Another small business is closing in Bradley Shopping Center, and the owner of the most recent storefront to move out indicated the mini-exodus is no coincidence.
Booktopia owner Nina Embrey said she decided to close for mostly personal reasons, including an ill parent, but things at the Shopping Center are different after Bruce Variety shut down earlier this year.
“The feel of the mall has definitely changed,” Embrey said.
Bruce Variety owners alleged the owners of Strosniders Hardware, their next-door neighbors for almost 60 years, orchestrated a rent increase that led to their closing and move to Woodmont Triangle.
Kae Robin & Company (6910 Arlington Rd.) announced in March it would close. The store said owner Jo Ann Horn was retiring. Horn didn’t return a request for comment.
Booktopia (6912 Arlington Rd.) sells children’s books and gifts and has been in Bradley Shopping Center for two-and-a-half years, but Embrey said uncertainty about the future of the strip mall played a role in her decision.
Embrey’s lease comes up at the end of April. Despite a letter of commitment to extend the lease from the group of trustees who own the property, she said she has not heard back about rents. Embrey said she enjoyed working with the landlord group.
Trustees reached for comment have remained mum on the changes in the shopping center since Bruce Variety announced it would close. And Bruce’s move signaled big changes for the entire property. Embrey, who is selling most products for 25 percent off and many for bigger discounts, said she had customers tell her they came to her shop only after or before visiting the beloved crafts and party store.