Artegon Marketplace closes after two-year run
Many vendors left to figure out what to do next
ORLANDO, Fla. – Artegon Marketplace permanently closed its doors Thursday after two years in business.
Some vendors tell News 6 they have nowhere to go, while others say they are moving on to new opportunities.
The inside of the comic book store "Gods & Monsters" is completely cleared out. Employees packed up merchandise and the store was locked.
"It's really just kind of panic mode, making lemonade if you will out of a bad situation," said Todd Fisher, co-owner of "Gods & Monsters."
Fisher says he closed the shop four days ago and has spent that time preparing for what is next.
"Everybody has been asking, 'Are you going out of business? Is this the end?' You can't keep a good monster down," Fisher said. "Artegon's legacy is not the legacy of "Gods and Monsters."
The owner of Artegon Marketplace announced earlier this month that the mall would be closing earlier.
A spokesperson said in a statement that they're taking the mall in a new direction and "while it was a difficult decision to discontinue operations, we are thankful to our team in Orlando and to our tenants for their hard work and dedication over the past several years."
The vendors say they only had two weeks to pack up their shops and figure out what to do.
"Right now, we don't have time. So we need to find out when we'll have time and find a place that looks like a mall with more traffic," said Julia Yan, who works in a leather shop.
Many of the artisan "mom and pop" businesses closed weeks ago. Several stores are locked up and gated. Some businesses stayed open until the very last day and held moving sales.
"There is so much heart and artistry out here and it's just all been taken away," Fisher said. "The chance for them to grow and become independent businessmen were fleeting at best."
Haley Marshall and her two little girls love to visit Artegon while they're on vacation. The family from England says they were sad when they learned of the mall's closing.
"We decided to do one last visit today and just have a little wander around one last time," Marshall said. "We were just really sad 'cause it seemed like a really unusual, nice idea that isn't going to last, unfortunately."
A mall spokesperson tells News 6 it is working with "each retailer to work out a reasonable amount of time to remove their belongings."
Several tenants at the mall remain open, including the Bass Pro Shop, Cinemark, Boot Barn and Fuddruckers.
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