It's hard to tell yet if General Growth really made the right move by dropping the Mall from Natick. There's no doubt that without the word 'mall', you can create a hipper, more interesting brand, but there's no question that the name is sort of vague. Newspapers can talk about the 'Natick expansion', but can they say that 'Santa is at Natick'? Or is he in Natick?
What about the Natick CVS/pharmacy? The one on West Central? No, the one in Natick.
Then again, what other names could General Growth have gone with?
- Natick Mall 2: That's what the expansion half of the mall was called internally until the rebranding turned it into the "2007 Expansion". Extremely lame, and doesn't hint any originality... though it's sister mall in Tysons Corner, VA did start out as "The Galleria at Tysons II".
- Natick Galleria: Plenty of upscale malls call themselves the "Galleria", in honor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. But locally, there's already the CambridgeSide Galleria, along with some enduring memories of the late Worcester Galleria that would be better off forgotten.
- Natick Center: Not bad, but this would have created utter confusion between the two centers.
- The Mall at Natick: Going for something like this would not have been bad... if they weren't going for the same demographics at Simon's The Mall at Chestnut Hill.
- The Shoppes at Natick: Blackstone Valley beat them to it.
- Wonder Bread Mall: Somebody once said that malls are named after what was there before them... Roosevelt Field Mall (Garden City, NY), Fresh Pond Plaza (Cambridge), Mall at Rockingham Park (Salem, NH), and plenty of others if you think about it.
Natick Collection, Natick Court, Old Natick, Natick Corner Center... there were other options, but the best names were gone. And as General Growth attempts to attract the rest of New England to what was once only the flagship of the Golden Triangle, the fact that the center shares its name with the town that it's located in isn't going to matter a whole deal.