- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2002

Shopping centers are doing their bit to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
Malls around the country, including in the Washington area, are honoring the day by hosting community events such as blood drives, distributing patriotic ribbons and pins and even holding special ceremonies at their properties.
"People want to demonstrate unity with the rest of the country," said Eric Kulczycky, marketing director at Tysons Corner Center in McLean.
The center, which has more than 250 stores, is to observe a moment of silence at noon followed by a rendition of the national anthem. Tysons Corner has encouraged merchants to decorate their storefronts with patriotic themes, as well as dress in red, white and blue on Wednesday. This week Tysons' outdoor marquee, mall signs and its Web site will have American themes and patriotic symbols.
"We want to pay our respect," Mr. Kulczycky said.
All General Growth Properties, including Tysons Galleria in McLean and Landmark Mall in Alexandria, will hand out red, white and blue ribbons to customers on Wednesday as part of its "We Remember America" campaign.
About a dozen posters replete with American themes and quotes will be scattered throughout Tysons Galleria beginning this week. The first 1,000 customers who go to the mall's information desk will receive pins.
"It's very tasteful, and it's just a small effort in the scheme of things," says Jaime Friedman, marketing director at Tysons Galleria.
This month Fair Oaks in Fairfax has put an additional American flag at its Fountain Court to commemorate the heroes of September 11. It joins two other permanent American flags that are at the center. The mall does not have any formal ceremonies planned, says Ferris Kaplan, marketing director.
"We will not be doing anything to build or affect traffic that day," Mr. Kaplan says. "The spirit of what we are doing is to allow the public to respond in the way they feel is appropriate for them."

Sheraton's new promise
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is putting its money where its mouth is.
The White Plains, N.Y.-based hotel chain, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has started a service that will compensate guests for any inconveniences they might encounter while staying there.
No matter what the problem, company officials say, guests who are not satisfied must tell a hotel employee and will receive either a gift certificate or points toward the Starwood's frequent traveler program.
Missing a bath towel in the room? The guest will get an apology plus 500 Starwood Preferred Guest points or a $15 gift certificate that can be used at the hotel, even toward the room bill.
A larger problem that the hotel can fix, such as an unclean room, gets the guest an apology plus a $25 to $75 gift certificate depending on the hotel's average daily rate.
An even larger problem such as a bad bed or slow room service gets the guest an apology and credit for a free room night or meal or a gift certificate good for one night at another Sheraton.
"People have certain expectations when they travel. They expect things won't go wrong," says Rich Casale, general manager at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner. "If we make some mistakes, we stand ready to compensate our guests."
There are seven Sheraton properties in the Washington area.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.


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