WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Owners of The BFLO Store were being prevented from entering their store in the Eastern Hill Mall in Clarence and being blocked from moving their merchandise.
According to the store's Facebook post, mall officials told customers and employees to leave around 7 p.m. Monday.
Mall officials then blocked the entrances and chained the doors shut and placed a piece of construction equipment in front of the store.
The BFLO Store owner, Nathan Mroz, said waited for a court order Tuesday to unlock the doors. According to Mroz, a State Supreme Court judge ordered the locks be unbolted and the store be unblocked. The decision came down late Tuesday afternoon.
Uniland Development, the owners of the Eastern Hills Mall, responded to 7 New's request for comment with the following:
“We have taken actions to prevent the BFLO Store from accessing the Eastern Hills Mall following concerns that they were removing unauthorized structural components from the building which include windows, doors, flooring, plumbing, and light fixtures. We find these actions alarming as they could create life safety issues and/or building code violations, and out of an abundance of caution and safety we have decided that this is the best course of action at this time to protect the Mall’s merchants and guests.”
The BFLO Store announced its exit from the Eastern Hills Mall at the end of June. Mroz is getting ready to open a new store at the Transitown Plaza across from the mall site.
Mroz says he has been leasing at the mall for 10 years but couldn't reach a new lease deal and decided to relocate.
“They wanted more money and they didn't get enough from me so they terminated our agreement,” explained Mroz.
Items Mroz removed were from the Buffalo Events Center that Mroz was previously managing next to his store. The center is shared by several businesses.
“They were literally pulling up floorboards and Nate himself the owner with some of his workers moving everything out of the events center — making it in-operational for the foreseeable future,” described Peter Zlotkowski, sales representative, European Lounge, which has now taken over management of the events center.
Zlotkowski shared video he shot of Mroz and his crew pulling out flooring and doors. Zlotkowski says Mroz had light fixtures and a fireplace facade removed as well.
“Capital gains improvements usually stay with the building, so I don't know what he was thinking by ripping out everything -making it in-operational,” Zlotkowski noted.
Mroz tells me his attorneys told him he had the rights to the items he pulled because he invested $2 million into the space.
But in leasing a building, the materials are not supposed to be removed.
“Now I agree, sometimes in a leasehold improvement those items will say and we're not looking to rip out toilets and we're not ripping out those types of things where the rumors started,” Mroz replied.
According to Mroz, the judge also ordered him to stop removing items, like specific fixtures until both parties or the court decide if items can be removed.
Late Tuesday afternoon the store was reopened for business.
Mroz says they are still planning to move forward with opening celebrations at his new BFLO Store Saturday on 716 Day.