Green Acres Mall ends leases on 18 of its stores

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“Supposedly, Century 21, another big department store, is taking over this space,” a third owner said. “Does this mall really need to be pushing out owners from places like Valley Stream and Elmont, all in favor of another giant company? We have Macy’s. We have Penny’s. We have more than enough of those stores.”

He said he believed the move would have a negative impact on shoppers. “This deprives shoppers of having more choices — it will box them in,” he said. “What will they find at this new store that they couldn’t have found in any other big-box store? Retailers like the ones they’re forcing out give the mall a personality, a uniqueness. It’s just going to become cookie-cutter.”

Some shoppers at the mall in the days after Christmas said they were sad to see so many stores advertising everything-must-go sales. “Walking through here, it’s pretty far from uplifting,” said Lisa Sanchez, a Valley Stream mother who said she visits the mall frequently. “I shop at bigger stores often, but if that’s what they’re putting in, I don’t like it. We need to be supporting small business.”

Gary Dudin, of Elmont, said he thought the decision was a fair one. “It’s the open market,” he said. “If that’s what the mall and the store want to do and it’s not in violation of any contracts, then they have every right to do it.”

Business owners said that the most difficult part was saying goodbye to employees and customers as the holidays came and went. “We had to lay off all of our employees,” said one. “It was like saying goodbye to half a dozen members of your family. It was so hard to do, especially given the time of year. You spend so much time with these people. You help each other out. It really is like a family.”

She said that the only thing left to do was find a new location, but that poses its own challenges. “We’ve had some offers to move to different temporary locations, but that’s an issue in and of itself,” she said. “Between getting word out about a new location, moving inventory, doing any repairs that need to be done — it’s a huge undertaking. I really don’t know if our business will be able to survive.”

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