AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The new owners of the Staunton Mall gave businesses one month to vacate. That month is up on Christmas Eve, but now owners are telling NBC29 that they have until the end of the year.
Business owners in the Staunton Mall are trying to figure out the next steps, and they’re at various stages of the process.
“We’re not sweating it like we were before, because we think that we have more time than was originally stated because of the law, not because of what the owners are expecting us to do,” said Know Knew Books co-owner Bill Burruss.
They’ve found a new home for their business. They signed a lease just this week at the old Goodwill location down the street. “It’s a move that’s close and one that I think we can make and be in good shape,” stated Burruss.
But the forced move hurt their business according to Burruss. “We started breaking stuff down a week and a half, two weeks ago thus taking sellable merchandise off of the shelves.”
The Military Surplus store Always Be Prepared Outlet was getting ready to open two new storefronts to raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library getting books to area kids. “That was eight months of work and expense,” said owner Terry Leake. Now, he’s packing it most of it up for Goodwill. “At least there’ll still be some benefit to the community,” said Leake.
But Leake and Burrus seem more concerned for their neighbors, like Hot Wok. “Hot Wok down there spent a $100,000 and just opened,” said Leake.
“What they did to Hot Wok was, I feel, criminal,” stated Burruss.
After 21 years in the food court, the Chinese restaurant just moved into a new space. “We spent roughly about five months renovating this place,” said Stanley Xie, whose family owns the restaurant. Xie says they got the letter five probably five days after opening. “It just really sucks to have to move out in such short notice.
Xie says they’re trying to stay at the mall as long as they can, but they too are looking for a new home. " Hopefully we can land a spot somewhere in Staunton since we’ve been in the community for so long,” he said.
Business owners say the community support has been amazing with people reaching out to see how they can help.
The Staunton Mall’s new owners, Staunton EM 2 LLC, does have plans to demolish the main building except for Belk, and redevelop the area.