GALESBURG, Ill. — The Carl Sandburg Mall was once a staple here in Galesburg, Illinois, however over the last several years its become vacant and an eyesore.
Slowly but surely, steps are being taken to change that as businesses are buying parts of the mall and bringing in new shops.
The store manager at Carpetland in a nearby strip mall is a Galesburg native and remembers when the Carl Sandburg Mall was the focal point along Main Street. She hopes the mall can get a second chance.
“Well, I was born and raised here,”Adrianna Beardsley of Galesburg said. “Growing up, they had a McDonald’s, they had a Latin castle. They had a variety of different businesses. When we had the factory, it seems like it was a lot of money in the economy since that left it seems like the mall has deteriorated over time, moving forward now it’s empty it would be nice if they could do some renovations and bring some things back.”
That’s exactly what is happening here. U-Haul is located in the old K-Mart and is expanding and will add almost a dozen jobs.
“We at UHaul purchased this building, I’m not sure the exact date, but we opened up our doors in December, I believe,” Annie Huffman, U-Haul store manager, said. “We are now in the midst of remodeling it we are up cycling in a sense this will be 100 of rooms for storage and this will open up at least 10 jobs.”
Keith Vaughn, a local businessman, sent a statement about the plans for the old Bergners store at the mall:
“We closed on Bergners about 3 weeks ago. Plans are to move our current ice cream and candy business in much larger scale out there. We will build new storefronts into the east side of the building to include this plus a hair / nail salon and some family fun places in 2 additional stores. So a total of 4 new store fronts on east side. Remaining portion of building will be turned into a convention center and sports bar/ restaurant. Construction will be done in phases. Storefronts first. Then convention sports bar- restaurant last. Already doing demo work. Will start on buildout early spring We are selling all remaking fixtures/ assets starting this weekend. They can call on this phone for appointment to view outside when we will be on site.
This means a great deal of potential new business for our area. Some of the proposal and contracts we have been approached with for conventions include past revenue they generated for those areas they were in. Food and beverage alone for a single convention could bring in 6 figure revenue to our local restaurants and bars. Plus the hotel revenue it would generate. We have already been in contact w/some of our local hotels about group rates etc. Currently Galesburg hasn’t got anything greater than a 200-300 person capacity for gatherings. That means we have to push bigger convention/ trade shows away. We guestimate our capacity at roughly 2000-3000 depending on seating, or just in and out foot traffic So huge deal for our area. Plus we anticipate 10-15 new part time and 5 full time employees once we are in full swing. Sadly we had to do funding outside of Galesburg Local banks gave us a multitude of reasons/ excuses y not to do the project. So along w/our personal resources, CSB of Galva seen our vision and was excited to be a part of it!”