'The Shopping Shift:' Why ShoppingTown and Great Northern Malls are in trouble

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Mike Theiss owns University Sports Shop in Destiny USA, Great Northern Mall and until April, he owned one in ShoppingTown Mall.

Theiss decided to close the DeWitt store, after a series of other stores, including anchors JC Penneys and Macy's, left the mall. The empty mall wasn't bringing in the customers and Theiss was losing money.

"They all had kind of the same feeling that it was kind of a sinking ship and people were jumping, diving for the life boats," Theiss said.

While it still makes a profit, Theiss is also monitoring the situation at this Great Northern Mall store, where he's seeing the same decline, but behind a few years.

Analysts estimate that 1 in every 4 malls in the United States will close by 2022, mainly because of the oversaturated market and internet shopping. 

Megan Lawson-Clark, a professor of fashion studies at Cazenovia College, says: "It's saturation of the area, just like having so many malls in this small area in Upstate New York. It's just too much for this area."

It's not the first shopping shift that's happened in Central New York. Harkening back to another time, Professor Karen Steen says, "You would do your holiday shopping downtown on Salina Street and then with the growth of the suburbs and different regulations in terms of taxes, the malls moved outside, they moved to the suburbs where the people were." 

Now, the people are online.


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