Roses closing at University Mall

Apr. 02, 2014 @ 11:38 AM

After more than 40 years at Chapel Hill’s University Mall, the Roses discount variety store location there will be closing at the end of June.

The store is the mall’s second anchor tenant to close recently behind Dillard’s.
“The landlord felt the property was worth more in their mind, and I think they’re trying to upscale the mall,” said Wilson Sawyer, chief operating officer for Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers, which is the parent company of Roses stores.
Sawyer said the location is closing because the landlord raised the store’s rent and is taking back more than half of the space for another tenant.
The company had seen the increase after their 40-year lease for the location expired about a year ago, and they negotiated a new lease.
“The facts were that we had a huge increase in rent, we said ‘OK we’ll live with that,’” he said. “Then they asked us to give them back more than half the space, and what we had left (was) … not adequate for what the rent would be.”
Sawyer said he doesn’t know who the tenant is that will fill the space, but he said they were told it’s for a tenant that “would pay more rent than we could afford.”
“Dillard’s has closed… so I guess they’re replacing some of the older, larger tenants with some other folks,” he said.
In the place of Dillard’s, a division of a Venezuela-based movie theater company is planning to open a boutique movie theater in 2015 with an internal restaurant.
The mall has also seen a number of new tenants open up stores at the mall due to the planned demolition and redevelopment of downtown Chapel Hill’s University Square shopping center, which is on Franklin Street.
Sawyer said the location at University Mall was a good store for the company. It’s the only one of the 165 Roses locations that will be closing. The location had a “huge” department devoted to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-related merchandise, he said, that was its cornerstone. It has many loyal customers, he said, and he believes there’s not a store of that type “anywhere close to the center part of Chapel Hill.”
“The likelihood of replacing the store in Chapel Hill is pretty slim,” he said.
Roses stores employ between 35 and 40 people. The company will try to accommodate employees at the Chapel Hill location who want to transfer to another location. The company has two Roses and a Maxway in Durham.