An empty building in Rockford gets new life, and gives shoppers choices to boost business on the city's south side.
Southgate Mini Mall, near the corner of Sandy Hollow Road and 11th Street, used to be home to the Rockford Rescue Mission's "Mission Mart". It's now filled with specialty shops.
"Anywhere from dresses, jewelry, buy and sell gold, to knick knacks, servicing, we have eye brow threading."
Manager Cheri Wayman holds the lease on the large building. Instead of using all 20,000 square feet for one purpose. She chose to section it into 32 smaller spaces.
"The inspiration was doing something that the community could afford, to help the small business owners you know get their business going," said Wayman
She says her mini mall costs shopkeepers three quarters less in location fees than having their own private building. "These spaces are 12 by 9 or 10 by 10 and we are renting them out for 300 dollars a month."
So far, her business plan seems to be working. "It's been a really really win-win situation for you know, the store keepers, the store owners, and you know for the shopping experience too. To come out and fins a little bit of this and that for everyone."
Even though the mall just opened, Wayman says it's already filled to capacity. "We are planning to expand 10,000 more square feet, so we will be opening 40 more spaces."
A waiting list is starting to fill up for future room. The expansion plan is set to begin in January.
The mini mall also includes food vendors and wifi for shoppers to use.