JEFFERSON VALLEY, N.Y.--The Jefferson Valley Mall isnt going anywhere, and according to mall manager Jeremy Strife, it is planning to integrate with the community more than ever.
Strife said since he first started on July 2 he has heard rumors of the mall potentially closing, or other incorrect rumors about the mall being 50 percent empty, which he said are both untrue.
If you listen to the rumors, and then you listen from this seat, its kind of funny the dichotomy, its very different. Ive been very propelled by the feedback that Ive gotten, Strife said. For the rumors that are out there though, everyone has told me that they dont want the mall to go anywhere, that they want it to be revitalized, its an instrumental part of the business community and their entertainment community.
Strife said among plans to bring in new businesses, are also plans to make the mall seem approachable to smaller and more local business owners, as well as a common area for the community.
Most small business owners think its off limits to them, Strife said. We do take our local leasing tenants very seriously, and its something Im very passionate about, and one that Ive been successful in implementing in all the properties Ive been to.
Strife said theres proof of the malls success even in the stores themselves. Recently Express, Ciao Bella and Lolita opened. Rounders, Encore Shoe Department and a few other stores are all in the process of working out details to secure a store at the mall. Although he couldnt comment on the details, he did say the mall was interested in bringing back a movie theater and a restaurant to the mall.
While he couldnt elaborate on other possibilities for spaces outside the mall structure itself, Strife said mall officials were actively looking into ideas for what to do with the acres not encompassed in the structure, such as some outdoor and seasonal activities.
Simon is always looking to best fit the mall to the community and we are in the process now of seeing how that fits, Strife said. To have a 52-acre piece of property right here in Yorktown, right off the Taconic, is a huge asset for us. Not only to draw in traffic to our tenants, but our number one concern is to give customers and tenants a safe environment to do business, to spend time and to be entertained and that is why we are here. And the outside and the exterior of the property is the same.
The benefits of community outreach and community events are two-fold for the mall, Strife explained. They serve to bring attention to the mall and its tenants, but also to integrate the mall in the community and to gain community support.
For the people who live here and shop here and dedicate their jobs and their lives and their monies to this area, namely the volunteer emergency services and anybody who lives locally or shops locally, we want to be known as a place that is open to them, that interacts with them, on a day to day basis, rather than someone whos just here to be a property tax check, and a sales tax check, Strife said. These are times when we have to do our part to become part of the community, especially with the asset that we have.
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