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Let the sun shine in Sandusky

By Joe Centers • Dec 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Jody and I were out and about Saturday doing a little Christmas shopping and enjoying a dinner date for two.

Our travels took us to Avon and then Elyria.  We wanted to stop at Malley’s for some holiday treats and that got us to the Elyria Mall.

What a sad, sad trip that was.

Jody said she remembers when she was young and the Elyria Mall was the place to go. That was before there was a Sandusky Mall.

She talked about an annual fashion show when a cheerleader from each of the local schools would participate. Students would pack the mall and would get to vote for their favorite (of course, they all voted for the girl from their own school). Going to the Elyria Mall was an event.

When we walked in Saturday night there wasn’t a whole lot to see. The once vibrant food court is down to a couple of restaurants. There are three remaining, but just two were open.

We walked around and there were very few stores still open. I just wonder how long it can last.

Even the stores that were open were almost empty, as were the kiosks throughout the mall. 

This should be the time when the malls are overflowing. Take a look at Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted and Southpark Mall in Strongsville. They say you have to make hay while the sun shines and right now the sun is shining.

Except in Elyria.

I’m hoping that won’t happen in Sandusky.

Our local mall — like many malls across the country — is struggling to compete with the internet and online shopping. People are turning their backs on the brick-and-mortar stores for the easier online approach. And with many stores offering free shipping the busiest people the next month (other than Santa) will be the ones who work for the U.S. Post Office, UPS and FedEx.

Word at the Sandusky Mall is of another store closing as Andrews Jewelers, next to the inside entrance of the former Macy’s location, has signs posted advertising its closure and a discount of up to 80 percent on its merchandise.

Andrews Jewelers isn’t the only tenant whose future at the mall is uncertain. There’s been speculation that Kitchen Collection and Ostermans Jewelers also might be on the way out, but there has been no official notification given to the mall owners.

In recent years, the mall has lost prominent tenants such as Sears, Macy’s, Elder-Beerman and Charming Charlie. All four locations remain empty.

Joe Bell, a spokesman for the mall’s owner Cafaro Co., told the Sandusky Register these closures were caused by financial trouble at the corporate level and Cafaro remains committed to the redevelopment of the Sandusky Mall.

We hope the mall survives and flourishes. Any local business is good for everybody.

Let the sun shine. 

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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