Plaza Fiesta shop owners react to new Cabela's replacing mall - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Plaza Fiesta shop owners react to new Cabela's replacing mall

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) -

Plaza Fiesta in Fort Mill is going away. It was designed to give small businesses the advantages of being in a mall. Kids loved it for its massive indoor playground.

It'll be no more in 2014. It will be replaced with a massive single store for those who love the outdoors. Cabela's will be building a 97,500 square foot store on the property.

Latin American business owners said they aren't surprised they're out. The Latin American Chamber of Commerce said the mall never took advantage of the programs and people it offers.  

"This is a perfect example of how the community could have helped that site to really prosper because of the connectivity we provide,' said Astrid Chirinos, president of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, "I'm sure that the new owners and the new development that's going to come there will do more of their homework."

Business owners at Plaza Fiesta said they were given notice that they would have to leave but they didn't know why.

Plaza Fiesta has had various owners and managers over the years.  Individual business owners renting space said rumors spread all the time that the mall would be closing or bought out.  Monday many realized this time it's a fact. Cabela's Incorporated will be opening a brand new store on the property. Which means the many Latin American businesses will clear out in the new year.

The days of many Latin American business owners working side by side at Plaza Fiesta are numbered.

"I do any kind of alterations, wedding dresses, any kind of alterations and tailoring too," said Marta Orellana, owner of Martha's Alterations.

Orellana said she's been running her business at Plaza Fiesta since 2008.

"Well they come all kind of people because it wasn't only for Latin.  It's for everybody," said Orellana.

But many argued there was never enough traffic.  Orellana disagreed.  And isn't emotionally ready to leave.

"You make money and everything you know the person this is what, it hurts. For me it hurts," said Orellana said with tears in her eyes.

Not all the businesses in Plaza Fiesta are owned by Latin Americans. But everything down to the design makes you feel like you're in a Mexican market. Owners said they won't find another place like it.  And they'll have to pay more.

"The rent is what's going to make you or choke you as anyone running a business knows," said Abel Ramirez, owner of X3M Inc, "There's nothing affordable outside."

Ramirez was in the process of screen printing a logo onto a t-shirt. He said 70% of his business was online and everything that came through the storefront was bonus.

"So if you think about it the two months or a month is not a lot to let them know that you're moving because you have to find a place, rent it which, it's going to be hard," said Ramirez.

Ramirez said many of his fellow business owners will have a hard time too.

"I would say 60% to 70% of the businesses that are here will not make it on the outside," said Ramirez.

He's looking at Pineville. Orellana said she'll be going to Charlotte. Her new address is 6407 South Blvd. Suite K.

"Three times what you're paying here," said Orellana, "But I'm going to give it a try."

The party in the plaza will end in January.
The current manager of Plaza Fiesta, Liberty Solutions said it will be working with Cabela's through the transition. They declined further comment.

A spokesperson for Cabela's said it plans to start construction in Spring of 2014 and open the new store in Spring of 2015. Cabela's will have a mass hire event before the store opens. The company expects to employ 225 employees.

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