AURELIUS | The closures continue at Fingerlakes Mall. The steel gate is down at Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, and GNC plans to depart in March for a new location in the Fingerlakes Crossing plaza across Clark Street Road.
Gertrude Hawk's former space is now empty, and all signage has been removed. The chocolate retailer opened there in 2004. Representatives of the Dunmore, Pennsylvania-based company could not be reached for comment Monday.
GNC Regional Manager Ryan York, who oversees nine central New York locations of the national nutrition retailer, said the Aurelius store will be moving out of the mall in order to increase its visibility. It opened there in 1980, the same year the mall did.
"Unfortunately, here in the mall we're just kind of hidden in here, and the mall doesn't really do anything for us in terms of advertising," York said Monday. "And the mall traffic has just completely died away on our side since Sears left."
York said GNC's lease came up this month, and that rent was not a factor in its decision. Sales at the store were positive, he said, but there was little potential for growth at the mall.
At Fingerlakes Crossing, GNC will move into either the building that houses Zoom Tan and Aspen Dental, or the one with Supercuts and Dollar Tree. A date has not been set, York said, but he doesn't expect the move to interrupt service. After its last day at the mall, employees will pack the store's inventory into a moving truck at 4 or 5 the next morning in order to open later that day, fully stocked, in its new location.
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"I'm excited to move," York said. "This area is huge in terms of people who work out and stay fit, so it's important for there to be a GNC out there where people can come in and get good advice."
Fingerlakes Mall General Manager Rene Patterson could not be reached for comment Monday.
Gertrude Hawk and GNC are the latest in a spate of closures at the mall, which lost its Sears, Littman Jewelers and Aeropostale stores early in 2015. The second half of the year saw the closures of Regis and Claire's, as well as the announcement that Kay Jewelers and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft will follow early this year. Signage in the latter lists a closing date of Jan. 21.
Five permanent national retailers remain in the mall: Bass Pro Shops, J.C. Penney, GameStop, Tuxedo Junction and The Shoe Dept.
Also remaining are LV Nails, Savannah Bank, CPS Recruitment, Finger Lakes Karate, Heaven Sent Creations Flowers & Gifts, Erin's Way and Go Calendars, as well as kiosks Animal Riders and Cash for Gold. Joining them are new local jeweler West & Co. in the Littman space, new craft shop Tunison's Treasures in the former Claire's and new wellness business Infinity Healing & Instruction across from Savannah Bank.