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Photo: Erica Pandey/Axios

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Struggling with declining foot traffic, traditional mall retailers are debuting gimmicks and side businesses to get shoppers through their doors.

What's going on: Columbus' Easton Town Center, a massive outdoor mall, has become a testing ground to see if these ideas work. There's a nail and hair salon is inside of a DSW shoe store, and an ice box in Eddie Bauer, allowing customers to see if the brand's jackets will really keep them warm.

  • The ice box was inspired by Eddie Bauer himself. In the 1920s, he would step into Seattle restaurants and ask if he could stand in their meat locker to test out the jackets he was making.
  • In Columbus, the box faces the street and includes a big bench made of a block of ice. Right outside the door is a rack with several Eddie Bauer jackets to try.
  • It's especially popular on hot summer days, store manager Eric Gorenz told me, when people use it as a quick way to cool off.

Go deeper

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate pulls all-nighter on amendments to COVID relief package

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a marathon of amendments overnight into Saturday morning.

The elusive political power of Mexican Americans

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.