The sign in front of Jewelry Works at the Oaks Mall in Gainesville is meant to entice customers to come on in and splurge.

"Repeat after me, I deserve new jewelry!" the sign reads.

Store managers at the mall on Wednesday declined to go on record with comments about their expectations of shoppers coming out to use the stimulus funds hitting accounts this week, but their stores, services and kiosks are well stocked and cashing out purchases.

Branford resident Jessica Smith was on a mission of tradition on Wednesday while out purchasing a gift for her 1-year-old nephew Hank. 

"It's his first birthday," said Smith, who explained that she buys all of her nieces and nephews a Build-A-Bear when they turn 1.

Hank was all smiles when she handed him that brown bear. Smith said they would add accessories to it when he gets older.

A lot of the stores have sales posted out front from an extra 70 percent off sale items to half off the complete store.

The manager at GameStop had to deliver bad news to a call-in customer that he has already sold out of the item the person wanted. 

One corner of the mall is already set up for Easter photos. The gazebo decorated with flowers, bunnies and pinwheels is colorful and the sign says the photo shoots start tomorrow (March 18) and continue through March 31 matching the mall hours.

Pet photo night starts at 5 p.m. on Mondays, the sign announces. "Get the fluffy friends together for a fun-filled Easter eggs-perience!"

Reservations for photo shoots can be arranged at www.theoaksmall.com

According to the mall website, COVID-19 mitigation efforts are being enforced for the safety of customers.

"We comply with all state and local mandates related to COVID-19, including but not limited to reduced capacity, dining restrictions, and face coverings (if applicable)," it states. "Face coverings are available from most security officers throughout the mall."

To view the rest of those protocols click here.

Mall management will be monitoring capacity as well. "We monitor the number of people at the mall in real-time," the website reports. "Signs are posted to notify shoppers when we’re at capacity. Signage throughout the center indicates capacity limits and dining area limitations."

By midday today, the parking lots were filling up and more than 50 people were in line at the Chick-fil-A. The personnel at the Food Court Pretzel Twister counter noted that the capacity at the mall has been busier than usual since Monday and they are expecting a very busy weekend.

Mainstreet Daily News Reporter

Suzette Cook is a Mainstreet Daily News reporter who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years.

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