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Deal for Eastwood Mall tenant close

NILES — The operator of the Eastwood Mall is close to inking a deal with a national retailer that would occupy the massive former Sears department store.

Cafaro Company spokesman Joe Bell couldn’t divulge much about the retailer because the contract isn’t final, but he did say the store is “new to this area, new to this region actually,” and an announcement is expected to happen in January.

The store will inhabit the 119,900-square-foot space of the former Sears and more, including the 25,800-square-foot Tilt Studio, which is closing when its lease ends Dec. 31.

In addition, several stores in that concourse will be relocated inside the mall to make way for the new retailer, Bell said.

The space occupied by Tilt Studio, a combination arcade and amusement center that opened in September 2015, will become part of the former Sears space.

“It will be one large space, which would mean relocation of several current tenants,” Bell said. “Tilt is leaving outright, but others will be relocated.”

He said the stores that will be moving have been notified.

“We still don’t have a finalized deal yet. Some of that may change, but I do know there will be some relocations,” Bell said.

Sears was the first store to open at the Eastwood Mall, even before the mall officially did in 1969.

The company began as a mail-order catalog in the 1880s, started opening retail locations in 1925 and grew into suburban malls in the 1950s to 1970s, but struggled in later years with outdated stores and challenges from Walmart and Lowe’s and Home Depot in the appliance sector.

The store at Eastwood Mall was able to stave off rounds of closings that included the former Sears at Southern Park Mall in Boardman, but it fell victim in October 2018 when Sears parent company, Sears Holdings, filed for bankruptcy.

It was closed by the end of 2018. Bell has said Cafaro Company read the writing on the wall and was proactively working to fill the void.

“We really see it as an opportunity. Sears is a great, venerable name, but there are more popular choices with our customers,” Bell said in October 2018.

Going with it was the Sears auto service at the mall.

The 36,000-square-foot building has an occupant, Kingly Handwash and Wax, which also has a facility on West Front Street in downtown Youngstown.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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