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Shoppers question future of Medina Co. outlet mall after 7 stores close

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 19:42:03-05

LODI, Ohio — Shoppers visiting Ohio Station Outlets near Lodi are questioning if the mall can survive after four stores closed this month and three more are in the process going out of business.

However, Heather Broadsword, the general manager of the outlets, stressed the mall still has 41 stores open and the mall is not closing.

The property was purchased by Namdar Realty Group in December of 2017.

"We are still profitable. We have great stores left that do really well," Broadsword said. "The mall is not going away. Our corporate office has assured us they have no intention of closing this mall and they will do anything they can to help us keep it going."

Levi's, CorningWare, Appalachian Outfitters and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory all closed in January.

Bass and Jockey have store closing signs in their windows.

The Gymboree outlet shop is also shuttering its doors. The children's clothing company filed for bankruptcy this week.

Ed Gozowski, who visited the outlets on Friday with his son on Friday, said he has doubts about the sustainability of the mall.

"I don't think there is going to be much of a future really. I think it'll be gone," Gozowski said.

Corporate decisions, competition from other outlets and on-line shopping are some of the factors contributing to the closures.

But Broadsword remains optimistic about the future. She said 500,000 people shop at the outlets yearly and 2018 sales were up compared to 2017.

She said a retailer that has several locations in Ohio is planning to move into the Levi's space pending the execution of a license agreement.

"We have reached out to several national brands to bring different options in here as well as talk to local tenants in the area and try to bring traffic back into the mall," Broadsword said.

Broadsword said events for children are also planned, including a Valentine Princess Party on February 10. In addition, train rides around the outlet mall will resume in March.

The mall, which is located in Harrisburg Township off I-71, has been open since 1996.

Zoning Inspector Hattie Ziegler said trustees have concerns about the recent stores closings and she expects it will be a topic of discussion during a meeting Monday night.