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Family Christian store at West Acres to close

Family Christian stores are closing across the country. Special to The Forum

FARGO—The Family Christian store in the West Acres Shopping Center will close soon as part of a nationwide shuttering of Family Christian stores.

The local store expects to close for good in about two months, said Stephanie Kost, the store's assistant manager.

Kost wasn't sure how long the store has been operating in the mall, but she said it took over from a similarly themed store in the early 2000s.

Fargo's Family Christian store has about 10 employees, Kost said.

According to published reports, about 240 Family Christian stores will be closing nationwide as the company goes out of business.

The closing of the Family Christian store in West Acres adds to the list of businesses that have recently left or soon will be leaving the mall.

The list includes: Aeropostale, The Limited, New York & Co., Wet Seal, Sears and Simply Mac.

Chris Heaton, senior vice president of property management for West Acres, said aside from the Family Christian store space, the rest of the mall's vacancies are largely spoken for.

"We still seem to have more people interested in coming in than we do vacancies, which is a good problem to have," Heaton said.

While he's not yet at liberty to talk about many of the brands heading for the mall, Heaton said West Acres is close to making an announcement regarding the former TGI Friday's space, which is located in a stand-alone building near the mall.

With some of the other vacancies, temporary operations are being set up until more long-term tenants move in.

Heaton said that is the case with the New York & Co. space, which is being used by an artist in residence who will create art and interact with customers.

"The other half of that space we've created an art gallery that we'll have in there for a few months," Heaton said.

"We're looking at kind of fun, unique pop-up ideas that we can use in some of our spaces in the short term while we get some of these deals finalized," he said.

In the case of the Family Christian store, Heaton said the business was a good fit for West Acres.

"The Family Christian store has done very, very well," he said, adding: "We're going to start planning right away (to fill the vacancy). We'll get a lease out as soon as we possibly can."

Dave Olson
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