Fire heavily damages South Jersey mall, leaving businesses losing money, looking for alternate locations

It’s been three and a half weeks since a fire broke out at a South Jersey mall and much of the Voorhees Town Center is still shut down.

Tuesday night, there is no timeline on a full reopening. Employees say they’re losing money and they’re not the only ones feeling the impact.

Tang Soo Karate class went on in the drizzle outside and small business owners say they have not been told anything about when the mall may reopen.

"It’s hard. This is my busy time when we have graduations, events and those types of things and every day is a loss for us, right now," explained Bobbi Daniels, with Days to Remember.

Nick Capuozzo, with Tang Soo Karate, said, "We haven’t really heard any news, yet, but until then, we’re still gonna do our classes outside, until we do hear some news."

From senior mall walkers with their hands on their hips reading the mall closed signs wondering how much longer they’ll have to walk around the mall outside the mall, to shoppers who miss their favorite food spots and the boxing business now kept away from their punching bags inside.

Shopper Ciarra Reeve stated, "I miss the mall being open. I miss getting food and just hanging out."

"We just keep going. Gotta keep training regardless where we’re at," boxing student Ricardo Quintana said.

Boxing instructor Kim Giacobbe added, "We’re looking for a new place right now. We’re not sure when we’re gonna get back in."

Signs on the mall’s doors read "Voorhees Town Center’s interior spaces are closed to the public due to fire damage. We’re closed. We apologize for any inconvenience" next to order to vacate signs saying the building is declared unsafe for human occupancy.

The formerly named Echelon Mall opened in 1970, with long closed Philadelphia anchor stores like Strawbridge and Clothier. Tuesday, the mall’s website says the mall will remain closed to the public during the fire clean up.

Giacobbe went on, "Right now, we’re looking for a temporary location just so we can operate and keep the foot traffic to keep us going and alive during this time."

And, for the karate class, the biggest enemy they’re training against, "Fighting Mother Nature that’s for sure. One day it’s hot, one day it’s really cold. If it rains, we can’t have class. It’s really challenging for all the students and especially the instructors, too."