(Updated at 10:00 a.m.) Westfield Montgomery Mall opened at noon on Monday, then closed early at 6 p.m., causing a number of store managers and employees to express their dissatisfaction on the mall’s Facebook page.
Many directed their ire at Westfield, arguing the mall — usually open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays — never should have opened at all because of the snowy and icy conditions.
“The Gap/Gap Kids store will NOT be opening today out of concern for the safety of our staff,” wrote Melissa Blodgett. “We look forward to resuming regular business hours tomorrow, Tuesday, March 4th. Thank you.”
“I’m not opening my store, I can’t move from my house..the Mall can do whatever they want….I’m not going because I don’t want to put myself in danger and my employee and then…for what? Spending money in elecricity?? Because nobody is going to shop today!,” wrote Lino D’Affuso.
Westfield Montgomery said its crews were working to make the mall as safe as possible:
“Thank you for your patience as we continue to assess the conditions at the mall and our surrounding area. Our crews are working hard to maintain safe conditions for our mall employees and customers. At this time Westfield Montgomery continues to anticipate opening at 12PM. Please note that Department store and restaurant hours may vary, and we anticipate there may be some additional delayed retailer openings. Please call individual stores for the most up to date information on their operating status. If you work at the mall and there are any weather related traffic issues or you feel travel conditions are unsafe, you should contact your manager or corporate office for direction. Please continue to monitor our Facebook page for future updates, and be safe.”
All the anchor stores opened on Monday. Westfield Montgomery encourages shop managers and owners to make their own decisions on inclement weather closings.
“Shenanigans! Ive made my decision … Finish Line will be closed today. Who wants to risk their life coming to the mall today? The mall shouldn’t even give people an option! It’s about the safety of everyone including all the employees!,” wrote Andrew Millner.
Many said Westfield should have made the call to close the mall first, especially with Metrobus service suspended for the day.
Some shared photos of still snowy parking lots and access roads.
At about 5 p.m., the mall announced it would close early at 6 p.m., setting off a new round of criticism.
“I would just like to point out that my employees, along with many others, went through hell today to get to work because you insisted on being open today…and now you’re closing early anyways? The time that they actually spent working didn’t even cover their gas to get there. Thank you for being inconsiderate,” wrote Amanda Lynch.
“The 6pm closing was put up 3 hours ago. That means at 4:57pm. Evening shift workers struggled to come in only to be told to turn around and go home. Why couldn’t this decision have been made when the noon opening was announced? Anyone who has been in the area for more than one winter knows how bad the road conditions can be. Management office and Guest Services didn’t even open,” wrote Janice Gravatt.
Mall officials could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday morning. Westfield Montgomery is scheduled to open at its regular 10 a.m. time on Tuesday morning.