The announcement came Wednesday morning by way of a 44-word statement. The Dillard’s at the Southern Park Mall in Boardman will close no later than May 14.
Dillard’s now joins Sears as the second anchor store to leave Southern Park, which has people concerned about the future of Boardman’s big mall.
The statement from the Dillard’s corporate spokesperson read:
Following the announcement to store associates at Southern Park Mall this morning, we are confirming the upcoming closure of the location. The store is expected to close no later than May 14, 2019. Including Southern Park Mall, Dillard’s currently operates 14 locations in Ohio.”
Tom Gober owns Gracylane, a boutique in the Southern Park Mall.
When mall management denied our news crew access to the property, he met us at the Fire Fox Cafe catty-corner to Dillard’s, where Manager Mariella Marino allowed us inside.
“I heard the news this morning and, of course, it’s very disappointing,” Gober said.
“I think it’s bad for businesses right around the mall,” Marino said.
The space now occupied by Dillard’s started as the Joseph Horne Company not long after Southern Park opened in 1970.
“It’s actually a very exciting time for us,” said Brian Gabbert, who manages Southern Park for Washington Prime Group, which has owned the mall for five years.
Washington Prime Group also owns 110 other malls and shopping plazas.
We talked to Gabbert last week for a 27 Investigates story about the future of our area’s malls — that’s airing next week.
When asked about the future of Southern Park Mall in light of the Dillard’s announcement, Gabbert said Washington Prime Group is still committed to Boardman.
“From the very top of our organization all the way down, this is a Tier One property for us and they are completely, 100 percent committed to making this a viable location for shopping, for families, for community for many, many years to come.”
Gober aIso has a Gracylane at Eastwood Mall in Niles. He said he will “absolutely” keep his store at Southern Park.
“The malls are in the process of reinventing themselves, and I’m confident the Southern Park Mall and the Eastwood Mall in this area are looking for ways to reinvent themselves.”
Marino said she shops a lot and that’s why she’ll miss Dillard’s in Boardman.
“I love this Dillard’s, yeah. Especially with our business. If I needed to go grab an outfit quickly across the street, or makeup or something, it was right there. So I’m very sad that it’s going.”
Dillard’s issued a notification with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, stating 123 people will lose their jobs when the Boardman location closes.
Dillard’s still has a clearance center at the Eastwood Mall and said no changes are planned there.
Dillard’s operates 26 clearance centers that receive clearance merchandise from the company’s 265 full-line locations.
WKBN 27 First News Anchor Stan Boney has been working on a story about the future of our Valley’s malls, which is set to air next Tuesday.