TikTok Craze Comes to Boardman with Opening of The Selfie Space

BOARDMAN, Ohio – The newest addition to Southern Park Mall was inspired by TikTok, its co-owner says. Offering 25 distinct spaces for customers to take pictures and make videos, The Selfie Space will open its doors Saturday.

“This was really just like a pipe dream back in November,” Nicole Purington, who lives in Mineral Ridge, said. She and her aunt, Mary Ann Kleese of Poland, are co-owners. 

Purington said she was inspired by looking through TikTok, a social media platform utilized to produce short-form videos. While using the app, she saw selfie museums in larger markets such as Los Angeles, Denver, Miami and Seattle and showed the concept to her aunt. “We’ve been partners since then,” she said. 

The Selfie Space will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6. p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday tickets are $20 for kids and $25 for adults.  

The partners worked with specialty leasing at Southern Park Mall to bring the concept to life in the 6,435-square-foot space formerly occupied by PacSun, said mall marketing director Christina Cleary. The concept fits into the ongoing evolution of malls from shopping centers to lifestyle spaces.

“We don’t want to create just a great retail experience for shoppers. We also want to give them that experience,” she said.     

“Our guests are always changing and evolving, and at Southern Park Mall, we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and experiences,” said Brian Gabbert, mall general manager, in a news release announcing the opening. “We are looking forward to welcoming guests to The Selfie Space while keeping the health of shoppers our top priority and providing the safest experience possible.”

Purington, who graduated from Marietta College with degrees in studio art and art history, created all of the backdrops, from freehand drawing the graffiti in one space to hand-gluing the feathers for angel wings in another. She said The Selfie Space differs from other similar venues she has seen by offering an 1,800-square-foot event space that can be leased for birthday or bachelorette parties or other social occasions. It already has bookings, she said. 

“We are living on social media right now, and it kind of got intensified with the pandemic,” she said. “Everyone was stuck inside and social media … as the way that we keep up with others and stayed close with our family and friends even though we couldn’t see them. This is kind of a cool way to keep social media relevant and have everyone have fun things to do while using it.”

 Cleary sees the venue’s appeal being beyond people who want to post on social media. It also provides an attractive option for local photographers who need space and backdrops for different pictures, including Easter photos. 

“There’s endless options,” she said. “They can target a lot of different audiences and not just target those people who are on TikTok and Instagram looking for their next new post for their social media.” 

Pictured: Nicole Purington, co-owner of The Selfie Space, made all of backdrop designs by hand.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.