UPDATE 01-06-2010 at 5:45pm by Jerry Askin
What used to be a thriving local mall may soon be closing its doors because of foreclosure.
Vacant parking lots, quiet walkways, empty stores and just a few people in the food court is what you're likely to see when you visit the Tallahassee Mall. It's a far cry from what used to be a bustling business,and now the the mall is in foreclosure and up for public sale.
Mall shopper Gwendolyn Kirby says, "I've shopped in this mall my whole entire life and I'd really hate to see this mall close because it's a good place to shop and they have wonderful stores."
Sandra Carter, who also shops at the mall says, "I've come here for 20 years.. I'm surprised."
Carter is not the only shopper surprised to find out that foreclosure documents, filed in December, show that the mall is over 55 million dollars in debt.
Mall worker Lowandra Moore says, "It's not too many places to shop in Tallahassee, Florida anyway because it's a small city and I work here. People will be unemployed in this facility."
Moore say the news of the business possibly closing is scary, because that means she and many other people could be without a job.
She goes on to say, "If the mall closes where will I work? Not too many organizations are open. Everything's closing down. What am I supposed to do?"
She's hopeful that a buyer will step up and she and other workers will not be stepping into the unemployment line.
The mall goes up for public sale on January 26th at 11AM to the highest bidder.
"You know I've seen more and more stores close and I was wanting to find out what was going on with the mall." said Jim Leftheris.
It used to be a Tallahassee hot spot but now, it looks like a ghost town. Several stores have closed down in the Tallahassee Mall, causing many to wonder if it will be shutting its doors for good.
"The mall used to be a nice, fun place, everybody was there, it was very crowded, you could find anything you wanted and not many choices anymore," said David Earley.
There has been a huge decline in mall customers over the last few years and with the exit of Dillards Department store, many retailers followed suit. Mall management says the mall has no intentions of closing, but it is up for sale.
"We will continue to operate the property as a mall and we're here, we're open," said General Manager of the Tallahassee Mall, Steven Darby."
Mall officials did not tell us how many stores are currently up and running. They did say several new businesses are opening in the mall in upcoming months and that community events are in store for the future. Local residents have some advice to help jump-start more business.
"They definitely need to bring in some regular, well known national retailers," said Leftheris.
A spokesperson for the AMC movie theater says ticket sales have not been affected by the decline of mall customers and that moviegoers are still attending regular show times.
Mall officials are hoping to use the old Goody's store for different events including a baby consignment show and a concert this coming weekend.
As of now, the old Dillards and Goody's stores remain vacant, but Mall management says they now will have a haunted house around Halloween time.