HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – Virginia Center Commons will officially close its doors to business at midnight on Tuesday. While some people spent the day reminiscing in the once-busy building, business owners like Billy Dixon didn’t have that luxury.
“I feel like I’m being pushed out the door,” Dixon said.
Dixon says the past few weeks have been a mad rush to completely strip down his Dixon’s Online Estate Auctions business, and Monday was no different.
Like all VCC business owners, Dixon was given 90 days to vacate the mall after it was announced the indoor complex would close for good, but Dixon doesn’t think that will be possible by midnight.
“There’s not enough time,” Dixon said. “We’re in the midnight hour but we’ll make the best of it and move on from there.”
Dixon says his business has operated at the VCC for four years and has taken up about 90,000 square feet of space in the mall, which is filled to the brim with his inventory. He says sourcing the resources to move was easy, but finding a suitable location to move was the real struggle.
“It took us nearly 40 days to find a building, and it’s enormously smaller than this space,” Dixon said. “It’s only about 15,000 square feet. There is no way we can get everything today.”
With so little time left, Dixon says he’s been trying to get as much inventory out of the mall as possible because if he doesn’t, he’ll likely lose once the doors are locked. Dixon says the mall manager took the keys to the mall Monday morning, so he won’t be able to access his merchandise after midnight.
“We’re going to leave a lot of product behind,” Dixon said. “Approximately $45,000 of inventory will remain in the building. Unfortunately we cannot record everything. We don’t have enough space.”
Though his shop is closed on Monday, Dixon says his staff agreed to come in anyway to try to salvage as much of his online auction business as possible and have all hands on deck getting those goods onto moving trucks bring. Dixon says even loyal customers were willing to help.
“My wife and I both agreed this was the right place to invest our time,” said client Tony Taylor.
Taylor says he first started shopping on Dixon’s auction site in 2020 and has been hooked ever since. Although he lives almost an hour and a half away in Buckingham County, Taylor says he has space on his farm to help store Dixon’s inventory.
“I have a bed above the trailer that will carry a lot of weight. So when Billy had all the pallets out there, I just thought maybe I could come over on a nice day when they could load and I could unload them at his new location 12 pallets at a time,” Dixon said. “It’s just an extraordinary amount of merchandise and to get that amount of merchandise a lot of it was palletized and set up and trying to get that type of product to market in 90 days is really unrealistic.”
“I don’t see any bulldozers coming tomorrow, so I don’t see why they can’t give the companies longer time to get their stuff out,” Dixon said.
But Dixon probably won’t be able to afford the extra time. The VCC executive told NBC12 that after tomorrow, none of the companies will have access to the building, even if they left goods inside.
“All businesses had 90 days to move out of the mall. Some people have taken this time appropriately, some have not, but after tomorrow they will not be able to access the building once the building has been handed over to the demolition contractors,” the manager told NBC12.
Once the property has been handed over to the demolition contractor, work will begin to demolish the old mall to make way for a brand new sports complex. Cranes can already be seen on the Glen Allen property erecting the first of the new buildings that will make up the sports complex.
“We have cash and carry until 3 p.m., but as soon as the mall closes, I’m sure the mall managers will come by to do cash and carry for our inventory,” Dixon said.
Dixon’s new location is at 187 Wadsworth Drive in Richmond, VA, off the Midlothian Turnpike and Route 76.
“It’s 15,000 square feet, it’s a beautiful store, and we rent from Thalheimer’s,” Dixon said. “They made a lot of adjustments to use the space for us. You have been a wonderful landlord and I only wish I could say the same for VCC.”
Dixon is hoping for a miracle before midnight and somehow getting a little more time to completely relocate his business.
“Had we gotten January 1st or had we had more time to move, we would have found out in time,” Dixon said.
The mall will be open for one last sale on Tuesday between 9am and 2pm. VCC will sell out all chairs, tables and other furnishings.
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