MARION -- She hasn't gotten an official notice to vacate the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion, but business owner Teresa Savat figures she has only two realistic options, go out of business or relocate.
"We're in limbo," the owner of Fox's Flowers and Gifts said Monday evening, tired after a day of fielding calls from media outlets as she tended her shop.
Several businesses in the mall -- all with inside mall access only -- got letters over the weekend giving them until Dec. 16 to vacate. Savat was not on that list, and she presumes it is because her shop has a door directly to the outside.
"We're in limbo," she said. "I don't know what's going to happen, but I can't stay like this."
This newspaper has been calling Illinois Star Centre management since Monday, to get answers to a variety of questions, but has not yet gotten a response.
Savat said with the mall closing all inside access, her customers will have to enter through a back delivery door, which she said is a safety issue.
"They would have to come behind the wall, ring the doorbell, then enter through a storage area and our work space," she said.
Along with having to navigate the work and storage space, Savat is concerned that falling concrete from the building facade could injure customers.
"I've talked to them (mall management) about the falling facade," she said. "They said there was nothing they were going to do."
She is also angry that she and her employees were told by the security guard not to speak to the media.
"I think that's wrong," she said. "You're going to tell the businesses they can't talk about what's being done to them? Why can we not talk? This was done to us. They did it. We didn't."
Savat claims management has not made repairs to heating and cooling systems that have broken down.
"I had to pay around $2,000 to get one side fixed so we could get air," she said, a repair that only partly remedied the situation. "We're still not getting 100 percent unless I pay about another $3,000."
She said she purchased portable heaters for the winter but only used them during operating hours. She leaves faucets dripping in freezing temperatures to ward off bursting pipes.
Savat said she is not sure what the future holds, but having to deal with this during the holiday season is horrible.
"My employees are devastated," she said. "It's the worst time of the year. Why couldn't they give another two or three weeks?"
Savat said mall management has not given any reason for the recent actions and letters.
"They won't tell," she said, "but there's more to all of this."