BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - Shoppers who go to Desoto Square Mall are seeing more vacant signs, and fewer of their favorite shops. Those shoppers say they hope something is done to revive the mall, to keep them from having to drive around to shop.
“It’s no longer a mall like it used to be back then,” said Ranferi Milan shops at the mall twice a month. “It used to be a big spot here,” he said.
While Milan manages to spend his time and cash on jewelry, he says for everything else he has to make a drive.
“It used to be a good mall but no longer is. I hope sooner or later they fix it up,” he said.
On Friday, ABC 7 walked around the mall, and we found store after store shut down. At our count, at least 45 store fronts are vacant. Some of those stores still clearly visible on the mall directory.
We reached out to Manatee County to see if they are working on a plan to redevelop the mall. In a statement, the county says its staff have had preliminary discussions with the owners but it’s still very early in the process. Now many shoppers just hope that something gets done soon so the mall can become what it once was.
“We ain’t got nothing, it’ll be nice to have the mall back,” said Jermaine Jackson.
We did reach out to the mall owners through phone and in person for comment, but have not received a call back.