Little Village Discount Mall vendors voice concern over possible new development

CHICAGO, IL (WLS) -- The Discount Mall located in the heart of Little Village has been a destination for new and long standing entrepreneurs for over 20 years. But the new ownership is prompting concern that this neighborhood hub could soon disappear.

"Really we would be out of our business. The business means everything to us its what we depend on, its what countless of other families depend on. Our culture is here, we're here and we want to stay," said Elisa Reyes Salgado, a vendor at the mall.

With over 100 vendors located inside the Discount Mall alone, Elisa Salgado said the impact of out of work vendors could be felt immensely in the community.

"This is where our family gets out income from it's our only source of income, I grew up here basically and I'm not the only one," said Salgado.

Daniela China, another vendor who also grew up at the mall and who now owns her own store at the mall, said the eldest vendors could be the most affected.

"There is a lot of businesses here and a lot of older people here have no other option but to be here because they can't go work anywhere else," said China.

Novak Construction bought the plaza in early February, sparking rumors of development plans, including the possibility of a new big box store.

In a statement, Novak Construction said, " Although rumors and misinformation have surrounded the plaza for months, the owners wish to convey that there will be no re-development plans this year as they seek to understand the market and the neighborhood better." Saying they'd be focusing their first year of ownership on community engagement and giving back to the community immediately.

"The global pandemic is pausing a lot of things but this is only prolonging the inevitable. We really don't want to move we want to stay here," said Salgado.

The young vendor suggests Novak Construction, instead, renovate the Discount Mall building itself, rather than getting rid of it.

"We don't want it to be taken over by a target, that's bland that has no culture. We bring the culture we bring the history and we bring the vibrancy that makes the city so great," said Salgado.
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