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OEDC wants to help mall owners fill void

Ottumwa Economic Development Director Sharon Stroh said this month's announcement from Bon-Ton stores is disappointing, but local developers are already exploring ways to bring more retail to the City of Bridges/KTVO

Ottumwa's Quincy Place Mall is starting to look empty, with the loss of JCPenney last year, and Herberger's scheduling to close this summer.

Now, developers are hoping to work hand-in-hand with realtors to fill the void.

Ottumwa Economic Development Director Sharon Stroh said this month's announcement from Bon-Ton stores is disappointing, but local developers are already exploring ways to bring more retail to the City of Bridges.

According to their research, Ottumwa shoppers want to see more sporting goods, furniture and clothing stores. Stroh said the goal now is to communicate this data with the mall's owners, New Jersey-based Lexington Realty International, so they can find a suitable replacement.

"We know what it is we're looking for here in Ottumwa,” Stroh said. “Our residents have told us that, but the mall owners also know what they're looking for to fill that space."

Stroh added that online shopping is also an option developers have to compete with, but it won't completely wipe out in-store shopping.

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