HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — The McKinley Mall is left with sparsely filled parking lots, empty hallways, and vacant storefronts. Hamburg Town Supervisor Jim Shaw said the McKinley Mall has seen a steady decline in foot traffic through the years, as one after one anchor tenants like Sears, Macy’s and Bon-Ton have closed their doors.
“When you compare walking through it now versus walking through it 30 years ago, there’s a tremendous difference,” Shaw said.
Shaw estimated 30-35% of storefronts are empty in the McKinley Mall.
“It’s a big concern,” Shaw said.
Ann Rindfuss is a sales associate at The BFLO Store in the McKinley Mall. She said the store is doing better than they were pre-pandemic.
“A great atmosphere in the store and being adjacent to the parking lot. I think that’s helped a lot,” Rindfuss said.
But Rindfuss said there’s less foot traffic on the inside of the mall, and it’s probably thanks to online shopping.
“I know a lot of customers are shopping online. I know a lot of customers have told us they’re shopping early this year,” Rindfuss said.
According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. online sales for September increased 43% compared to 2019. The upcoming holiday season could bring more foot traffic back to the McKinley mall, but with the growing popularity of online shopping combined with the pandemic it still may be less people. Another hit - no Canadian shoppers.
“There will be great reticence on the part of a lot of shoppers to go into enclosed spaces for shopping. So that’s just going to enhance online shopping. That’s going to have an adverse impact on malls,” Shaw said.
Creditors began foreclosing on the mall in 2018, but the past 8 months of COVID-19 have put that on hold.
“As a consequence, things have stayed relatively flat. That’s why we’ve retained an attorney to try and move this process forward and get the property sold sooner as apposed to later,” Shaw said.
Shaw said he can see a bright future for the property, but it involves re-zoning.
“We need mixed usages. We need new and creative ideas for family entertainment. What brings people together and what excites them,” Shaw said.
7 Eyewitness News reached out to Stoltz Management for comment on the mall’s future but did not hear back.