The Ottumwa Courier

Business

July 30, 2013

Mall regains footing with new management, fewer vacancies

(Continued)

When Shettler first took a sales position at a store when the mall was just seven years old, the mall was almost completely rented out.

"Probably our worst was the change when Walmart left ... when it was built down the road," she said. "We went from built-in traffic from Walmart to a big vacancy on the end. But I think the owners recovered quickly when they filled it with Goody's and Dollar Tree."

Sabrina Knapp, who owns Bubba-Q's alongside her husband, said they decided to open the popular restaurant at the mall because of the available space.

"When we were first looking at it, we saw the potential out here that wasn't being taken advantage of," Knapp said. "So we used that and ran with it."

High rent being a hurdle for retailers is a common misconception, Shettler said.

"Rent is based on so many different factors, and I think the new management company is very, very willing to work with each individual business to make it work for both sides," she said.

Financing is always an issue when it comes to opening a business, Knapp said, but it wasn't a deterrent to opening their restaurant.

"That's the thing that took us so long to make the decision was because the particular space that we took over, it had been empty for almost five years," she said. "So we knew there was going to be a ton of work."

Quincy Place Mall gets "a bad rap," she said.

"I wish that would change 100 percent," she said. "It is not what people think it is. It's a great, great asset to Ottumwa, and Ottumwans need to realize that. The growth around here is amazing, and the new owners have a great deal to do with that.

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