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New Threat for Merchants at Chapel Hill Mall

photo of The Gourmet Popper
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
The Gourmet Popper snack bar at Chapel Hill has been around for 15 years. Customers come from as far away as Cleveland to purchase the shop's own spice recipes that are not prepackaged flavorings.

After avoiding a water disconnection this month, Chapel Hill Mall is now facing a possible power shut down if its bill isn’t paid by January 20th. Ohio Edison issued the notice to mall tenants.

About half the stores are occupied at the mall, where the sole anchor tenant remaining is JCPenney.  It continues to attract customers like Kent State student Hannah Kurtz.

“I don’t know why [the mall] is going out of business.  Maybe it’s not in the best area?  I don’t know [maybe] they could remodel it and make it something else? I’m not sure.”

The mall's owner, Kohan Retail Investment Group, has again missed a payment to Ohio Edison. This is the second time in recent months that tenants have been left wondering if the lights will remain on. Rose Harkins owns The Gourmet Popper snack bar and says while the mall's owner has been paying the bills at the last-minute, it’s bad for business.

“The buck stops here. I have no company backing me up, so it’s a little concerning.”

Harkins says her regulars have been coming in to the mall more frequently during the past two months. 

Summit County has begun the foreclosure process on the mall property since Kohan is behind on property tax payments. Akron city leaders say they’ll be proactive to avoid the prolonged, on-again/off-again proceedings that occurred at the old Rolling Acres Mall.