The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 12, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Mall stores finding new homes

Talk about musical chairs. That appears to be what’s happening with the relocation of some businesses on the north end of Northpark Mall.

Old Navy, always a popular back-to-school stop, has moved into a storefront that housed Tilt, the arcade where kids could have some fun while their parents shopped.

The Old Navy store is bright and colorful, and the layout is better in that you see merchandise up front now instead of a line of cash registers.

Tilt is in the process of moving to a spot north of Old Navy that once housed a martial arts center.

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts relocated to a small storefront on the south end of the mall after its store in the Bel-Aire Shopping Center at 20th Street and Range Line was blown away by the tornado. It’s moving to the spot that Old Navy occupied.

The new Jo-Ann store, which offers all kinds of stuff for sewing and crafts, will be much larger than the original store.

It plans to open on Aug. 31.

Speaking of the mall — it was hopping with shoppers Friday afternoon.

Today’s front-page story about Joplin’s falling unemployment rate might have something to do with that.

Plato’s  Closet

North Park Crossing, south of the mall, has a new shop called Plato’s Closet. It’s in the same building as Chico’s and Comeau Jewelry.

This store is not your typical secondhand clothing store. It buys gently used clothing and accessories that are top-name brands. The items need to be trendy, clean and in good condition.

Typically, the store will buy items that have been in retail stores within the past 12 to 18 months and are current styles still seen in the mall.

Here’s how it works: While you check out the latest styles in the store, the buyer will review your items. The buyer will create an offer based on style, condition, brand and the store’s current stock levels, referring to a database. Once you accept the offer, you’ll be on your way with some extra cash or some new clothing that you have found in the store.

Most stores buy and sell girls sizes 0/1 to 15/16 and guys sizes 28 to 40 waist.

The store is not selling anything at this time. It’s only buying to build up its inventory. It will be open for sales sometime in mid-September, when a grand opening is planned. It is my understanding that an opening of a Plato’s Closet can attract a really big crowd.

Stay tuned — details to come.

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