JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - First Belk and now Sears.
It’s the second major department store closing up shop at Regency Square Mall after reporting losses at dozens of stores nationwide.
But once its Regency location closes for good, the void is raising questions about what’s next for the embattled mall.
“I was so sad. I love Sears,” said shopper Debra Joshua.
While the news of Sears’ departure is disappointing, it’s not all bad news for Regency.
Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, who represents Arlington, said the mall is already looking for ways to reinvent itself.
“I was really pleased that Impact Church is moving to Regency. That's going to be so huge and we're so excited for them, and with them and the outlet center that's going to be there,” said Morgan.
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International Décor Outlet is set to move in to the west portion of the mall while Impact Church will take Belk’s old spot.
The church alone has at least 4,000 members. With that many people, and potential customers, Morgan said she’s confident more businesses will come.
“It's going to be an inviting kind of atmosphere; that's what we need at Regency again,” said Morgan.
Long-time Regency shoppers such as Debra Joshua said not to count the mall out just yet.
“There's opportunity there,” said Joshua.
The employees who are being laid off at Sears will have the chance to apply at remaining Sears stores on the Southside and Orange Park as well as remaining Kmart stores. Those who are eligible will receive a severance package.
Sears has been at its Regency location for 35 years.
The store will begin its liquidation sale on April 29.
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