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Who’s Really Unhappy About Roses Closing Shop at UMall? Seniors

By Danny Hooley Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm

There’s one group of Chapel Hill residents that is particularly unhappy about Roses leaving University Mall in June: Senior citizens.

WCHL talked to some senior shoppers at the University Mall store one afternoon this week, and here’s what some of them had to say.

Lula Alston is a retired senior who lives in Chapel Hill.

“I hate it,” she said. “It’s really the only store in town that you can just go in and lounge around. And you can almost find everything you need.”

For Alston, those immediate needs include clothing, household items, and even food. When asked where she will shop after Roses goes away, she had this to say:

“I have no idea right now.”

Another Chapel Hill retiree, Josephine Cundari, takes the bus to the University Mall Roses twice a week.

“It’s bad. Bad news. People shop there. And then they have the senior discounts on Wednesdays. That helps, too. It’s a shame.”

The discount retailer has operated a store at that location since 1973. Roses is owned by Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers, which owns more than 400 discount stores throughout the southeast.

Variety Wholesalers is owned by the family of Art Pope, the budget director for North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

Earlier this week, Wilson Sawyer of Variety Wholesalers told WCHL that the store is closing due to a rent increase, as well as plans by University Mall to downsize the store.

University Mall is owned and operated by Madison Marquette of Washington, DC. In an email to WCHL, Robyn H. Marano of Madison Marquette declined to comment about a rent increase.

She said that the departure of Roses opens “an opportunity to enhance retail, dining and entertainment” at the mall.

Marano said an announcement about new tenants should be coming over the next few months.

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