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Mom-and-pop shops say new Bronx mall is hurting their businesses

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BAYCHESTER, The Bronx (PIX11) -- Some store owners at a strip mall in the Bronx are blaming the borough's new indoor mall next door for causing their businesses to take a hit in sales.

"I was doing an average of $23,000 a week.  Now like $11,000," said Kada Boudjeltia, manager of Portabella, a menswear shop.

The Mall at Bay Plaza in the Baychester section is the first suburban type of mall to be built in the city in four decades.

Shoppers standing in long lines couldn't wait to get in to check it out when it opened in mid-August.  And that's when some of the small stores outside of it started losing customers.

Boudjeltia said some of his workers have asked to be transferred to another Portabella.

"Our people, they feel it. The check is going down, no customers, no sales, no money.  Everybody's not happy," he said.

Shopper Earl Gaynor, first had lunch at Applebee's in the strip mall, then walked over to the new mall.

"I like it better over there," he said. "It's just fresh, new choices."

Betsy Brady is sticking with the stores at the strip mall.

"I'm happy that the new mall is here because I think everything coming in is better for the area.  But for me, I will still be coming to these smaller stores," said Brady. "I really enjoy the smaller kind of environment."

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