Moose Jaw’s Town ‘n’ Country Mall is losing several retailers, but mall management are unfazed and committed to bringing in new tenants.
“The mall will be going through a period of transition with Zellers closing down operations. That’s a case for a lot of properties across the country,” said Richard Michaeloff, President and CEO of Retrocom REIT, the corporation that owns the mall.
“That’s part of a natural transition for shopping centres ... some of the tenants in the centre may be a little cautious in terms of not knowing exactly how it’s going to turn out, but that’s something we are working on.”
The departure of anchor store Zellers, slated to close March 16, has been a cause for concern for several of the remaining tenants, said Michaeloff, but the management team is working through it’s affiliate, SmartCentres, to bring in new business.
Along with Zellers, clothing retailers Suzy Shier and Northern Reflections are also leaving Town ‘n’ Country Mall, Michaeloff confirmed.
Additional stores in the mall were rumoured to be closing, but the Times-Herald confirmed with store management that no other closures are currently expected.
The date of closure for Northern Reflections is Jan. 15, according to a spokesperson for the retail chain who did not want to be identified. Suzy Shier management could not be reached for comment.
Michaeloff said the concerns of tenants are not without merit, but that they should remain optimistic of management’s commitment to attracting new vendors.
“Whenever there’s uncertainty in the air, depending on the individual, sometimes you can get a little nervous. It’s (fear of) not knowing who is going to be in that space a year or 18 months from now,” he said. “Our leasing team ... they’re busy actively having discussions with tenants ... and they’re talking with alternative tenants to occupy the real estate.”
Other officials in the community are cautiously optimistic about the wellbeing of Town ‘n’ Country Mall.
“Any kind of closure affects our business community,” said Brian Martynook, executive director of the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce. “But there are closures, and then new people who start up.”
“I hope to see a more vibrant mall, because tourism is a big part of our economy and a healthy mall helps drive that,” he added. “Anything the chamber can do to help them bring in more business, we will do.”
For more, see tomorrow's edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald.