Monday, June 24, 2024

Federal Point Shopping Center stores notice drop in business after news of plaza’s demise

Retailers in the mall say business has dropped off since plans to raze the aging facility were approved in January.

Tip Top Frame in Carolina Beach has seen a decline in business since the news of the future demise of the plaza was announced (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
Tip Top Frame in Carolina Beach has seen a decline in business since the news of the future demise of the plaza was announced (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)

CAROLINA BEACH — Business owners in the Federal Point Shopping Center in Carolina Beach have a message for customers, both old and new: Yes, we are still here.

The shopping center has been acquired by GHK Developments, and plans have been approved for the construction of a new grocery store, along with new retail shops. But since the approval of the plans by Town Council and the announcement of the new development, business has been slow for the tenants of the plaza.

Related: Carolina Beach approves Federal Point development over Harris Teeter’s objections

Skip Sprague owns Tip Top Frame which is housed in the shopping center and he has noticed a big change in business since word of the future demolition of the plaza.

“As far as anybody here is concerned we are all but dead and buried. I had a very good customer contact me to find out where I had moved to, as he was told ‘there was nothing down there’ except for Maxway,” Sprague said.

Compared to February of 2017, business for Tip Top Frames was abysmal, he said. February was Sprague’s best month in prior years, but this year was different. Business for the entire center has slowed he said, and it is easy to tell with the lack of vehicles in the parking lot compared to business prior to the announcement of the razing of the center.

The stores in the shopping center are in fact open, and will remain that way until construction and demolition begin – after that, the future is a bit less certain.

Sprague said he has talked with the developer and as of now, no decisions have been made as to what will happen to existing leases and tenants.

“Nobody has made any decisions yet that he (the developer) can come out and say with any definite that this is what were going to do. This is why were sort of just hanging in limbo, wondering do we go find another place, are they going to buy the leases?” He said.

Sprague said he understands the reason for the uncertainty, and does not blame the developer for not having a definite answer yet, but it does make planning for the future difficult. Purchasing items like business cards and other promotional needs could possibly cease to be relevant if he is unable to maintain a space at the new development.

His hopes are to be able to maintain his store in the new shopping center once it is developed, but if that does not happen, Tip Top Frames will continue to operate at a new location. Sprague said he has scouted a few locations nearby and has plans to move if necessary.

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