While shopping malls struggle during coronavirus pandemic, local businesses seeing uptick in customers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – As the rush to reopen businesses continues, some are no longer making plans for the future.

The coronavirus pandemic is crushing malls, as thousands of stores will now close their doors following months without any customers or income.

According to Business Insider, within the past week, The Children’s Place, Zara, Guess, G-3 Apparel which owns Wilsons Leather, and Signet Jewelers, owners of Zales and Kay Jewelers, announced more then 2,100 store will be closing.

This follows more than 700 store closures announced last month by J.C Penny and Nordstrom.

As the pandemic drags on, the number of closures are expected to grow. Business Insider claims about 55-60% of these stores will be in malls.

So where are South Floridians getting their merchandise? Jaime Sturgis, CEO of Native Realty, said people have been focusing on supporting mom and pop stores.

“I think they are going to adaptively repurpose those big boxes and rethink," said Sturgis. "The old model doesn’t work anymore.

"People want to support local more so than the big H&M’s of the world and the Zara’s etc. I think there’s been a shift in preference where people no longer want to be inside these big, dungeonous closed malls all day. They’d rather be outside, enjoy some fresh air and natural light and be able to walk from one location to the next."

Brooke Hasluck from Montce Swim in Flagler Village agrees with Sturgis.

"I think that people love to support small businesses," she said. "It's also a little less intimidating, coming into a small store than a mall."

Montce Swim has been closed for nearly three months and finally reopened their doors, and it's been busy.

“Our sales have been great, we did run an online business during quarantine,” Brooke said. “The beginning was a little slow March and April but in May we really started to pick up Memorial Day weekend.”

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