Massa, New York – the center of the st. Lawrence Payless ShoeSource closing, in the spring of this year for retailers, it may be just another one of a serious statistics, another struggling in the shop in a seedy stores disappeared.
For Erica Leonard, the mall manager, it was a call to action. Ms Leonard, frustrated by the store closures and discouraging consumer advice, “just burned the place”. Ms. Leonard went to a local radio station to urge the audience to stop “negative” and start again on shopping.
She handed her vacant storefront to local traders who sold the bourbon maple syrup and carved chainsaws. A local Mohawk tribe opens a special popcorn stand near the empty food plaza. In the space that once housed Sears stores, residents in the area have created a “winter wonderland”, a small village made up of discarded cardboard boxes that used to be fridges.
“We’re not going to sit down and sleep,” says Karen st.hilaire. He helped open the shops that made the goods locally. “We need to find a better future. Don’t tell me it can’t happen. ”
The decline of shopping malls and bricks-and-mortar stores is well documented, reflecting the rise of e-commerce and the changes in the way americans are using shopping. Nearly 7,000 stores closed in 2017, the most in years, according to research firm Fung Global retail & technology.
Seek a second action of market, by swinging their store mixed or increase the entertainment options is facing an uphill battle, because they are attractive to many shoppers may have been worn away.
But the movement to revitalize the st. Lawrence center underscores the more emotional and even psychological challenges that American cities face in their economic transformation. In many places, the desolate halls and the tired Windows of the local mall show the painful reminders of what used to be, and may never come again.
For generations, marciana was a manufacturing stronghold in the northern adirondacks, a magical place far from the interstate highway. Hydroelectric power from the st. Lawrence river attracts aluminum giant Alcoa to run a number of factories here.
The st. Lawrence center opened in the good times of the 1990s. The only mall in st. Lawrence — bigger than Delaware — is a chilly night and there are plenty of places for marsena. The food square was packed with teenagers, viewers and families on Friday dinners. The children rode on a carousel near the entrance.
Canadians bargain across the border. Ron Cook, 60, remembers that the Canadian left their old shoes full of parking lots, so they could wear new shoes across the border and avoid customs.
Mr. Cook, who lives in the nearby Mohawk tribe, spent hours watching his daughters play hockey in the mall’s rink, and now the rink has been closed.
Today, less than half of the 84 stores are occupied. The only restaurant left in the dimly lit food square is Wendy’s.
Marsena has been struggling alongside the mall. Alcoa operates only one smelting plant now.
Liza Akey, 42, who works at the mall’s salon, says: “you do it as aggressively as you can. “But you’re starting to lose hope.”
Many residents see sadness, and Ms. Leonard, the mall manager, sees great potential.
“People will come and tell me that this place will never be like marciana,” she said. “I just stopped listening to them.”
This year, a group of Canadian property developers bought the mall and made some basic improvements: new lighting in the corridors, leaky roof patches, doorman cleaning supplies.
Ms. Leonard took control of the area after she was hired in April. She said she had met a pimp who appeared to take “girls” to nail salons and told a group of teenagers she thought were dealing with drugs that she would let them be arrested.
Harder work is filling empty storefronts and giving residents a reason to return.
She found a new host: a group of residents formed a company North Country Showcase to sell works by local artists. It has filled vacant delivery stores, carved bowls, gloves, cups and miniature wooden reindeer earrings by power company retired technicians.
An Amish farmer who doesn’t drive, sent the handmade fly swatter and other goods to the store. If they sell, he’ll write to him because he doesn’t use the phone, so he needs to do more.
“Frankly, I’m tired of our future being controlled by companies in other places, whether it’s Alcoa or the stores of these companies,” said Ms. St. Hilaire, the company’s President.
The store’s holiday sales are twice as high as Ms. Saint hilaire expects. A customer bought a life-size firefighter wooden statue and stored $700 in a plastic shopping bag.
In selling homemade popcorn stall, Melissa connors (Melissa Conners) said that she got a call from the parents, ask the children’s favorite flavor, because they want to surprised to sneak into the Christmas stockings.
“You can’t go online shopping,” says Ms. Connors, whose business card lists her as a “popcorn expert.”
Lenny Nesbit and his partner, Jason Foster, run an event planning business at st. Lawrence Center, with Elite Events from Lenny. They got some rest for arranging Christmas decorations for the mall. They also raised a 7-year-old son who liked to spend a few moments at the mall salon, and his hair was washed when he watched his father work nearby.
“This is our home,” says Mr Nesbitt. “he put forward the idea of winter wonderland in front of sears.
According to a local public radio station, there has been talk of replacing the rink with a turf field that USES indoor sports, and the station has been paying close attention to the situation in which the mall is trying to regenerate. Some employees recently spotted a group of men in suits who thought the men were working as scouts for the big retailer looking for massena.
Ms. Leonard, the mall manager, is not naive about the challenges facing saint Lawrence. The bon-ton department store plans to close in January leaving another huge vacant lot.
Ms Leonard tried to focus on victory, albeit small. This month, hundreds of people came to see Santa Claus walking through the mall on a giant sleigh, and a girl scout was walking in front of him.
Ms. Leonard remembers seeing a line of lunches at Wendy’s home that day, and the tables in the food square were all filled up.
“It’s the way it used to be,” she said.