BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The Desoto Square Mall is closing its doors permanently on Friday, April 30.
A sign on the door advises shoppers the mall is closing. Wadai Abraham, the owner of “Street Scenes” in the mall found out with a legal letter 31 days ago.
“It’s just a business decision on whoever owns the mall and the banks, it’s just a struggle between them,” said Abraham.
Their business decision means he now has to close a store he’s owned at the mall for 21 years.
“From a business standpoint, you’re established, you’d like to stay in your spot and you’d like to stay in business in your location that you grew for years,” said Abraham.
He will move his store to the Ellenton Outlet mall, but this is the end of an era for his business and many other small businesses at the mall. A mall that was thriving when he first opened.
“The mall was very thriving, it was at full capacity and it was really good,” said Abraham.
The recession hit in 2008 and many anchor stores left the property and business never really returned.
“It started picking up after 2010 but it was always deteriorating, deteriorating as in stores leaving and nothing coming back in,” Abraham said.
The mall first opened its doors in 1973 with Ronald Regan even once holding a presidential campaign event at the mall.
Shoppers went to stores like Burdines and Dillards and Sears. Those days are long gone and Wadai Abraham is one of the last store owners remaining.
“It’s sad that mall is closing, but if there is a beginning there has to be an end,” said Abraham.