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Former Westdale stores spread far after big shuffle

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CEDAR RAPIDS — After Westdale Mall closed its doors, it left a void for many businesses that had still been located there during years of waning foot traffic. Some of those stores have moved to other locations in Cedar Rapids, others completely out of town.

The Popcorn Shoppe is now in North Liberty. Despite the distance from their old location, co-owner Leo Young still has plenty of customers popping in.

“We had about 3 months to let our customer base know that they were closing the doors and we had to move,” Young told us.

Now near the intersection of West Penn Street and Highway 965, they’re about 15 miles from their old home at Westdale. Young said many loyal customers still drive the distance for their favorite treats, and he sees plenty of new ones, too. The only not-so-sweet thing about this location has been ongoing construction on Highway 965 nearby, and unexpected build out costs for the new shop.

“That was very expensive for me,” Young said, not venturing a guess at how much. “I just paid the bills as they came in, so my tax man will tell me at the end of the year how much money I spent.”

Their old Westdale neighbor, Locker Room Legends, moved to Lindale Mall after a brief closure.

“We were closed for 38 days, I believe, was the total,” said Derek Kemble, in between helping customers. Kemble said that still throws a few people off.

“Thankfully, being in the Cedar Rapids area still, we were able to keep our same store phone number, so that helps with a lot of people,” Kemble told us. “We still get people calling us to this point, saying ‘hey, we’re over at Westdale, it’s not open. Where did you guys move to?’”

However, Kemble said social media and word-of-mouth have kept sports fans coming into their new location. Packing up and moving the thousands of items on their shelves was challenging, and they did it with no professional help.

“So many friends and family over here putting in long days,” Kemble said.

Elevate Salon and Spa, previously called City Looks, moved into a retail development directly to the north, just across from the mall’s parking lot.

Something Special was another local staple at Westdale, but they are still searching for a location in Cedar Rapids. They continue to operate out of their Moline location.

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