The way we shop may have changed forever as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and social upheaval of 2020. Here in Hayward, two men on the front lines of the revolution in retailing are Southland Mall manager Todd Falduti and Costco Business Center manager Randall Urushima. Join us on  Jan 11, as they throw a spotlight on the future of retail shopping.
With more than 100 stores, the mall has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic and was even closed down early in the crisis. While remaining open as an “essential business,” Costco Business Center at the intersection of Hathaway Avenue and A Street, had to learn to deal with massive lines and high demand for certain products from its members. Both have been subjected to overwhelming government regulations, including regular testing of employees and “capacity” restrictions on the number of shoppers permitted at any given time.
And as monster sales tax generators and employers, they are critical to Hayward’s economic recovery.
Southland Mall
Falduti has managed the 56-year-old Southland Mall since 2017 and guided the 1.3 million square-foot facility through acquisition of major tenants such as the Cinemark movie theatres, H&M clothiers, and Round1 entertainment center. The biggest challenge of his career was presented by COVID-19 as he has dealt with closures mandated by health authorities, then partial openings under a variety of restrictions on capacity, social-distancing, and food service.  This year’s mall Santa Claus had photo-ops with a plexiglass shield between him and the kids. He also worked closely with the city last summer as organized out-of-town looters attempted to access the mall, only to be turned away by his security team and Hayward police.
Falduti, has had a career managing commercial properties, including "super-regional" retail centers and Class A office facilities. He has had direct oversight of up to 11 million square feet of regional shopping center operations and capital expenditures. He previously managed large malls including Vintage Fair in Modesto, Jamestown in Alameda, Westfield Mall in Fairfield, and San Francisco Centre.
Costco Business Center
Urushima has been working for Costco since 1987, managing sites in Texas until coming back to manage the Hayward Costco Business in Hayward, where he was born and raised, in 2019.  There are 785 Costco Wholsale stores worldwide (one in southwest Hayward), but there only 15 Costco Business Center locations in the United States, each filled with hundreds of items not found at Costco warehouses. Geared toward restaurants and small businesses, these Costcos don't carry clothes, books, toys, most seasonal items, and other small household items. The local store has co-hosted with the Hayward Chamber of Commerce workshops with the California Restaurant Association and hosted tours of the chamber ambassadors group. Early in the pandemic, long lines of members, masked-up and socially-distanced, stretched outside the building.
The most recent development at Costco Business Center in Hayward was narrow approval by the Hayward City Council last November for addition of a fueling station, just the second gas station approved in Hayward in the last 11 years.