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The River Renovation Project is Underway at East Hills Shopping Center

The mall announced The River project on Wednesday. The project will consist of renovations to parts of the shopping center, including new stores and a coffee shop.

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 8:00 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Two more stores are closing at East Hills Shopping Center following a national trend of malls struggling for business. 

On Thursday, LIDS closed its doors for good at East Hills, and Charlotte Russe will be closing on Monday.

Mall employees said a lot of competition for shopping centers comes from online retailers.

"Retail trends are constantly changing, and we just have to change with it," Miu Sutton, East Hills marketing director, said.

The mall said they have a plan in motion to combat the declining in-store shopping experience.

"A lot of people think that we're - because retail trends keep changing we might be closing down or all those stores are leaving, but no. We're still here," Sutton said.

The mall announced The River project on Wednesday. The project will consist of renovations to parts of the shopping center, including new stores and a coffee shop.

Sutton said the area where Topsy's Popcorn is now will be completely redone. The mall wants to incorporate a more modern atmosphere to appeal to a wide range of shoppers.

"It's going to be set up like a stream - like a river," Sutton said. "Everything's going to be glass, and it's a great incubator space for new businesses."

Topsy's Popcorn will remain at East Hills at a different location in the mall next to PINK and Kay Jewelers.

Sutton said the new design should attract more local businesses and inspiring entrepreneurs in St. Joe and surrounding areas.

"This style is used in California and bigger cities to try and get investors for their business," Sutton said.

One local shopper, David Osgood, said he would be on board with the new look.

"Well I think that it's a really great idea. You know, I hope that it works," Osgood said,

Sutton said the mall hopes to have the renovations completed by the end of the summer.

"You're going to see a lot more new things at East Hills Shopping Center," Sutton said.

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Dangerous heat will move into the area today with highs reaching the upper 90s to triple digits. Heat index values will likely be between 100-106. Use caution when spending time outside this afternoon. Hot and humid conditions will continue on Friday with highs back in the upper 90s and lower 100s with heat index values reaching triple digits. A cold front will move through the area Friday afternoon into the evening bringing the chance for a few showers and thunderstorms. Scattered rain chances will continue through the weekend with highs in the lower 90s. Highs in the 80s will return for the beginning of next week.
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