Business owners and customers upset to hear Elgin Mall will close by the end of the month – Chicago Tribune
The Elgin Shopping Center is closing after two decades in business, shocking vendor owners who have been told they must exit by the end of the month.
“We were enjoying the day and an hour before closing time we got the letter,” said Rosa Leal, who owns a business inside 308 S. McLean Blvd. place with her husband, Ezequiel. “It was like a bucket of cold water thrown at us. We are still in shock.
The management company did not explain in the letter why the mall is closing. No one from the company could be reached for comment.
“Tenants of the Elgin Mall, we wish to inform you that we are closing,” the letter read. “It is with great sadness that (we say) the business at Elgin Mall will be closing after more than 20 years. We can tell you that this is not the result we wanted.
Natalie Borjan has worked for several vendors in the mall, most recently for one that sells Mexican imports. She didn’t see the closure coming, particularly because some business owners had just finished renovating their spaces, she said.
“It was overwhelming because he’s been there for so long,” said Borjan, who hopes the mall will stay open but also knows she needs to start looking for a new job.
Jasmine Ballesteros learned the mall would be closing after seeing a post on a social media site.
“If you need anything from Mexico you come here,” said the woman from East Dundee, who has been shopping at the mall for most of her life. “There are a lot of different things, like clothes, jewelry and shoes. I wish they (stayed open).
Despite the news, business was business as usual this week for most visitors to the mall, which resembles an outdoor market or bazaar and sells everything from toys and colorful Mexican folk clothes to religious statutes, paintings and decorations. There are also hair and eyebrow waxing salons, shoe repair shops and a few restaurants.
Behind the scenes, business owners are trying to figure out what to do and if anything can be done to avoid closure.
The tenants met this week to share information and decided to speak with a lawyer to determine their rights as tenants, if there are other rental options and if they could get more time before having to uproot their business.
They also want to know if they will get their deposits back and if they have to pay rent this month, they said.
“The solution right now is to get organized. What we don’t have is time,” said Daniel Bello, who was chosen as one of the group’s leaders in an effort to get their questions answered.
Leal encouraged everyone at the meeting to stay strong in the uncertainty.
“We are a force. We have to agree. We must be united,” she said.
Gloria Casas is a freelance journalist for The Courier-News.