Number of stores in southern Illinois mall shrinking
The Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion, Illinois is a focal point in the community, but it is shrinking.
Local 6 visited the mall and counted 26 spots that are empty, for lease or closing, and only 27 open stores.
The owner of The Learning Zone, Lisa Slinkard, says all of it, the books, the toys, the puzzles, is for the children.
She opened the store 12 years ago to help stay connected to children after a fulfilling career as a daycare teacher.
But on March 31st, it is all over.
“Got a letter Saturday that told us they had terminated the lease. Tried to find out, and have received no answer from the mall,” said Slinkard.
Slinkard said she does not enjoy leasing from the mall anymore, but that it was not always that way.
“When we first came into the mall, it was like a family,” said Slinkard.
She says the mall has not been the same since it changed owners five years ago.
“There’s five or six of them and I think there’s bickering among them. I think there’s not real good communication with the mall office,” said Slinkard.
Now, Slinkard is fed up.
All of her merchandise is marked down and she has no plans to reopen elsewhere.
“All I’m concentrating on is getting out of here,” said Slinkard.
Local 6 reached out to the mall management and did not hear back.
We also asked Marion Mayor Bob Butler what he thinks of the mall’s situation and he responded in part by saying is has some effect, but he does not expect a big impact on the city’s finances.