MARYLAND

White Flint Mall: Independent stores facing difficulty

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For almost 30 years, Bert Oser has been behind the counter at Bertam’s Inkwell in the White Flint Mall, but lately business has been difficult.

“Did not expect this hurdle at all,” says Oser, who owns the business.

For months, the White Flint Mall has been marked for demolition. Most of the big anchor stores are closed and now independent shops are feeling the impact.

“Oh, it’s affected us greatly. Here we are talking and there’s nobody in the store,” says Oser.

Oser says potential customers assume the entire mall is closed, driving them to other stores.

“A lot of people, you hear, when they call on the phone they say, ‘The mall is already closed. Where did you move to? Have you closed the store yet?’ and no, we haven’t done anything,” he says.

For Oser, it’s not the end of the road. He compensates for a loss in sales at the mall by boosting his internet and roadshow sales, but for other stores down the hall, White Flint Mall’s closure lead to their demise.

“You can get nervous about that, but you can’t be. I’ve got to look forward and ahead and keep my business growing,” says Oser.

Construction on the mall likely won’t begin for at least another two years, but Oser says his lease at the mall runs through 2016. His long term plans are somewhat in limbo.

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