A lot of the news surrounding Gateway Mall lately has been negative, with the loss of Younkers, Sears and other, smaller tenants such as Yankee Candle, Charlotte Russe, Things Remembered and Payless ShoeSource.
But there is some good news. Gateway officials said they don't expect other announced store closing announcements by Foot Locker, J.C. Penney or Victoria's Secret to affect the mall.
And there is a lot of positive stuff happening there as well. Here is some of it:
* "Athleisurewear" retailer Lululemon, which had originally planned to close its temporary store Jan. 31, has extended its stay until the end of May.
* Hot Topic recently relocated to a space near Journeys and increased its square footage by 80 percent to 2,700.
* Helzberg Diamonds is doing a major remodel of its space that should be complete in the next couple of months. In the meantime, it has moved to a temporary space near Dick's Sporting Goods.
* A local boutique called The Nines opened a pop-up store at the mall Feb. 25 and will be open until May 25.
Speaking of pop-up stores, Gateway last week announced plans for its third "Battle of the Pop-Up" contest.
People with an innovative retail, service or product idea can submit it by April 19 for a chance at the winning prize of a space at the mall rent-free for four months, use of existing mall or store fixtures, free utilities, and a $500 merchandising package that includes interior signage, table-printed displays and graphic design services.
You do not have to have an existing business to enter, but if you are chosen as the winner, you must be prepared to get a business license and open at the mall by July 1.
Information on how to enter can be found at: www.shoppinggatewaymall.com/thechallenge.
“Our previous winners, Deimante Matz who operated Diamond’s Bath Gems, Hayley Reed’s H.Flynn, and Sarah Mullins’ Feya Candle Company, were terrific ideas and very well received by the community,” Becky Sidles, marketing director at Gateway Mall, said in a news release. “We are really looking forward to seeing the great ideas people submit this time.”
One down, three to go
Sears, which closed last weekend, is the first of five big box stores that will be closing in Lincoln this spring. The other four are all Shopkos, and the first of those shut its doors Saturday.
The Shopko at 3400 N. 27th St. closed for good Saturday. It lasted just short of 19 years, having opened in April 2000.
Its closing was announced in December, about a month before the company declared bankruptcy and announced it would close all of its Lincoln stores.
The other three Shopkos, at 66th and O streets, 27th Street and Nebraska 2 and 27th and Pine Lake Road, are tentatively scheduled to close next month.
A spokesman for Menards, which has owned the Shopko building since 2015, said the building is listed for lease, and it is seeking another tenant.
Good news for Gordmans
Despite closing all of its Lincoln stores, Shopko is attempting to reorganize in bankruptcy and keep about 100 stores open.
That's something that Gordmans was able to do successfully, albeit with help from a new owner.
The retailer, which was based in Omaha for more than 100 years, declared bankruptcy two years ago and at the time appeared headed for liquidation.
However, Houston-based Stage Stores bought more than 50 stores, including the one in Lincoln, and kept operating them under the Gordmans name.
Bankrupt retailers don't usually wind up as success stories, but Gordmans is looking that way, at least for now.
Stage Stores announced plans this month to open 38 new Gordmans stores across eight states. Though none of the new locations is in Nebraska, the retailer said it plans to open more new stores this summer.
Most of the new stores being opened are in smaller communities, so that might bode well for some Nebraska communities that have lost Sears, Shopko, Kmart and other national retailers over the past few years.