Southridge gaming store forced to close because of lingerie
Being a nerd is no longer nerdy. Admitting a D&D past is no longer an unforgivable social sin, and people can dress up like their favorite fictional characters outside of October. But for every two steps forward in hobbit-footed slippers, there is often one step back. That’s certainly the case with the recent announcement that the successful Board Game Barrister store in Southridge Mall is closing. Why? Is it because the store is losing money? No, it’s doing as well as its Bayshore big brother was at the same time in its life. Is it because the mall is closing? Nope, Simon Mall is expanding out of Southridge lately to bring it up to snuff with other suburban paradises like Bayshore, Mayfair, and Brookfield. So why is a successful store being closed down in a successful mall? Because of fancy underwear.
On The Board Game Barrister website, store owner Gordon B. Lugauer writes about Southridge’s plans for expansion, and how the mall’s national stores are upgrading. One such store, Victoria’s Secret, is opening a temporary store while it upgrades—a store that will be housed in The Board Game Barrister’s permanent space. Why? According to Lugauer:
“In mall-land (as opposed to main-street-land or strip-center-land), most large mall landlords insist on the ability to move (or remove) non-national-chains to make way for national chains. […] Whether it is good or fair are questions for discussion, but forcing our store to close is within Southridge Mall’s right.”
Surely the mall offered options? According to Lugauer:
“We could move to a much smaller space that could not host events. Unfortunately, this proves unworkable because the Southridge GM will not allow us to set up tables and chairs for our events in the hallway. We could move to a similarly-sized space near Macy’s, if we had assurance that we would not be relocated yet again in 2013. Here, I was told that the space was both not guaranteed to be available in time for us to move there, and was already under lease negotiations with some other national chain such that we would likely have to move again by fall. This seemed unwise to pursue.”
With all the “importance of small businesses” chatter coming from politicians, it’s hard to watch a local business getting directly screwed. The bias toward non-local stores in malls is maddening, especially since local names pay the rent during rough economic times. Malls aren’t doing great themselves, and with policies like this, it’s easy to see why local stores aren’t willing to move into those cavernous spaces left behind when big-name retailers shutter their doors. Southridge has plenty of open slots, especially for a temporary move while a store is remodeling. The Board Game Barrister turned a big, empty, ugly space outside Sears into an inviting storefront, complete with a huge space for gaming. With the recent revelation that the lack of convention space is hurting the Delta Center, this shows another reason why GenCon packed up for Indianapolis and never turned back.
The Board Game Barrister is hustling to find a new location, preferably nearby, before April 1. Before then, take a moment to stop in, buy a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards for old times' sake, and then leave the wrapper in the Victoria’s Secret dressing room.