JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — Black Friday is less than two weeks away now and holiday shopping has already begun in our area.
Despite many businesses leaving the Oakdale Mall in recent years, some smaller retailers are optimistic about business this holiday season.
Many people say they’re visiting the mall less, now that big box stores have left.
“That’s been part of the problem, the stores I used to come for, Macy’s, Gymboree, Bonton, are gone,” said Christine Catarella of Vestal.
One store owner told 12 News it’s not a complete ghost town yet, but he expects it to be in the next couple year, especially with Vestal’s hopping scene.
“I feel bad for them, because there’s so many other stores and living in Vestal I’m right by the parkway so I can go down to Town Square Plaza, I can go Target Plaza, I can go to Kohl’s, I can do Michael’s and all of them and they have a lot of the same things, unfortunately, as the mall. And it’s closer for me,” said Catarella.
Meanwhile, some employees at stores within the mall, say they’re ready to welcome holiday shoppers.
“We wait for the holiday season, we can’t wait and we’re always adding product to each of our lines,” said Shop 607 employee Marilyn Strosberg.
“We expect it will be very busy up here too because we still have approximately about 60 stores here in the mall and a lot of people still like to come to the mall to stay out of the cold,” said All About Collectibles employee Dan Green.
The owner of Van Cott Jewelers says without the big department stores there’s actually less competition.
“We no longer have to worry about Macy’s selling jewelry,” said Van Cott Jewelers owner Bill Levine. “It’s not contingent on Macy’s or Sears or Bonton.”
Shop 607 says even though it is located inside the mall, it’s a niche shop that has made a name for itself in the community.
“Shop 607 I believe is a destination now. People are getting to know us and they still want to shop locally and they still want to feel and touch the product,” said Strosberg.
12 News reached out to the Oakdale Mall about what they expect this season but they declined an interview.