Longtime local stores closing in Arnot Mall amid pandemic

Local

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Businesses across the nation are closing due to the pandemic and now two longtime stores at Arnot Mall are closing – one shutting down permanently.

The Halloween Warehouse may be closing after this weekend, and right across the mall, the Happy Hippo will close after 13 years of business. However, that won’t be until the end of January 2021.

Even though Halloween is right around the corner the Owner of Halloween Warehouse, Don Lewis, said the store may be closing after the weekend.

“All these rules and all these regulations that change every day that’s just bearing an overbearing on a small business when you have thousands of dollars in merchandise to try to overcome that when you don’t know if there’s Halloween or wait for Cuomo to give you answers and small businesses can only do so much,” said Lewis.

Lewis has been opening the seasonal store for eight years at Arnot Mall but he says he’s not sure if they’ll return next year.

“I don’t think anybody has a complete clue of what’s taking place so everything’s up in the air at this point but this year we just can’t keep fighting the battles,” said Lewis.

The Owner of Happy Hippo, a children’s toy store also at the mall, is announcing a permanent closure of her business. Julie Delgrosso reminisces on the 13 years of business but looks forward to next year’s potential at her other business, the Christmas House in Elmira.

“I guess this is going to be the official announcement,” said Delgrosso. “We had a great run at Happy Hippo we’ve been there this is our 13th years so we’re calling it lucky 13.”

The old-fashioned toy store created a hands-on space for kids to play with trinkets that mom, dad and grandparents also enjoyed.

“Well, COVID has made it so our toy store which has always been very interactive is much less active these days from 50 interactive displays to probably three,” said Delgrosso. “Three is probably a number we can keep control of and keep wiped down and sanitize.”

Both owners are having major sales until stores are closed. The Halloween Warehouse will be having a 30% discount and The Happy Hippo will increase discounts steadily until products run out.

However from costume shop to children’s toy store closures, the impact of the pandemic in our area is clear.

“It’s affected everybody, not just the small business owners. It’s affected the general public as a whole,” said Lewis.

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