ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) - The Toys R Us store across from Midway Mall in Elyria is set to close, along with more than 700 others across the country, as the big box retailer shuts its doors for good.
That's not good news for the area around Midway Mall, which has struggled in recent years with a number of stores have left town.
"Driving through, you're just sad, because it used to be really poppin back in the day," said Dianna Schindler, who works near the area. "Here we are in a building that's falling apart."
However, Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda said things are beginning to change.
The former Office Max became a discount high-end fashion retailer. The old Walmart will soon reopen as an auto parts supplier.
"We have a unique situation here in Elyria, where we do have the benefits of three major highway systems coming together," said Brinda, citing the opportunity the city has to attract new retailers.
Brinda said there is a strategy for filling the old storefronts.
"We're looking at some more high-end apartments in that area, and kind of switching out to some discount retail. higher-end discount retail. We're working the strategy. It's coming along. Slowly, but it's coming along," she said.
A Courtyard Marriott hotel, a new construction, will open in the spring. Brinda says they're also in talks with another hotel for that area.
As far as what they'll do with the space Toys R Us now occupies?
"The closing of Toys R Us is certainly presenting yet another challenge," said Brinda. "It's sad. Some of my fondest memories are with my own four children, walking through the Toys R Us in Elyria, Ohio."