it is a more luxurious mall than the usual ones. The quality of Phipps Plaza is all shaped around its location. Since the beginning Buckhead started off as a luxury place to go to. “The area started out as a prime place for summer and country homes for some of Atlanta’s wealthiest. From the beginning, these estates were built on beautiful wooded lots, far removed from the road. Over the years, as Buckhead transformed from just seasonal residences to a year round community, the many neighborhoods were subdivided and established, and many more homes were built” (The History of Buckhead). As the area started to develop more and became a more usual spot then just a vacation place, more buildings started to appear and homes started to be built. Part of these buildings were the two main malls that are now part of Buckhead, Lenox and Phipps Plaza.
The first observation I conducted, I was located in one of the main entrances of the mall. There is an Italian restaurant called Davio’s, a furniture store called Arhaus, an entrance to Sak’s Fifth Avenue, and a Legoland and AMC movie theater sign. There are also many buildings surrounding the entrance, there is a Carter’s building which is surround by a couple of other buildings and it is called Phipps Tower. From this location, one can also see a bit of the Ritz Carlton hotel. There is a valet parking service located right in front of the entrance to enter the mall. About 3 out of 10 people that go into the mall use the valet parking service. About 1 out of the 3 people that use the valet parking service go into the Davio’s restaurant and the others go into the actual mall. Everyone coming in is mainly an adult, there are very few children that come in. If there is a person with kids it is usually just two children per person or couple.
I observed from this spot at around 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Since it was evening and Buckhead is very well known for its night life, many of the people getting there were mainly heading towards the movie theater or a restaurant. Everyone going in was mainly in their 20s. There was also not much variety in the race of the people that are coming and going. The people that I observed were mainly white and black. About ¼ of the people that came were black and the rest was white. Once there were no more people coming I walked around the outside of the mall for a couple of minutes. Most people were mainly at the tavern eating dinner or having drinks. There were not many people walking into stores. The people that were not going to restaurants were on their way to their cars.
The next day was Friday 12, 2016. This day I decided to take the MARTA to see how many people that ride the MARTA go to Phipps Plaza. I got off at Lenox Station and walked to Phipps Plaza. Mostly everyone that got off at Lenox Station went to Lenox Mall, only one person walked to Phipps Plaza. Mostly everyone that goes to Phipps Plaza drives. The car brands that I mainly saw were Lexus, Nissan, Volvo, Mercedes and GMC.
Since it was morning there were fewer people but since it was Presidents Day weekend there were more children. Many of the kids that would walk by would be carrying shopping bags from Legoland or Build a Bear. While there were many kids there was also a lot of men and women alone shopping for valentine’s day gifts for their significant other. The main gift they would be carrying were bears.
Belk is one of the main department stores in Phipps Plaza. There is a separate entrance so it can be accessed separately from the mall. The parking lot in front of Belk is huge so many people park there. Belk is one of the busier stores because of its prices. Most of the stores inside the mall are a bit pricey and Belk is one of the stores that has more affordable prices and more sales.
I think that observing the site over two days was more beneficial than just one, because the times and days really can affect the type of information that is collected. While observing at night I learned that people mainly go to Phipps Plaza to socialize with friends, and during the day people do more shopping and spend quality time with their children.
According to Hankins when Buckhead was created it was mainly targeted toward the white elite and wealthy business owners (384). I believe that this still stands true today. Many of the hotels surrounding the mall are very luxurious. Also many new housing options are being built but they are more like condos, then apartments that normal people would live in. Also a lot of remodeling going on around the mall. The signs of stores are being posted on the outside now so customers are already aware of the stores even before they enter the mall. They mainly have restaurants instead of a fast food court. They do have a small food court but it only consists of about 4 fast food restaurants. However, most customers choose to go to the dine in restaurants located at about each corner of the mall. The mall’s parking spaces are pretty hidden. Since most customers use valet parking, the other parking paces are under ground so it requires a different direction for someone that wants to self park. This parking issue might keep someone that is unfamiliar with the mall from coming. While there is a bit of more diversity in the people that visit Phipps Plaza, I think that the way the mall has been design does keep or limit minorities from coming in.
Hankins, Katherine B., Robert Cochran, and Kate Driscoll Derickson. “Making Space, Making Race: Reconstituting White Privilege in Buckhead, Atlanta.” N.p., June 2012. Web.
“The History of Buckhead.” Buckheadd. N.p., n.d. Web.