DeSoto Square mall has a new general manager who’s ready to turn the nearly 40-year-old mall around.
Don Burrow started his career at DeSoto Square in security in 1985, and he wants to “make the place the way it was in the ’80s,” he told the Bradenton Herald. He’s been general manager at DeSoto Square for the last two months.
Burrow sent out a press release Tuesday with a hopeful tone, informing people that the mall is seeking new tenants.
“We have several options and store sizes available,” his release states. “Please contact 941-747-5860 to make an appointment to see our locations. The foot traffic has picked up quite a bit in the recent weeks and with more stores coming in to lease space this traffic will continue to pick up.”
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Burrow wasn’t able to say much else and referred the Herald to the mall’s corporate management office, Mason Asset Management. Corporate representatives did not return calls for comment by end of day Tuesday.
The new manager, who after his security job at DeSoto Square left to work in public safety, wants the mall to be seen more positively in the eyes of Bradenton residents. But the road to a new image won’t be without roadblocks.
The mall itself has structural issues, indicated by the multiple buckets placed throughout the mall to catch falling water from a leaky roof. The floor is cracked in several places and the largest issue in the mall lies with the multiple vacant storefronts.
Over the sales tax holiday weekend, though, DeSoto Square mall saw decent foot traffic. JCPenney’s new manager Jodi Rice said turning the place around will take more than effort from her or one day of good sales.
“I would love to,” Rice said. “But, no, it will take a whole team effort. We’ve got a great mall manager who is really working hard getting some other vendors into this mall. I think we have a very loyal JCPenney customer who would love to see a little refresh to the mall. I think our customers will help build that business up for the mall.”