LIMA — The Lima Mall reopened its doors Wednesday following coronavirus shutdowns, but shoppers will still only be able to visit a handful of stores.
As of its initial opening, about a quarter of the mall’s tenants were open, which didn’t include several big-name retailers.
Buckle, Books-A-Million, Chopsticks Express restaurant, Finish Line, Gold and Silver Connection, Rue 21 and Shoe Dept. Encore were the only stores open for customers to browse. Meanwhile, staples like JCPenney, Bath & Body Works, Maurices and Victoria’s Secret remain closed with no estimated return date posted outside of stores or on the mall’s website.
Other stores, including Macy’s, Old Navy and GameStop, have moved to curbside pickup only.
Buckle manager Amy Deeter said she wasn’t able to speak to how foot traffic was in comparison to an average Wednesday afternoon, but she was pleasantly surprised.
“Our team really didn’t know what to expect just opening up, but people are excited to shop,” she said. “We are just doing our best to sanitize everything and we also have announcements” over the loudspeaker in the store reminding of best practices.
The store has a sign out front recommending facial coverings to match the mall’s overall recommendation while the store’s employees are required to wear them.
She said they have seen a spike in appointment shopping, a service that has always been offered where customers can call to schedule a fit appointment or talk with a personal stylist. In terms of shopper activity, she said most customers were in and out rather quickly instead of taking their time browsing. People seem to have a specific item they need to buy.
Riley Ward, of Elida, and Victoria Whiteman, of Lima, were two of those shoppers. Both high school seniors wanted to find something to wear for their non-traditional graduation ceremonies but wanted to get in and out quickly, which wasn’t an issue given the number of stores open.
“I’m surprised at how much is really still closed,” Whiteman said. “I wanted to get some shoes — and I’m a big book person, so luckily the book store is still open.”
Across the parking lot in Lima Center, Hobby Lobby and Five Below opened Tuesday and remain busy. Kohl’s and ULTA Beauty are also operating curbside pickup, while TJ Maxx and Lane Bryant remain closed.
The mall is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Patrons are encouraged to follow along on social media and the mall’s website for updated tenant hours.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.