More stores close at mall


Two more stores — Old Navy and Charlotte Russe — will close at the Upper Valley Mall at the same time as one of its anchors is in its final days.

Although Upper Valley Mall Manager Brenda LaBonte didn’t name a time frame for the Charlotte Russe vacancy, she confirmed that the 16,500-square-foot space Old Navy occupies will become vacant this month.

Elder-Beerman, which has been in the mall for more than 20 years, is also closing this month. A hand-written sign on the sliding glass doors at the store’s mall entrance on Tuesday directs customers to enter through the doors off the parking lot.

Phone calls and emails to corporate offices of Old Navy and Charlotte Russe weren’t returned Tuesday.

The loss of both stores at once was due to their leases expiring at the same time, LaBonte said, and the overall demand of shoppers.

Declining comment on the mall’s overall percentage of occupancy, she said “the health of the mall is good.”

The mall’s health was on the mind of Penny Forman, who, wearing an Old Navy sweatshirt, had just left the store with bags full of bargains.

“That’s not the way you like to get clearance items,” said Forman, a regular Old Navy shopper from Bellefontaine who says she has bought and kept some of the store’s annual Fourth of July clothing.

“We choose to come here a lot of times over Columbus,” she said. “We’re worried about what that indicates for the rest of the stores here.”

It’s difficult to say how the vacancies will affect the Upper Valley Mall because each market is different, said Jesse Tron, a spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers. But nationally, mall vacancies increased dramatically during the recession and are just recently beginning to level off.

“We finally have gotten to a point where it’s level if not slightly decreasing,” Tron said of mall vacancies.

Typically, although it may not be good news for a mall, smaller stores that don’t serve as anchors are easier to replace, he said.

Even an anchor store like Elder-Beerman is not impossible to replace.

More often during the recession, malls have found ways to split the vacant space between two smaller stores, he said, to become more attractive to potential tenants and drive foot traffic.

Springfielder Jessi DeHart called Old Navy “one of the few ones I would go shopping in” at the mall. DeHart, who has bought clothing for herself and two boys at Old Navy, said she would now be more likely to drive to Fairfield Commons or another mall for more options.

Although she said she’s not a big shopper, DeHart’s mother, Bobbie Garrett, said she’d still stop by the mall to see what was available.

LaBonte said 2012 was overall a good year for the mall and said an expansion at MC Sports allowed it to do exceptionally well in sales of hunting and fishing equipment.

“We go through waves of certain stores leaving and we find stores to come in, and it’s been that way since the mall opened,” she said. “Consumer confidence recently has been down nationwide, (and) that has definitely affected shopping from coast to coast.”

She said Charlotte Russe staff does a great job maintaining it and said, “we’re definitely sorry to lose Old Navy. It’s a beautiful store, well run, and they have great merchandise at an excellent price.”

Other store managers and operators seemed to take the news in stride.

“We hate to see any retailer leave, because that always drives footprints into the store,” said Darryl Yount manager of the mall’s Sears store. “But we feel good,” he said. In what he described as a volatile retail environment, “we’ve had a strong year.”

Donna Graves, who with her husband owns the specialty store A Taste of Gourmet and More near Old Navy, said the store “will be missed, but I’m not overly concerned.”

In the year-plus the Graves have been there, “the mall has been wonderful to work with,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize what the mall means, especially to older people.”

Staff Writer Matt Sanctis contributed to this story.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Tips for buying items at local festivals
Tips for buying items at local festivals

Late summer and fall is the prime time for festivals in the Miami Valley. Many of these offer bourbon chicken, lemon shake-ups, Ferris wheels and an overwhelming number of vendors. If you’d like to purchase beautiful handcrafted goods and other items at these events, Better Business Bureau wants you to consider these tips: ...
Quality available at thrift stores and community colleges
Quality available at thrift stores and community colleges

Don’t let your love of fashionable footwear break the bank! Here’s how to get gently used Michael Kors, Casadei and Burberry for outrageously low prices. Next time you need a pair of shoes for a night out on the town, you’d be wise to visit your local thrift store. At a recent check to a metro Atlanta area thrift store, we found some...
Moraine-based wholesaler celebrates growth, new office
Moraine-based wholesaler celebrates growth, new office

Moraine-based Winsupply Inc., one of the largest distributors in the nation, has opened a new Winsupply company in Franklin, Tenn., its fifth new company of 2017. Winsupply of Franklin will serve plumbing contractors in one of the fastest growing markets in the United States, and throughout greater Nashville, the company said Friday. RELATED: ...
Dozens of Joe's Crab Shack restaurants abruptly close
Dozens of Joe's Crab Shack restaurants abruptly close

Dozens of Joe’s Crab Shack locations across the United States abruptly closed without warning amidst its parent company’s bankruptcy proceedings. Calls to a location in Duluth, Georgia, went unanswered Thursday afternoon, and restaurant review site Yelp deemed it closed based on user feedback. The Gwinnett site is also not listed on...
Wright State gets grant for opioid addiction training
Wright State gets grant for opioid addiction training

An $80,000 federal grant will help train local phyisicians on medically assisted treatment of opioid addiction. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was awarded it to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, along with a $499,095 grant toward the school’s primary care curriculum. The one-year supplemental grant toward...
More Stories