Will Southern Season closing hurt nearby businesses?

HENRICO, Va (WRIC)–Just one day after Southern Season announced it was closing, shoppers mobbed the store and cleared the racks. Everything is marked 40% off.

But the great deals are still overshadowed by disappointment.

“I was really excited,” says Tera Barry, who lives nearby. “We were going to start this place off with something as awesome as Southern Season, but I’m still hopeful.”

This place is the burgeoning Libbie Mill-Midtown complex. It’s 80 acres designed for stores, restaurants and apartments. The complex is also home to Henrico’s new Libbie Mill Library.

“There’s tons of families that live just on the other side of Broad Street, so I think it’s a great place for business,” explains Amanda Krieger, who lives close to the development.

Krieger wonders, though, what’s going to happen now that Southern Season is closing? It’s the largest store in the complex.

“I hope it doesn’t detract other businesses from this corridor,” she says.

“I think for the short term it will,” Barry said. “But already people are excited by what’s happening here in the near West End, but again I’m hopeful that something good will come of it.”

Dominic Pritchett and his wife Sophia are also concerned.

“So now I’m like is it a halt or what?” says Sophia.

Her husband is a bit more optimistic. “I just think when one door closes it opens up a door for another opportunity,” he said.

Gumenick Properties, the company behind the project, insists everything will keep moving forward.

“Our commitment to completing this community remains firm,” Communications Director Ed Crews tells 8News. “We continue to invest in this project.”

Rutherford insurance is soon moving into a 30,000 square foot space at Libbie Mill-Midtown.

Shagbark opens there next month. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page says it’s hiring and encourages Southern Season employees to apply.

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