NORTHWOOD, OH (WTOL) – With the Woodville Mall closed for business, retailers are searching for a new home. While some are opting to stay in Northwood, other communities have their eyes on them.
The city of Northwood is doing what it can to keep the businesses in town. The city's attorney said they have given out brochures detailing vacancies in Northwood, but he is aware they have no control over who stays and who goes.
The Amish Country Store is hard at work.
"We're getting it done, but it's a lot of work. We're rebuilding everything, starting from scratch," said Kelly Nelson.
The Amish Country Store and several other businesses were left without a home after the Woodville Mall shut down in December 2011. Store owners want to reopen by February, and similar to four other businesses, chose to move to the Great Eastern Shopping Center.
"The biggest share of it was building availability and space availability in a timely manner. We were able to come down here and get right in and get busy and get started, so we could lose as little as we could," Nelson said.
Owners said they know they had the opportunity to move anywhere but one major factor kept them in Northwood.
"We stayed in this area for our customers. We built quite a customer base, just being open a little under a year in the mall, so this keeps us in the proximity of our loyal customers," explained Nelson.
The city of Northwood's attorney said the city has been trying to assist the Woodville Mall's former tenants. They are pushing to make sure businesses in the area will not have to pay for additional fees and licenses.
If businesses do not find what they need in the same city, other communities said they have space too.
"The small businesses coming out of there, we'd like to have them here. If any of the larger businesses choose to relocate, certainly we welcome them to Oregon. We think Route 2 is a great location," said Oregon City Council Member Sandy Bihn.
The city of Oregon borders Northwood and landlords have expressed their willingness to work with the businesses. Bihn said she hopes they will choose to stay in the general area.
"Certainly we want them to stay on this end of the river. So be it Northwood or be it Oregon, that's the first priority," explained Bihn.
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