What’s next for Northlake Mall? Stores grappling with effects of recent violence

Recent violence in and around the mall has led to concerns for store owners and leaders.
Recent violence in and around the mall has led to concerns for store owners and leaders.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:50 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After several instances of violence at Northlake Mall, many are wondering what’s next.

Sam Nehme is the CEO of NOA Living, and also manages the niche home goods store. His store just opened up in January, and he’s already concerned about the impact of recent violence on business.

The most recent instance came last month, when a shooting at the mall marked the third such event either inside or outside the mall within a three-month span.

Within days of that shooting, Apple shut its doors in late February. The store didn’t say if its closure was related to violence, and did not connect crime with the closing.

Nehme said his store used to get a lot of traffic, being right next to Apple.

“Things slowed, traffic slowed down tremendously,” Nehme said, referring to the time since Apple’s exit. “We used to get a lot of people coming to pick up their computer, to buy a new computer, so they see this is very attractive, they wander in.”

Cindy Fox, a marketing lecturer at UNC Charlotte, said the mall appeared to have had an identity problem even before the most recent issues. She said that original issue has since grown into a bigger problem, with multiple instances of violence leading to a rocky public image and an unreliable customer base.

Charlotte city councilmember James “Smuggie” Mitchell said the issues facing the mall have been “very disappointing” for him, after he played a large role in creating the mall nearly two decades ago in 2005.

Now, 18 years after it opened, Mitchell said 25% of the stores inside the mall are unoccupied.

“What is the next step, do we rebrand it? Do we repurpose it?” he asked. “And for us, for that area to continue to have growth, I think Northlake Mall has to be successful.”

Following his remarks, Mitchell did say that strategies are in the works.

In the meantime, Northlake Mall said it is “excited to announce new stores...and [a] security enhancement plan” soon.

Related: ‘People don’t feel safe’: Violence at Northlake Mall taking toll on nearby businesses