Power returns to Seminole Towne Center mall after 3 days of lost business

The City of Sanford said power came back on at the Seminole Towne Center mall, as of 8:45 p.m. Saturday. The mall was open regular hours, Sunday. Vendors inside, like Amer Bitar, said it was three days of lost business. "Food-wise, I'm gonna say maybe two or three thousand at least, a couple of thousand dollars," he said. 

Bitar owns the Pita Gourmet at the mall's food court, which serves Greek and Middle Eastern dishes. Without any way to keep his ingredients cold and fresh, he had to get rid of most of it. "We had to throw a lot of food away, we had to worry about if the mall's gonna open or not."

Sanford officials say they were in touch with the mall's New York-based owners, who said they've paid the electric bill. They've also contacted FPL who said they were ready to reconnect the power as soon as the owners made the payment. Other news outlets have reported that these owners haven't paid the bills on other malls they own across the country. 

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The city says they are committed to redeveloping the mall. They said they’d be meeting with owners to discuss those plans.

Ginger Cleland, who owns Spirit Rising Bodywork and Energetics in the mall, said it just wasn’t right. "There are other people that we’re paying our rent to that they’re taking care of their families or whatever but what about all the mom and pops inside the mall besides me? I’m about integrity and character and I don’t see that."

Bitar spent the morning restocking his fridge and freezer with fresh foods. He said times were tough for many indoor malls across the country. 

Over the years, he's seen a steady drop-off in overall customers at the Seminole Towne Center. "They're struggling like every, a lot of malls in this country are struggling. So I can't blame them and I don't have an answer, actually."