Danville, VA -- The new and improved Danville Mall is officially open for business, and mall owners hope the renovations will bring in people from all over the region and ultimately bring more money into the area.
Construction started a year ago and many stores have been open through it all. But now that almost all of the renovations are complete, store owners are looking forward to reaping the benefits.
Karen Johnston remembers the ribbon cutting celebrating the start of the former Pidemont Mall back in 1984. Friday, she along with local leaders observed another milestone, the ribbon cutting of the Danville Mall's grand re-opening. Johnston's store, Karen's Hallmark, has been at the mall since day one. But now, the store's surroundings look a lot different.
"I think it is going to help all of us. It's not just for our store but the entire mall, all of the merchants here, it's going to make a big difference," said Johnston.
Two years ago, Hull Storey Gibson, out of Georgia, bought the Piedmont Mall. The company invested more than $6 million into the renovations. They changed the name, installed new carpets, improved the lighting. And they have big plans for its future too.
"We're excited about these changes and we think they are going to make a big difference," said Allen Grinalds, Director of Mall Operations.
They hope to add more national stores that should attract shoppers region-wide.
"It's going to be a tremendous influx for the economy of the Danville area...As people come to shop they'll eat here, they'll buy gas here and they'll start to look for other products and services in the area," said Laurie Moran, President of Danville-Pittsyvlania County Chamber of Commerce.
Something Johnston really looks forward to.
"It's truly going to be an asset to our business. It can't hurt our business, it can only help," said Johnston.
The owners would not say exactly who is coming yet but they say 2014 should be an exciting year for Danville.