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Two Stores Open At Mall At Earthquake Epicenter With AM-Christmas Shopping, Bjt

November 26, 1994

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (AP) _ Only two major retailers were open Friday at this 210-store mall near the epicenter of January’s devastating earthquake.

Both stores, Sears and The Broadway, reopened earlier this month. The rest of Northridge Fashion Center remains under construction and is scheduled to reopen next spring.

Recovery has been slow since the Jan. 17 earthquake hit, collapsing a parking garage at the mall and trapping a maintenance worker for seven hours. The janitor survived but has undergone several major surgeries.

On the first official day of Christmas shopping, business was brisk at the mall about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Jessica Rosales, 19, a Sears sales clerk, said she was a little nervous about returning to the store, which reopened last week. ″But they say it’s safe,″ she said.

Rosales acknowledged that some people didn’t want to come back. ″They couldn’t get people to work here,″ she said. ″They were too afraid.″

Mary Swanson, an aerospace worker, was shopping for a new couch.

″I lost all my living room furniture in the earthquake,″ she said. ″And this the closest Sears.″

She said she wasn’t nervous at all about stepping foot in the store.

″Oh no,″ she said. ″Some of my friends have been down here and they said ’It’s OK, Mary, go on down.‴

At The Broadway, store manager Randall MacKay said November sales had doubled from the same period last year.

″Business has been fantastic,″ he said.

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