WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — The only thing worse than too many people is none at all.
“Without the support of the community, we wouldn’t survive,” said Dee Miller, founder of Hope Project WNY, located inside the Eastern Hills Mall.
Foot traffic seems to solve all those problems though, no matter how frightening they may be.
“Before October started, we were just a couple of months away from closing,” Miller said.
“Look at it, it’s wonderful,” said Amy Lasker, who leases the space for Amy’s Empty Nest Wreaths.
That’s especially the case when filled hallways were once a distant memory.
“People are surprised how many stores are actually filled here and I think people are excited that it is filled again, Lasker said.
Of 60 spaces at the mall, 59 are now occupied.
“The Broadway Market, if you’ll recall had to lean through several, many of their merchants. They came to Eastern Hills Mall,” said Eastern Hills Mall General Manager, Russ Fulton. “Those merchants who were Broadway Market have been my best testimonial ever. They told two friends which then told two friends.”
Now, 80% of those spaces leased are local businesses.
They’ve contributed to the perfect formula for success, one that just so happens to include re-locating the DMV to the front of the mall.
“If nothing else happens on a given day, (the DMV) is bringing in 700-1,000 transactions a day,” Fulton said.
The Beyond Van Gogh exhibit which got to Buffalo in August is also part of that equation.
“Well over 100,000 guests have already gone through,” Fulton said.
The exhibit will leave at the end of November, but the mall has applied to keep it through the spring and is still waiting for a response.
Fulton says those small businesses will remain a priority even during the mall’s transformation under Uniland Development.
“We have announced our redevelopment with will be coming very soon,” Fulton said. “The question always is ‘well do we get the boot?’ And that is not the answer. It is locals and our regionals are who have kept us alive but have made us this success.”
Published by WGRZ