Before all of the excitement of Sunday night’s tornado, I was preparing (in my mind, always the first step) a post about how there seems to be a real increase in the amount of vacant storefronts in White Oaks Mall.
I was in White Oaks Sunday afternoon and the large number of shuttered stores and those having going out of business sales really struck me. I know the Mall has had its ups and downs in it’s 29 year history and their have been large chunks of time I’ve not lived in Springfield and been able to visit the mall but I don’t think that I, personally, have ever seen it this empty.
I was really surprised to see Gloria Jean’s had closed. A store next to it is also gone. Sam Goody’s is having a closeout sale and one of its neighbors is history too. At least one other shop is having a close out and there are maybe half a dozen other dark spaces throughout the mall.
What gives? Is rent to high relative to the other strip malls? Has Springfield finally reached retail saturation?
I don’t think the economy is any worse than it’s been and new retail space is opening all the time. So, I’m not sure what’s going on at the mall. If businesses are struggling there, the interruption in commerce in the mall area due to the tornado and its clean-up isn’t going to help anything.