25 years of revitalizing the Western Mall; tenants reflect on owner’s impact ahead of pending sale

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Western Mall could soon be under new ownership.

Tenants at the mall tell KELOLAND News they were recently notified of the potential change.

“Our property manager notified all of us tenants that there would be a potential new buyer,” 605 Ninja owner Jason Steinberg said.

While a spokesperson for mall’s current owner says the sale of the state’s first indoor mall is not yet complete, owner Bill Hinks wanted to make sure he notified his nearly 50 tenants about the pending change.

“I had a little bit of a panic attack at first. But everything has been taken care of, at least for the tenants,” Kids 2 College Furniture owner, Traci Kavanaugh, said. “We know that things aren’t going to change drastically even if there is somebody new that’s coming on board.”

While the tenants may not notice many changes in day-to-day operations, saying farewell to their longtime landlord will be the biggest adjustment.

“It does make me a little sad because Bill has been a terrific landlord for us, he’s been very, very supportive of all the businesses here,” Kavanaugh said.

“We could not have gotten a better spot than the Western Mall,” Steinberg said. “When we were looking, there were a lot of people that didn’t want to take a chance on us as young entrepreneurs, but Bill Hinks was one of those people that gave us our shot, so we have loved the mall ever since then.”

605 Ninja has done so well in the Western Mall, it’s in the process of adding on a nearly 8,000 square foot addition on the west end of the mall.

“We were in need of more space… And he came back to me with the idea of adding on to our existing space. He’s been a great person to work with and I respect him a lot for that,” Steinberg said.

“He’s made a huge difference in all of these businesses, I really believe that,” Kavanaugh said. “There’s a lot of small businesses here and I don’t think people realize that. This whole mall is made up of startups basically.”

From services to stores, gyms, movie theaters and more, Kavanaugh said these local businesses have all benefited from the changes made to the mall under Hink’s ownership.

“Bill has done a lot to really improve on the mall where it started years ago where he first got it and it really needed a lot of help. This has been a pet project for him,” Kavanaugh said.

A project the Furniture Mart Founder has been committed to since the early 1990s, dedicating nearly 30 years to revitalizing the mall that opened in 1968.

“There has to be changes, that’s just the way the world works. Bill is 83 years old he was due to maybe enjoy life a little bit more, take it easy, although I doubt he will,” Kavanaugh said.

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