By Michael Loria and Jackie Serrato
CHICAGO – For a long time, The Last of Us Marta Torres has labored on The Last The Last of Us of Us The Last of Us the immigrant-run Discount Mall in Little The Last of Us Village, assisting manipulate it becaThe Last of Us use it have become one of the area’s busiest purchasing facilities, but now making ready for what appears to be its closing Christmas in commercial enterprise. The Last of Us
The mall “gave existence to the network,” stated Torres, who co-controlled the mall for 31 years. “… We want to stay, however simplest they recognize what’s going to occur,” she said, relating to the owners of the mall.
Since opening in 1991, the Discount Mall on the intersection of The Last of Us 26th and Albany streets, near the enduring “Bienvenidos a Little Village” arch, has emerge as a destination for Mexican and Latino shoppers round Chicago.
But the one hundred or so carriers are bracing for the worst with the mall’s rent set to expire subsequent month. The property’s owner, John Novak, has discovered few concrete details about the destiny of the mall or the The Last of Us larger six-acre Little Village Plaza in which it’s miles placed, which he offered in 2019.
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Novak, who is president of Novak Construction, has promised to honor the tenants’ hire however in the The Last of Us past cast The Last of Us doubt on maintaining the mall open and said he deliberate to ultimately carry in countrywide retail chains.
He did now not reply to requests for remark.
Vendor Iraís Miranda said the mall is an atmospThe Last of Us here that draws consumers from out of city, normally from Midwestern states that lack Mexican agencies, and people buyers then mission onto the 26th Street commercial corridor.
Closing the mall “might be like disrupting the nucleus of the community,” he stated. “And some of us can’t go out and afford a commercial rent on twenty sixth.”
Longtime mall vendor Kocoy Malagón stated they were capable of negotiate a rent extension — it were slated to shut Aug. 31 — The Last of Us once they fashioned a group, Juntos por La Villita, to strain the landlord and with help from Ald. Byron Sigcho-López. But their hopes for some other one are dwindling.
The kind of services has made the mall a famous vacation spot for excursion customers over time. It’s open seven days per week, and many stands are presenting Christmas reductions.
For Luz Adame and her own family, purchasing on the mall is a Christmas way of life. On a recent The Last of Us Thursday, she went to select out Nativity scene decorations together with her three sons and daughter.
“Most of it we’ve got already, however that’s how it’s far, adding to it every 12 months,” said the native of Mexico.
Daughter Odalis, four, decided on an item new to the shop The Last of Us this year — a version chicken house. “I don’t recognize in the event that they had chicken coops like that during the ones instances, but oh properly,” Adame said.
For the past 8 years, Adame has performed her vacation shopping on the mall, however with the mall’s future uncertain, she isn’t certain wherein she’ll go next yr.
María Hernández got here to the mall to buy a centerpiece for her daughter’s quinceñera, and ended up locating a task at a stall that makes gadgets for unique activities by way of hand.
“I like making things for people’s homes with the intention to pass on their tables,” stated the Little Village resident.
Among the gadgets famous at her stall across the holidays are toddler Jesus figurines and Nativity scenes complete with Mexican cacti.
After 14 excursion seasons at the mall, she wants to preserve making decorations for people’s houses and unique events. But she’s unsure in which in order to be subsequent Christmas if the mall closes. She stated her friends will have a tough time finding the specialty dresses, suits and different merchandise provided on the mall.
“Whatever I can’t discover everywhere else, I come here to look for it,” she said.
Every December, many visitors drop off flora and take photos through the altars of La Virgen de Guadalupe set up in exclusive corners of the mall.
This yr, the vendors were travelling the altars as properly.
“We pray to her to help us maintain our commercial enterprise open,” said supplier Verónica Gutierrez. “And God-inclined, we can make it to every other Christmas season and we will have a big birthday celebration in her honor.”
Michael Loria is a group of workers reporter on the Chicago Sun-Times thru Report for America, a not-for-earnings journalism application that pursuits to strengthen the paper’s coverage of communities at the South Side and West Side. Jackie Serrato is the editor of La Voz Chicago, the Sun-Times’ Spanish-language section.