A couple of developments at Defiance’s Northtowne Mall have surfaced in recent weeks.
The mall’s movie theaters will close on Thursday, at least under the current film provider, but there is hope for a replacement, according to Mall Manager Teresa Paige. And a new restaurant is planning to open in the food court (see below).
“June 23 will be the last showing,” said Paige of the mall’s immediate movie theater plans.
Paige told The Crescent-News Thursday that movie ticket sales have been down since the coronavirus situation arose in early 2020, and as a result of the ease with which movies can be streamed off the internet “two weeks after they come out.”
However, she is hopeful that negotiations for a new movie provider will be successful.
“We do have a couple of people looking, so hopefully that all pans out,” she said.
Meanwhile, the mall plans to welcome a new restaurant to its food court, which at the moment is filled only by Hot Rice, a mainstay there for many years. LaBo’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese — based on Main Street in Bryan — plans to lease space next to Hot Rice, giving the food court more than one food option for the first time in some years.
“They’re locally owned,” explained Paige. “They’re keeping their Bryan store and just expanding here. We don’t have an opening date. They’ve been working on the restaurant.”
The mall property encompasses a considerable share of retail space on Defiance’s north side, including the new Ollie’s discount store and all the way over to Dunham’s and Pet Supplies Plus store.
The mall-owned properties also includes Advanced Auto Parts — on the other side of Walmart and Great Clips in an adjacent building. (Walmart is a completely separate operation.)
Paige noted that the mall’s anchors, including such stores as Marshall’s, Hobby Lobby and Dunham’s, are filled. Ollie’s is an anchor too, although that store chose not to open its entrance to the mall, she explained.
“Marshall’s does very well, Hobby Lobby is a great asset ... Dunham’s does tremendous,” Paige said generally of the larger stores.
The challenge, she indicated, is filling the smaller stores within the mall. A number remain vacant, but marketing efforts and leasing agents continue to try to fill them, Paige added.
The mall is owned by JJ Gumberg Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa.