2 new businesses to open at Upper Valley Mall


Two local businesses will open in the Upper Valley Mall this spring, including a furniture store that will take over space formerly occupied by Elder Beerman.

Sheer Perfection, a new hair salon, is expected to open in a location near the mall’s front entrance near the food court on March 1, said Brenda LaBonte, the mall’s general manager. Unique Furnishings Plus, which will offer antique and hard-to-find furniture and other items, is expected to open on May 1 and will take over the former Elder Beerman store, according to LaBonte and the store’s owner.

READ MORE: Clark County land bank to buy old Macy’s at Upper Valley Mall 

The mall has seen several national retailers close locations at a time when the industry is undergoing major upheaval. In many cases, the mall has tried to replace those businesses with small, locally owned stores.

“We are able to deal with local tenants and make it affordable for them to move in,” LaBonte said. “The old adage that mall space is expensive is not true. We want to get these local stores, incubate them and let them grow.”

RELATED: Store to close at Upper Valley Mall, reopen on Bechtle in Springfield

Unique Furnishings Plus has been open for close to a decade in the Southern Village Shopping Center, but needed more space as it has expanded, said Charles Dean, the business’ owner. The store specializes in finding antique and unusual furniture and other decorative items, but also sells newer items.

“There are people who are looking for top quality stuff,” Dean said. “We think we have it.”

The business has outgrown its current location, he said, and the former Elder Beerman store will offer enough space for a showroom and plenty of storage. Dean said the business would likely use about half the available space in the former department store, and it’s possible he could provide additional space to other vendors as long as they meet his business’ standards.

The current location is about 25,000 square feet, and his store has five employees. Along with additional space, the mall location also provides easier access to his customers from Urbana and New Carlisle, Dean said.

“We want to be a part of helping the mall grow,” Dean said.

READ MORE: Upper Valley Mall faces uphill battle to attract tenants

Marlon Howard grew up working in the salon business in stores owned by his step-mother and his aunt. But Sheer Perfection will be the first business he’s owned, he said. He also said he wants to draw more customers back to the mall and said the salon will offer a wide range of services.

“We thought the mall would be perfect because of all the foot traffic they still have,” Howard said. “I know they’re trying to build that business back up. It’s a perfect location because there are no hair salons there now. All malls need hair salons.”

Last month, mall officials confirmed Christopher & Banks would close its location and reopen this spring in the Bechtle Crossing shopping center in the former Lane Bryant store.

Other chains, including Rue 21 and Kay Jewelers, have also left the mall to open locations on Bechtle Avenue. J.C. Penney and Macy’s left in 2015.

MORE COVERAGE: New business at Upper Valley Mall focuses on offering reduced items

Many national retailers faces challenges as shopping habits change, LaBonte said, and more people make purchases online. She said malls need to be more creative when looking to fill vacant spaces.

“We can’t stay the same and grow,” LaBonte said. “We have to be sensitive to the local retail market and what’s going on. We’re going to be non-traditional.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Oh, boy! Michigan couple with 13 sons adds No. 14
Oh, boy! Michigan couple with 13 sons adds No. 14

A Michigan couple with 13 sons just added another child into the family -- and yes, it was another boy. Jay and Kateri Schwandt of Rockford welcomed an 8-pound, 4-ounce boy Wednesday night, WOOD-TV reported. The boy was born at 5:56 p.m. and measured 21 inches long. He also was five days early, the Grand Rapids Press reported. The Schwandts&rsquo...
These 9 Springfield natives did great things, and now they’re being honored by their alma mater
These 9 Springfield natives did great things, and now they’re being honored by their alma mater

Nine people who graduated from Springfield City Schools will be honored as distinguished alumni tonight. James Bacon, chairman of the Steering Committee, said each person who will be honored earned it through their success in their professional careers and also their service to their community. MORE POPULAR STORIES Springfield schools set to hire new...
’Break out the Kleenex': Family shares cartoon of Barbara Bush, late daughter
’Break out the Kleenex': Family shares cartoon of Barbara Bush, late daughter

Family members of Barbara Bush were touched by a cartoon that shows the former first lady greeting her late daughter in heaven. Marshall Ramsey of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, drew the cartoon of Bush, who died Tuesday at 92, reuniting with daughter Pauline Robinson Bush -- known as Robin -- who died of leukemia in October 1953 when...
How a major 2015 fire and recent building demolition are changing this area of Springfield
How a major 2015 fire and recent building demolition are changing this area of Springfield

The 118-year-old Hursh Container factory in downtown Springfield was demolished on Wednesday, continuing changes in an area that was once affected by a powerful fire. A smaller second building of Hursh Container, constructed in 1952, was torn down previously. The cost of demolition for the two structures and junk and trash removal was about $50,000...
LA Fitness apologizes for racial profiling incident at New Jersey club
LA Fitness apologizes for racial profiling incident at New Jersey club

LA Fitness issued an apology after two black patrons were wrongly accused of not paying at a New Jersey club and were asked to leave, CNN reported. Tshyrad Oates posted videos of the encounter, which occurred Sunday in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Facebook. Oates said he had a guest pass and his friend was a current member. Oates said in his Facebook...
More Stories