STONECREST, Ga. — Some business owners say a mall that’s supposed to uplift them is instead setting them up for failure.
The New Black Wall Street opened in November to great fanfare. But now some are facing a leaky mess.
Some business owners told Channel 2 Action News they’ve had numerous problems at the mall.
Some say they’ve been kicked out for complaining about a leaky roof that was pouring water onto their inventory.
“I had very high hopes of the market being very successful,” vendor Cassandra Shields said.
Vendors who were fortunate enough to get coveted retail space inside the popular New Black Wall Street market say they envisioned nothing but great things from this venture.
“I felt like that was something I greatly wanted to be a part of,” vendor Jason Jones said.
But the vendors say almost from the beginning, problems started pouring in. Especially when it rained.
“Puddles, puddles, puddles. Waters and leaks,” Shields said.
She sent Jones video of numerous leaks in the building and also in her store.
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“Anytime that it rains, you’re going to see some buckets,” Jones said.
He said he had to deal with excessive leaks in his unit. Some of the water damaged his inventory.
“It was very serious because I work with electronic devices,” Jones said.
Jones said his lease was unlawfully terminated because he kept complaining about the leaks.
Shields said the mall’s owner also told her to get out.
“He said, ‘You could take your stuff and go.’ He said, ‘I don’t want any more people complaining about the rain,’” Shields said.
Shields and Jones said this was supposed to be a venture to uplift African American businesses and owners.
“I haven’t been uplifted yet,” Jones said.
“I am very disappointed and very saddened,” Shields said.
Matt Hampton, the director of the market, acknowledges it has had problems with leaks.
“We’re constantly working to make those repairs to the building,” Hampton said.
Hampton said the market is committed to taking minority businesses to the next level.
“We don’t want a few instances where it just didn’t work out for folks to represent this brand and to represent the direction we are going in,” Hampton said.
Hampton said this is all a part of the growing pains of the business. He said the market is having meetings with vendors to address their concerns.
He said market is doing well with over 6,000 visitors last week.
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