I hadn’t realized how bad the economy was until I stepped into Arnot Mall, Horseheads New York last Friday morning.
Here we are, just before eleven o’clock and the mall is close to deserted.
And it is just as deserted in the other direction.
Many stores are empty, not closed.
A closed store has the lights off but the displays are evident. Closed stores have a black-cloth screen placed behind the window.
We don’t get to see an empty shell.
In the photo above, the five large window bays are given over to a display of trophies, but it’s not a trophy store; it’s just a display to fill in a long and empty storefront.
I estimated about 25% of the stores were vacant.
We moved into The BonTon (but JC Penney and Macy’s was little different.
It is eleven o’clock, one week before school restarts.
Where are all the mothers and teenage kids being dragged in for new clothes for school?
There’s no-one in sight, not a shopper, not a clerk.
One hour later, in conversation with a clerk in Macy’s, I learned that a new mall had been built and that "Many stores moved into the new mall”.
That might explain the closure of store fronts in this mall.
But it doesn’t explain the absence of foot-traffic both in and out of the large department stores.