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Two Liberty Fair Mall stores moving

Monday, August 19, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

As department store chain Marshalls plans to come to Liberty Fair Mall, two smaller stores and a restaurant that have been longtime tenants are leaving.

Electronics retailer Radio Shack closed Saturday and will reopen at Mountainview Plaza, at the intersection of Commonwealth Boulevard and Virginia Avenue, by Wednesday, said Store Manager Katie Lennon.

The Pierced Ear, a jewelry retailer that occupies a kiosk in the mall, is moving to a storefront on Church Street in uptown Martinsville, two doors up from the Holt building, said Manager Rhonda Barrett. The moving process will start Aug. 25, and the new store is expected to open on Aug. 27, she said.

Fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A will close inside the mall on Aug. 24, said Interim Manager Willie Ellington.

All three businesses have been at the mall on Commonwealth Boulevard since around the time it opened in 1989.

Coles Hull, a marketing analyst for the Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC, the mall’s owner, said “we’re not concerned” about the businesses leaving.

“Stores come and go,” Hull said. “That’s the natural cycle of retail.”

“We’re confident that we can attract new retailers” to replace them and the mall will continue to be “a successful retail location,” she said.

At least 20 stores and businesses were in the mall as of Friday, but there also were many empty storefronts.

Hull Storey Gibson has said it is considering a “reconfiguration” of the mall. Possible ideas include demolishing part of it or converting it to a “strip mall” type of shopping center, although no decision has been made yet.

Jonathan Hairston, a Radio Shack employee, noted that customer traffic at the mall has declined.

In his opinion, he said, the mall is “not run down, but it’s not attractive like it used to be” when more stores and restaurants were there.

Lennon said she did not know why company officials decided to move Radio Shack. “Liberty Fair Mall has been very good to us,” she said.

She referred further comment to District Manager Alan Davis, who could not be reached.

Ellington referred questions to Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters in Georgia, but officials there could not be reached.

Based on the recent departures of some other businesses from Liberty Fair, The Pierced Ear was “uncertain about our future in the mall,” Barrett said.

“Nobody told us we had to go,” she emphasized. Rather, “we just felt like it was in our best interest to go.”

Barrett added that she is “absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure we are going to do great” uptown.

Radio Shack employees indicated they are optimistic their relocated store, which is near Walmart, also will do well.

Marshalls and Hull Storey Gibson have confirmed that Marshalls will open a store at Liberty Fair in the former Goody’s space, which is being renovated, beside Kroger. A grand opening is set for Oct. 24, the retailer announced.


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