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Southridge Store Closing :-(

Posted: February 22, 2013

Southridge Store Closing :-(

Sad news, everyone:  The Board Game Barrister store at Southridge Mall will be closing in April.  The precise final day is not yet settled, but it appears that we will need to vacate by April 20th, so our last day open will likely be April 7th.

The Southridge store really appeared to be attracting and serving a great community of people, and was doing just fine.  So why is it closing?

You may have seen the news earlier this week that there are some stores that are remodeling at Southridge: Journal Sentinel article, Business Journal article, Patch article.

This is all pretty good news in general, and I suppose it is good for Southridge.  However, the part that reads "Victoria's Secret, located on the lower level near Macy's, will also remodel, and reopen in fall" is bad for the Board Game Barrister.

Because while Victoria's Secret is remodelling their main store, they will operate a temporary store.  This temporary Victoria's Secret store will be space 1760.

Unfortunately, space 1760 is currently our spiffy new Board Game Barrister store, so we have to move to make way for the temp Victoria's Secret store.

Southridge has offered a limited set of options for us to move within the mall, each of which proves unworkable:

- We could move to a much smaller space that could not host events.  This might be ok if we could run events in an under-used hallway like we have done previously at Bayshore for years.  Unfortunately, this proves unworkable because the Southridge GM will not allow us to setup tables and chairs for our events in the hallway.

- We could move to a similarly-sized space near Macy's, if we had assurance that we would not be relocated yet again in 2013.  Here, I was told that the space was both not guaranteed to be available in time for us to move there, and was already under lease negotiations with some other national chain such that we would likely have to move again by fall.  This seemed unwise to pursue.

Since we have to move our store out to make way for the temp Victoria's Secret store, but because there is no place for us to move to and continue to provide the Board Game Barrister experience that we came to Southridge to provide, therefore the Board Game Barrister store at Southridge must close.

Ok, those are the facts, in as non-judgemental-yet-complete a form as I can compose them*.  Let me try to anticipate and answer some questions:

Can Southridge do this?

Yes.  In mall-land (as opposed to main-street-land or strip-center-land), most large mall landlords insist on the ability to move (or remove) non-national-chains to make way for national chains.  (Sure, there is a bit of gloss to this statement, but without getting into a bunch of technical legal and contract bits, it is essentially true and accurate.)  Whether it is good or fair are questions for discussion, but forcing our store to close is within Southridge Mall's right.

Why would Southridge do this?

My suspicion is that there is a structural bias in favor of national chains and against local merchants at Simon, the large company that owns Southridge.  This is merely a suspicion, however, and I am not about to pretend to be privvy to their internal reasoning and mechinations.  If you find a solid, documented, first-person explanation, however, please let me know.  If your source is willing to be quoted, I would love to include their response here.

Will the Southridge store move to some other location in the area?

Unknown.  I'm working on it.  I hope to find a suitable location in the Southridge vicinity, but time is short.  I figure we have about 3 weeks, maybe 4, to find a location and agree on a lease.  That is a crazy short period of time.  But, hey, we sell games and toys for a living - crazy is part of the job.  I have hope, and will continue to have hope.  For 3 more weeks.  Maybe 4.

It was such a nice store.  Wasn't it doing well?

The Southridge store was doing just fine.  On-par with or slightly-better than Bayshore was at the same point in its existence.  The Southridge store's closure has nothing to do with its performance.

Isn't this a kick in the teeth?

Yup.

What about the Board Game Barrister store at Bayshore?

Everything is peachy-keen at Bayshore.  Only good news from the North Shore.  Indeed, I shall be able to make a really nice announcement about that store soon.  But that bit isn't final, so I can't say anything.  Yet.

If you have questions, concerns, laments, or brilliant ideas, please share them.  You can email me directly at GBL@BoardGameBarrister.com or from the Email Us link from our website, or drop us a line on our Facebook page.  Or stop by the store and say hello - we'd love to see you at the spiffy Southridge store before we have to close it all up.  The Southridge chapter in the book of the Barrister was shaping up to be a happy one, but now it is coming prematurely to a sad ending.  Time to start planning for what comes next.

More details when I have them,

-Gordon B Lugauer, "the" Board Game Barrister, himself

*Note: this is edited somewhat from the original announcement.  Mary Mokwa, General Manager of Southridge Mall, did not agree that my original announcement met my goal of being even-handed.  As a courtesy to her, I have added some of the additional twists-and-turns details.  The cause and effect, however, remains unchanged.