Carlisle has turned mall into ‘community area’

Published 7:06 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

You won’t find Mike Carlisle’s name on the board of directors for United Way of West Central Mississippi or any of the other nonprofit organizations serving the city, but he’s had a part in promoting them locally as the general manager of the Vicksburg Mall.

“I’ve been the mall manager since it opened (under Weiner Development in 2007),” he said. “I am the general manager, accounts payable, accounts receivable, leasing manager. I’m the only employee at the mall and I’m the only one in the office. I do have some good contractors.”

He has also been responsible for providing the space used by United Way and other organizations for their programs and events. And while there is a commercial aspect to holding the programs at the mall, Carlisle said, it’s the one way he can help people in the community.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I’ve lived in Vicksburg since 1984, and have been involved with the community at a mid-level type thing — I had been involved with the chamber and the Jaycees personally. I’ve helped with fundraisers before, and whatever we can do to help these nonprofits with fundraising or just help the community, we can,” he said.

Carlisle said the open area in malls where there are no stores is called the common area in the mall industry.

“When we started Oct. 10, seven years ago, I named it our community area, that’s the main point I want to make, because over these seven years, we have had all kind of community events out here that have been a great use of the facility and brought people out,” Carlisle said. “I didn’t come from the mall world. I came from retail, so I wasn’t used to the common area language, and we wanted to bring the mall back, and I just thought about it and I told Andy Weiner what I was going to start calling it and now I believe all of our malls call it that.”

Carlisle said the community service aspect of his job is instilled in company from its corporate office in Houston, Texas.

“Andy Weiner, the main owner, loves Vicksburg and the community, and he is on board with everything we do out here for the community,” he said.

“We had the water distribution when the water was out (in May). Anything we can do to help the community. There’s no charge for the community or nonprofit events we are happy to host them,” Carlisle said. “Once we kind of got the word out (about the community area), there was a little bit of everything,” Carlisle said, adding the Vicksburg Warren School District’s showcase of schools was a big program at the mall that resulted from a chance meeting with the district’s superintendent.

“We work with (United Way director) Michele (Connelly) and United Way. I’m happy to be able to assist them with that kind of stuff, we had the donations for Houston recently and the Day of Caring kickoff,” he said.

“It’s great to see people out here; United Way with those volunteers on the Day of Caring, it’s everybody from the community, and they help build up the community and make it better, and it just serves a great purpose. With Day of Caring, they may change the life of one individual, but that individual in turn helps make a better Vicksburg.”

He said the Salvation Army has had its Angel Tree program at the mall “and their kettle kickoff that will be held out here this year.”

“We’ve worked with all the agencies of United Way, and we’ve had the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts here on separate nights for lockouts (where they stay in the mall),” Carlisle said.

“With the Boy Scouts, I had some of the retail managers come speak to them about retailing and the economy and how things work in the retail world.”

Carlisle believes his influence to provide space for activities comes from his personal involvement with the community.

“Vicksburg is my home, and they (the organizations) are thankful that we can assist them. When they call, I pretty much say, I can do it,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John