When Frank and Kathy Shamer, of Westminster, heard the rumors that TownMall of Westminster might be closing, they weren’t too happy.
“We’ve been coming here for years and when I heard they were going to be closing up I didn’t want to hear that, neither,” Frank said while perched with Kathy at a table in the mall food court. “It would be terrible, because it’s been here forever.”
“We feel it’s the best retail center in Carroll County and are proud to be owners of it and thrilled to be participating in reinvigorating the center in partnership with the tenants,” he said.
And more to the point of worries of patrons such as the Shamers, who were concerned TownMall could go the way of Carrolltowne mall in Eldersburg, torn down and turned into a strip mall, Himmelrich ruled out such a radical transformation in any short-term time scale in Westminster.
“We are long-term holders of real estate,” Himmelrich said. “[TownMall] is going to continue to exist and I would say given that it is likely to evolve in a way that hopefully serves the interests of the community. You will see a commitment to our tenant businesses and new retailers and new operators.”
Assured that the mall will persist as a place, the Shamers got to talking about what they would like to see there. He would like to see a Harbor Freight Tools move in. She would like to see a baking store and clothing options for plus-sized women.
But the Shamers both recognized the need to get younger people back in the mall.
“The thing is these kids and people now like to go ahead and shop on the internet and all,” Frank said. “For me, personally, I like to get in and do my own shopping and see things like that.”
One thing both Frank and Kathy Shamer agreed on, was that they would like to see improvements to the movie theater — they go to Hanover for that theater’s recliner seats — and think that could bring in more young people and families. Not that there are not challenges to such an undertaking.
The court-appointed receiver, The Woodmont Co., a Fort Worth, Texas-based property management firm, was brought in to try to right the ship and handle mall operations. Following the acquisition, Woodmont will continue to handle the day-to-day management and leasing of retail space at the mall, according to Himmelrich.
“The existing Woodmont on-site management team, led by Robyn Clarke, will continue to manage the property,” he said.
And while the long-term plans for the mall are still being contemplated, Himmelrich said he and his team would like to hear from the community about what they would like to see at the property, and that the Woodmont management team will be that point of contact for people.