Reopenings at the Indiana Mall

Kohl’s department store at Indiana Mall, May 19, 2020. Photos by David Loomis.

Coronavirus Diary

By David Loomis

INDIANA – Indiana Mall is a commercial ghost town, lately because “Governor Wolf’s Yellow Phase mandate does NOT permit Shopping Malls to open,” according to the mall’s website.

There are exceptions:

“(T)enants with external entrances can open during the Yellow Phase,” the website notes. Harbor Freight, a hardware seller, and H&R Block, the tax-preparation service, have external entrances. But they have been deemed essential businesses from the outset.

Kohl’s department store reopened Friday, May 15, for drive-up service. Customers were admitted inside on May 18.

 

Julie McAdams, owner of JC’s Gifts and Cards at Indiana Mall, May 19, 2020. Click to enlarge.

AROUND BACK on the mall’s south end, a Hallmark shop – JC’s Gifts & Cards — reopened Monday, two months to the day after closing for the pandemic. Owner Julie McAdams had opened her business in September.

On Tuesday, McAdams and two co-workers – daughter Cassie McAdams and her boyfriend David Seevers — basked in midday sunshine at the shop’s exterior mall door, propped open under a Hallmark logo and next to a hand-lettered sign advertising “OPEN”. A couple of customers entered. A few yards away, more than a dozen cars were parked in a tight cluster.

The day before, Julie had counted seven customers in her shop.

“I made money yesterday,” she said. “It’s better than being closed.”

 

THIRTY YARDS EAST, the next entrance along the mall’s rear exterior wall also was admitting people. They swiped cards to open the locked smoked-glass door. No sign advertised what was inside.

Two men carrying gym bags enter an unmarked locked entrance to Sobek Fitness, Indiana Mall, midday, May 19, 2020.

Inside is Sobek Fitness.  Its website advertises “24/7 access” to its pictured gym.

One man  swiped a card to enter the door a few minutes before noon Tuesday. He had a noon “appointment,” he said.

“He’s not supposed to be open,” Julie McAdams said, citing the governor’s latest phased-reopening orders. They specifically cite gyms under “social restrictions.”

Owner Eric Rankin said the gym was not open.

“It’s closed,” Rankin said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.  The people entering the locked door were “helping out to reopen.”

They were cleaning, disinfecting, doing maintenance and buying new equipment, “for whenever I’m allowed to reopen,” Rankin said.

None of the handful of people who entered around noon wore face coverings or masks.

Rankin asked that his exterior door not be photographed.

“You need to stop,” Rankin advised.

 

AT THE HALLMARK shop, Julie McAdams said she would not object to her neighbor being open for business against the governor’s orders.

“No,” she said. “We take our chances. If we can make money, why not? Two months is just too much.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Indiana Mall manager Sherry Renosky said she had no comment about her tenant Sobek Fitness.

__________

David Loomis, Ph.D., emeritus professor of journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is editor of The HawkEye.

The HawkEye invites comments on this and other issues of community interest. Email doloomis@iup.edu or click on the “contact us” drop-down menu, above.

 

 

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1 Response to Reopenings at the Indiana Mall

  1. celindascott says:

    Good to know–thanks! Nice article, very helpful.

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