Four new local business plan to open locations in the Upper Valley Mall over the next few months as the mall looks to fill spaces vacated by national retailers in recent years.
The new businesses include a costume jewelry store, a locally owned discount retailer, a cosmetic business and a driver’s education school. The Tango Yankee Burger Co. restaurant also recently opened in the mall.
The mall has increasingly provided space for small, local businesses as national retailers and longtime anchors have closed. Earlier this year, Michigan-based retailer MC Sports filed for bankruptcy and said it would close all of its stores, including at the German Twp. mall. Chakeres Theaters Cinema 5 also closed earlier this year after serving as a tenant near the mall’s entrance for about five decades.
The mall has tried to attract small, local businesses instead, including Sheer Perfection, a new hair salon and Unique Furnishings Plus, which opened earlier this year and sells antique and hard-to-find furniture and other items. Malls across the U.S. are facing similar challenges as the retail industry is undergoing major upheaval, said Brenda LaBonte, the Upper Valley Mall’s general manager.
The four newest stores include discount retailer Upper Valley Values, Envy Permanent Makeup and Micro Blading, and Paparazzi Jewelry and Accessories, which specializes in costume jewelry that costs $5 or less. Cross Roads Driver Training Center, a driver education program, has been in business since 2015 but recently moved into the mall.
“With the changing retail environment and the vast number of retailers closing across the country, we are excited to add these four new tenants to recently opened stores including Shear Perfection, Unique Furnishings Plus and Tango Yankee Burger Co.,” LaBonte said. “Having local one-of-a-kind tenants as well as those with mainstream merchandise including our well known national retailers offers shoppers a selection of merchandise and uses not always found elsewhere.”
Local leaders also continue to work with Buxton Co., a Texas-based consulting firm to identify and attract retailers that would be a good fit for Clark County. While no deals have been finalized, Clark County officials have had numerous discussions with national retailers that should eventually draw more business here, said Dennis Maher, director of sales for Buxton.
County officials last year approved a $50,000, one-year contract for Buxton to generate leads for retailers for Clark County. Most of the focus so far has been on the area near the mall and near a proposed Kroger Marketplace development south of Interstate 70, Maher said.
TomHale, executive director for the Clark County Land Re-utilization Corp., also known as the land bank, recently attended the Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Nevada to meet with potential retailers.
“I know they’ve been talking t0 a handful of retailers in regard to that mall site,” Maher said. “That is definitely trending in the right direction.”
The land bank spent $250,000 to buy and maintain the former Macy’s store at the Upper Valley Mall. Hale couldn’t be reached for comment about any progress marketing that property.
Convincing retailers to open a new location can take anywhere from six months to two years in many cases, Maher said.
“There’s a lot of different things that need to be checked off prior to getting that letter of intent,” Maher said. “It’s a complicated process for retailers to look at a market and really show whether or not they’re going to be successful.”
Rachel Monroe already operates a cell phone repair business at the mall, but is also opening Envy Permanent Makeup and Micro Blading in August. Her iRepair business has been open at the mall for five years.
“Having them side-by-side will help, too, because when people come into iRepair, they’re going to see the salon as well and know that there’s more here,” Monroe said.
Keven Back, co-owner of Upper Valley Values, said his business is similar to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. The store will mostly sell new items from cookware to camping gear at steep discounts. It will take over a space left vacant when Rue 21 moved to nearby Bechtle Avenue.
“Maybe retail isn’t doing well but those spaces are still available and this is our community,” Back said. “I think there’s still life here that people are missing and our hope is to drive more business to the mall.”
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