Decatur Mall May Benefit From Sweetwater Traffic & Shoppers

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Good news for shoppers in the Decatur area. Bed, Bath and Beyond is planning to open a large store in the Decatur Mall soon. It’s good news for mall management who dealt with the recent loss of two primary anchor stores. The reboot of the Sweetwater development has some wondering if there is enough business to go around.

The Decatur Mall, like so many others, has seen retailers come and go over the years. But with the loss of two of its main anchor stores, some people began to wonder about the future of Decatur’s mall.

“Sears has been downsizing for years and the J.C. Outlet stores, when they closed they closed all of them across the country. so neither one of those decisions was specific to Decatur but obviously we got hit by that,” Decatur Mall spokesperson Kelli Batchelor told WHNT News 19.

Other retailers are looking at the mall. Just recently we learned Bed, Bath and Beyond will soon occupy some of the space that was once Dillards. And a huge new family restaurant called Wing Shack will open soon.

But across town the word is out that the Sweetwater development project will include a Bass Pro Shop and eventually dozens of other retail stores. Batchelor says its good news for the mall and all of Decatur.

“There’s definately a lot of good things going on in Decatur and for every retailer that comes to the Decatur market, that’s a win,” Batchelor says. She adds, “Whether its at the mall or where ever it’s at, that’s a win for Decatur.”

Mayor Don Kyle says they’re taking steps with the proposed Sweetwater development to make certain Decatur’s existing business base, like the mall, doesn’t suffer.

“Rather than focusing on the specific kinds of additional stores that had to come in with the Bass Pro, we’ve broadened the range and said okay, we don’t really care what kind of store you bring as long as you’re not stealing a store from what’s already here,” Kyle said in a recent interview.

Management here at the mall tell us they don’t really view the proposed Sweetwater development as competition, just the opposite. They say anything that will bring more shoppers to Decatur will be good for all of the retailers in town.

That new Bed, Bath and Beyond is expected to open this fall at Decatur Mall. Meanwhile, the Decatur City Council is expected to take a final vote on the proposed Sweetwater development project at their April 7th meeting.

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