Valley View Mall will look different for returning shoppers

General manager says all soft-seating areas are removed; food court tables spaced out

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Those who can’t wait to go back to the mall will get their chance very soon.

As News 8 Now has reported, Valley View Mall is set to reopen this upcoming Friday.

The pandemic forced the 40-year-old mall to temporarily close March 18.

“Probably looking at greater than $10 million lost in sales,” general manager Jeff Odom said.

Two months later, the mall is opening its doors once again.

“We’ve been contacting and working with our stores just to see what their preparation is and timetable is for getting their businesses back open,” Odom said.

Odom says about half of the stores will lift the gates on Friday, and each employee will have the option to wear gloves and masks.

“We’ve encouraged stores to put in social distancing protocols as well,” Odom said.

PopCon Shop is one of the 25 stores allowing customers back in.

“I’ve been working a lot on online sales,” PopCon Shop manager Lizzy Wilson said. “But it was pretty tough not being able to see everyone and just like the lack of social communication.”

Wilson says she usually works up to 50 hours a week, but her hours took a dive the past two months.

“Hours wise, I was probably like 20 hours a week,” Wilson said. “I was lucky enough that all of our employees were able to get their full, full-time pay.”

Odom says there will not be a capacity limit.

“We will be monitoring it as we go through particularly this Memorial Day weekend,” Odom said.

And if you’re looking to take a seat somewhere while shopping, you’ll have fewer options.

“We’ve removed all of our soft-seating areas,” Odom said. “We do have food court seating available…So we space tables out about eight feet apart, limiting it to four people per table.”

But despite all the hard-comings and changes, Odom says it’s a relief folks can check out their favorite stores again.

“We’ve been here working every day for two and a half months,” Odom said. “So walk in the mall and hearing your echo … we can’t wait to see all of our friends back out here shopping at Valley View Mall.”

News 8 Now also contacted both Barnes & Noble and JC Penney to see if they are reopening at the mall.

B&N store manager John Hoppe says it could be another week or two before opening again.

JC Penney has no information at this time when it will reopen.

The mall will have reduced hours as well. Hours will run 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.