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Disney Store to close in July

By FRED PACE The Herald-Dispatch fpace@herald-dispatch.comMay 23, 2019

BARBOURSVILLE — Kari Sanders, of Salt Rock, said she cried when she heard the news about the announced closing of the Disney Store in the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

“I feel heartbroken and disappointed, honestly,” she said. “My mom, my daughter and I are huge Disney fans. We love everything Disney, so hearing that the Disney Store is closing brought tears to my eyes.”

The Huntington Mall confirmed Tuesday that the Disney Store will close July 19.

Disney Store and corporate officials refused to comment to the media on the announced closing; however, the Huntington Mall released the following statement Tuesday:

“We were very sorry to learn, quite unexpectedly, that Disney plans to close its store at Huntington Mall. We are surprised and disturbed by this decision, which was only confirmed to us today, May 21. The store had been doing well financially and our leasing executives have been working with the tenant to ensure its ongoing presence in the mall. Because Disney did not send us a formal notification, rather allowing the information to spread informally, we were taken by surprise. We apologize for any confusion in our earlier statements about this situation. It appears that the closing of this store is part of a strategy Disney has been pursuing for the past few years, systematically closing most, if not all, of its retail stores. It is not a reflection of the store’s

popularity in the Huntington area. The store has been quite popular with many people, and we are sorry that Disney is disappointing its loyal customers in our region. As always, we will continue to work to bring new and attractive retail offerings to our guests here at Huntington Mall.”

Sanders said she wanted to know more, so she emailed the store and received a response.

“We are sorry to hear of the disappointment this has caused,” the store said responding to Sanders’ email. “The decision as to why a store was chosen to close and another to stay open is not given to us. At this time there are no plans to reopen this location. Your comments will be forwarded to our real estate department for review.”

Sanders says her 4-year-old daughter calls the store “Disneyland.”

“She begs to go,” Sanders said. “I’m 23 years old and the Disney Store was my favorite place to go as a kid, and secretly still is. I could spend so much time there. They have so many events and activities for the kids. I always try to take my daughter often because she has so much fun. It’s like our own little piece of Disney World in West Virginia. To know that that’s going to be gone is so disheartening. I don’t even know how to tell my daughter that it’s closing. The Disney Store is where the magic begins.”

Sanders is not the only one upset. Local Facebook pages were flooded with comments about the store’s announced closing. A cash mob-type event to show shoppers’ support of the store was even being planned.

Cristine Stewart Bowen, of Barboursville, posted that she called the Disney Store and talked to one of the assistant managers.

“She said creating an event like this or calling politicians or mayors or the mall isn’t going to do any good, which I didn’t think it would,” Bowen’s post said. “This is coming from corporate, so the best place to voice your opinion is at corporate. She said sales are good at the store. That’s not the issue. I fear there is nothing we can do, but if we are going to do anything, we need to let our voices be heard at corporate level.”

Disney still has one store in Lexington, Kentucky, and five in Ohio that include Cincinnati, Columbus, Monroe, North Olmsted and Toledo.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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