Waco’s Richland Mall loses, gains stores

Richland Mall has recently closed or re-located various stores due to a variety of reasons, including expired leases and re-development. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

In the past three months, Richland Mall shoppers may have noticed closings and re-locations of stores, leading to construction and transformations of the mall.

“When you do this in this business, companies don’t want to have any downtime in relocation,” said Kandace Menning, general manager of Richland Mall. “It’s easier to do demolition and re-construction so retailers can have other locations on the property.”

Many of the changes have been in progress over the past 12 months, but the timing, moving and start of construction and closing all took place within the last three months. Menning said the stores that have closed include Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Regis Hair Salon, My Kitchen Collection, Subway, Forever 21 and Kay Jewelers. Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret will both be expanding. A full directory of stores can be found on the Richland Mall website.

Menning said that it is really common for stores to come and go so drastically, partly because of the nature of the mall-managing business and partly because of various economic reasons. Menning said, with the transformations taking place in the mall, she is looking forward to being able to offer customers more of the products they already enjoy buying and providing bigger selections.

“It’s always kind of sad when you lose something unique to the market or something that’s different,” Menning said. “It’s sad when you can’t find the right space and size for a tenant to relocate to.”

The stores that closed had a variety of reasons for closing. Some were because of leases expiring, and some were due to re-development. Menning emphasized the importance of timing with all this. Without leases running out, the opportunity for Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret to expand wouldn’t exist.

“The Richland Mall has a plethora of stores that provide shopping opportunities for people of all incomes,” said Fort Collins, Colo., sophomore Eva Morrison.”However, I was disappointed to find on my last visit that Forever 21 closed and hope that the mall managers are able to replace it with a similar option for college students that is on the lower end of the financial shopping spectrum.”

Menning said in the case of bringing new stores into Richland Mall, it is important to let things happen in sequence because not everyone’s leases expire at the same time, and not every store is willing to relocate. People who are not in the mall-managing business may have been wondering what is happening, but until leases are completely negotiated and details are finalized, Menning said it’s important to not jinx anything.

“It’s just the nature of the business, just the way it goes,” Menning said. “You do your best to fill the property with nice variety and a nice selection for a whole bunch of different types of people. You want to be able to attract different things people are looking for, whether its entertainment, shopping, eating or a service.”