Advocate editorial board opinion: Regional shopping hub seems to be turning around
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We have written about the Victoria Mall before, questioning whether it was failing because of an exodus of stores and restaurants: the Gap and Old Navy, Luby's, Walden Book Store, Just Dogs Gourmet, Scoreboard Sports Bar and Tracy's Hallmark.
Earlier this year, we were thankful to meet with the mall's owners - John Gibson and Jim Hull - because they assured us the mall was financially strong and new things were on the horizon for the shopping facility.
We think the Victoria Mall is an important hub for our retail business. Residents from all the surrounding counties visit from time to time and spend money there. For this reason, we asked about the mall because we were concerned.
The goal, according to Gibson, was to build occupancy back to 90 percent from the 70 percent it had dropped to.
Now, we are pleased to see Hallmark returning to Victoria Mall with new owners. The new owners - Mr. and Mrs. Dan Aggarwal and family - are from Houston. The store will open up for business Saturday.
And J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is adding a Sephora centerpiece to its store in the mall, according to the store's manager, Brian Patteson.
J.C. Penney began adding Sephora inside its stores in 2006, and now these centers are in about 155 J.C. Penney stores, with Victoria's J.C. Penney being the latest among about 70 of its stores across the nation.
Patteson said the Victoria store is going through a $2.5 million renovation and that the Sephora centerpiece will be added. He said the store should be finished in June.
"J.C. Penney in Victoria will be the place to come see," he said.
This seems to be the beginning of a year's turnaround that the mall owners talked about.
We still think some entity should take the reins officially to promote our retail community - whether it's the chamber, city or convention and visitors bureau.
Our retailers are an important piece of Victoria's economic puzzle.
We are excited. And we think these additions to our Victoria Mall are great. We await more good news from our retail sector
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.