WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Eastern Hills Mall on Monday prevented the BFLO Store from moving, as it prepares to open into its new location this week, according to both the store’s owner and the mall’s owners.
“While we were taking out our personal property, fixtures, and improvements; at approximately 7pm today, representatives from the mall came in telling our customers to leave and started bolting the doors and emergency exits shut,” the store said in a Facebook post.
“We really want to be respectful of the building owners,” BFLO Store owner Nathan Mroz told News 4.
Mroz said he appreciated his time as part of the Eastern Hills Mall over the past 10 years. He added that he doesn’t want to impede or hurt any other businesses in the mall, but has put over $2 million into the building and wants to make sure he gets that back.
“I need to do what’s best for the store, our employees and my family,” Mroz said.
Uniland and Mountain Development Corp., owners of the mall, put out the following statement Monday night:
“We have taken actions to prevent the BFLO Store from accessing the Eastern Hills Mall following concerns that they were removing unauthorized structural components from the building which include windows, doors, flooring, plumbing, and light fixtures. We find these actions alarming as they could create life safety issues and/or building code violations, and out of an abundance of caution and safety we have decided that this is the best course of action at this time to protect the Mall’s merchants and guests.”Uniland and Mountain Development Corp.
Mroz said the BFLO Store is being respectful of the building and is leaving it as received — as an empty Sears store. In Monday’s Facebook post, the store said it is waiting on a court order to unlock the doors.
“At this time, we are taking what is rightfully ours and do not agree with Uniland and Mountain Development. We are alarmed they would do this to a local business,” Mroz told News 4 in response to the statement. “We’re trying to open up the new store on 716 Day and they are harming our store by not allowing that.”
“We are not doing anything structural to the building,” Mroz continued. “We are just taking back what is lawfully and rightfully ours.”
The BFLO Store’s grand opening at Transitown is still scheduled for Saturday, 7/16.