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Yesteryear Echoes: What's important is what Branson Landing is, not what it isn't

(Please note that this column is from a series of the Ole Seagull’s past columns he’s calling “Yesteryear Echoes.” This dates back to June 6, 2006, soon after the initial opening of Branson Landing.)

 

As Branson Landing opened last weekend [May 25, 2006], everyone had an opinion about when it should have opened, why this feature wasn’t ready, why it doesn’t have this or that type of store, etc. Without getting into the merits, or lack thereof, of those opinions, may an Ole Seagull suggest that what is important is what Branson Landing is, not what it isn’t. Here’s why?

 

Branson Landing, a unique destination, is not just a concept but a reality. Its design, structure and initial tenants make it stand out. Similar to San Antonio’s River Walk, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America, Branson Landing offers a one-of-a-kind experience that is not just local but global in its appeal.

 

The location of Branson Landing on Branson’s Lake Taneycomo’s lakefront, proximity to historic downtown Branson and all the rest that Branson offers, coupled with its design, public square and street entertainment, combine to provide it with a uniqueness that is solely its own. When that is blended in with the soon to open fire and water show, the Lake Taneycomo Boardwalk, a condominium residential component, its own hotel, and the variety of shopping and restaurants available at Branson Landing, the result is an exciting, incomparable experience available only at Branson Landing in Branson, Missouri.

 

Comparing Branson Landing to a traditional mall is not valid simply because Branson Landing is an “unmall” hybrid lifestyle project. This leading-edge retail concept is currently replacing malls and their traditional multiple department store anchors all over the country. With Branson Landing, there is one department store anchor, Belk’s, an “alternative anchor,” Bass Pro Shops, and a host of specialty stores and restaurants that are consistent with the developer’s vision for the project, space limitations, and what the Branson market can support.

 

The result is a shopping experience that offers customers everything from boats and fishing tackle to clothes, jewelry and accessories for most ages and demographics. Its shopping mix offers an infinite choice that should appeal not only to Branson’s current visitors and locals but also to the younger visitors and their families, who are vital to Branson’s future success.

 

Its specialty sandwich, pretzel, ice cream, wrap, popcorn, coffee, gyro, pizza, and candy shops provide many quick food choices for Branson Landing visitors. Factor in Branson Landing’s excellent selection of full-service restaurants offering everything from general fare to specialty restaurants serving Bar-B-Que, fine steaks, seafood and Mexican food, all within one convenient destination, and the result is an epicurean delight with a selection of food, drinkaa and pricing to fit just about every desire and budget.

 

The design of Branson Landing takes into account the size constraints of the land and maximizes the beautiful Lake Taneycomo lakefront. The town square and fountain at Branson Landing are its centerpieces, complementing the lake and offering easy access to the boardwalk. A mile-plus long boardwalk offers visitors to Branson Landing an opportunity to walk its length and experience the majestic beauty of Lake Taneycomo, separated from the bustle and excitement of Branson Landing that is taking place just a few feet above them. Many restaurants have locations with dining room or patio views of the lake and its bluff.

 

Like Branson itself, Branson Landing is an exciting, vibrant entertainment experience. Street performers of just about every type help create an atmosphere of fun and excitement. The fire and water show on the lakefront at the town square will provide a spectacular show that will be unique and, like Branson Landing itself, become an icon for Branson and a must-see experience. Blend that with special events on the town square, a dinner theatre experience, and other specialty events that tenants will sponsor, and the entertainment possibilities for Branson Landing will become endless.

 

Branson Landing might not be many things, but one thing is that it is a unique, exciting experience unlike anything else available in Branson. It is an experience that is, at one time, complete in itself yet blends in with and compliments the rest of what Branson offers. It is another reason to visit Branson for the first time or to come back again, which can now proudly proclaim, “Our doors are open.”

 

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