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.”
RELATED: Clark County plans to target retailers with help of recruitment firm
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.
DETAILS: Clark County land bank to but old Macy’s at Upper Valley Mall
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.
READ MORE: Experts: Clark County mall unlikely to survive in current form
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.”
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has reported on the challenges facing the Upper Valley Mall for several years, including stories digging into the economic factors behind several closings and ways the space could be reused in the future.
By the numbers
$50,000: Contract with Clark County and Buxton Co. to attract retailers here
500,000: Square footage of the Upper Valley Mall property
$2.65 million: Sale price of the Upper Valley Mall when it was purchase in late 2015