AUBURN | After last-minute efforts Monday evening to negotiate a lease deal that both parties could agree on, the Hallmark store in the Fingerlakes Mall will close.
A large white banner proclaiming the store's closure has been strung up. Although the store's owner fought to keep open the store he has run for 20 years, three lease agreements were pitched and fell through recently.
"We couldn't come to terms," owner Jay Palmer said Monday. "They wanted to increase my rent."
Palmer believed the store's closure was a done deal on Monday, but said there may have been a chance to keep the store open if a lease deal could be reached. But he announced Tuesday morning that no deal was reached.
"As it stands right now, my Hallmark leasing people told me to continue the closing process," Palmer said. "We're going to go through with the closing."
The mall's owner is based in New York City, according to Liz Bunn, marketing coordinator. Although Bunn couldn't comment on the situation, she said the mall would be sad to see the Hallmark store go.
Bunn said 33 stores will remain when Hallmark closes. The storefront will be vacant by March 1.
Palmer employs five or six people at the store and wanted to have an answer about the fate of his store so his employees would know their situations.
"We have great people, we have a great manager," Palmer said. "We certainly do not want to close the store."
Palmer also owns a Hallmark store in Elmira Heights.
Another Hallmark store in the area, Laura's Hallmark Shop, in the Grant Avenue Plaza in Auburn, is run under different ownership and has no plans to close, according to store officials.