Officials for the parent company of a Piqua mall say the shopping center will be able to continue operations and bounce back despite a growing number of store closures.
The announcement that Payless ShoeSource will close all of its roughly 2,100 stores in the country is just the latest example of a changing retail environment.
One of those stores is located inside the Miami Valley Centre Mall, which has lost several businesses, including two of its anchor stores.
“It’s sad that everything is closing down,” said Felicia Wright, who shops at the mall. “Because it’s been convenient for people who live up this way.”
“Recently, it’s been pretty dead,” said Amber Schaffer, another shopper. “There’s been nobody in here ever. Stores just keep leaving. I know FYE and Sears just recently closed.”
Bill Staebler, director of retail development for Mid-America Management Corp., which owns the Miami Valley Centre Mall, said the company is working to fill the mall’s vacancies.
“We’re very disappointed to lose Payless,” Staebler said. “It’s the retail environment we’re in, I’m afraid.”
Some spaces, such as the former Sears and Elder-Beerman locations, may be reconfigured for other uses, he added.
Schaffer said she would like to see more activities at the mall for families.
“I have my four children,” Schaffer said. “It’d be great to have somewhere to take them inside to do something, especially during cold weather.”
Shoppers who spoke with 2 NEWS said they’re hoping the mall can turn things around so they don’t have to continuing commuting farther to shop.
“It’s nice to have a mall that’s closer to this area,” Wright said. “In order to go to a mall, you have to drive up to Fairfield Commons or maybe even Springfield.”
“It’s been going downhill the past ten years, but hopefully it’ll turn around,” said Lucas Tauscher, another shopper.
Some Payless stores could shut down as early as March, with the rest expected to close in May, according to the company.