JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — Going once. Going twice. Sold. The former Sears location at Johnstown Galleria was sold to a storage facility in a recent auction.
The deal has the mall’s owner pushing back though in an effort to stop all plans for the storage facility.
“They asked me if I wanted to sell the mall and I said no. I’m doing this for the people in the community,” Leo Karruli, Owner of Johnstown Galleria, said.
Karruli purchased the mall just over a year ago and has since filled vacant storefronts in an effort to revamp the mall.
An employee in the mall, who wanted to remain anonymous, is against the idea of a storage facility and told us they noticed how hard Karruli has been working to rebuild the infrastructure.
They also noted that it might not be the safest place to store your items because of the amount of traffic the mall receives on a daily basis.
One shopper, Melanie Rininger, doesn’t think a storage facility belongs in a mall.
“It’s not necessary. We need a big store. We need to build up the economy,” Rininger said.
Karruli is planning to seek help from local government officials, and if he’s unsuccessful, he’ll start a petition with the support of his community and his tenants in the mall.
“We need something that will attract people to the mall and make them want to spend money,” said Mark Vios, a regular shopper at Johnstown Galleria.
Karruli said he’s using platforms like Facebook to gain support for the petition.
The name of the storage facility that bought the Sears location is unknown.