AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The new owners of the Staunton Mall gave businesses five weeks to vacate. That deadline was New Year’s Eve. Many businesses are now gone, but some are still moving out, while others are going about business as usual.
“It’s sad for me to even be in here. I don’t like coming here now,” said Video Zone owner Bryant Clements while moving out the last of his fifty games. “This place was packed. Yeah, it was a struggle to try to get rid of everything in such short notice.”
The Video Zone was located in the same spot at the Staunton Mall for 26 years, with 15 of those under Clements. “I just kinda want it all to be over with, you know,” stated Clements
He’d been scraping by through the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were gonna try to ride it out,” said Clements. “But, since they bought the mall and wanted everybody to move out it kind of made my decision of closing for me.”
He couldn’t find cheap enough rent anywhere else. “Everything was thousands of dollars a month and there was just no way I felt comfortable signing a year lease,” stated Clements.
The owner of the military surplus store Always Be Prepared Outlet did sign a lease for a new West Beverley Street location near Little Cesar’s Pizza, and they’re starting to move, but they’re also still selling stuff at the mall. Hot Wok Chinese Restaurant is looking for a home, but is still open and expects to be for another month. And, Maurices shows no sign of packing up. In fact, several businesses now have attorneys involved.
But, for Clements, he’s ready to just put this behind him, and mark the end of an era. " It’s a lot of memories here, lot of memories, yeah.”
Belk is the only store that was not asked to leave the Staunton Mall while the rest of the main building is planned for demolition and redevelopment.