Business ups and downs in Tucson Mall area
In-N-Out opens, Ultimate closing
Whether it is for a grand opening or a going out of business sale, cars are crammed in the parking lot of the Tucson Mall and nearby Corner Shopping Center every weekend.
"I think it's a good area," said Anthony Aranda, a sales manager at Ultimate Electronics, 4380 N. Oracle Rd. "This corner is really improving."
The Corner Shopping Center, located at Wetmore and Oracle roads, has been bustling with customers during the electronic retailer's going out of business sale.
The store's closing was sudden, but was due to the entire chain's closure, not the Tucson store's sales performance, said Aranda.
Across the street, new businesses are hopeful that the area near the Tucson Mall is up and coming.
"We are enthusiastic about that location because it is a vibrant area and in a part of the Tucson market where we didn't have much presence," said Carl Van Fleet, Vice President of Planning and Development at In-N-Out Burger.
The classic styled burger joint opened its sixth location in the Tucson area on March 17 and so far the company is pleased with the response, said Van Fleet.
Stores and restaurants such as REI, Delia's, The Cheesecake Factory and H & M have also recently opened their doors in the mall area.
A new building is being constructed at 150 W. Wetmore Rd. Here, Brio Tuscan Grille is set to open in the summer, according to the company's website. Two of the Italian-style restaurants are already dishing up in Phoenix.
Last year Nordstrom announced the opening of a Nordstrom Rack location in the Corner Shopping Center, said Aubrie Corey, a public relations specialist with the company. The store is set to open this fall.
While new businesses like In-N-Out are optimistic about the area's potential, some companies have found that the area wasn't as prosperous as they had hoped.
Just a few months ago Chili's Grill and Bar, 4911 N. Stone Ave., closed down.
"From time to time [Brinker International, Chili's parent company] chooses to decline lease renewals in restaurants that, for a variety of reasons, are not expected to generate sufficient future cash flows," said Maureen Locus, a company spokeswoman.
Chili's transferred most of their employees to other locations around town, said one server who worked at the former location. However, not all area employees have been as lucky.
"It was a very short warning," Aranda said about the notice given to Ultimate Electronics' workers that they would need to find new jobs. Aranda said he is still unsure about where he will work next, but enjoyed his time at the electronics store.
Across the street, In-N-Out seems to be picking up the slack as it has employed mostly new hires to work in its restaurant.
"The starting wage is $10 an hour and employees can quickly get raises," Van Fleet said.
With more businesses opening than closing, the mall area seems to have a strong customer base. After struggling with financial fallout and rock bottom stock prices in 2008, the company that owns the mall revamped the location by adding more stores in 2009. For businesses that are just now opening, the area is showing potential profits.
"We typically do little or no advertising to promote a new restaurant and haven't done anything different with this one," said Van Fleet.