Business owners scramble to free up VCC before midnight shutdown

Henrico, Va. (WWBT) – At midnight Tuesday, the Virginia Centre Commons will officially close for business. While some people spend a day in the once-bustling building on the road to memory, business owners like Billy Dixon don’t have that luxury.

“I did feel like I was being pushed out the door,” Dixon said.

Dixon said the frantic sprint over the past few weeks has seen his business Dixon’s online real estate auction move out completely, and Monday was no exception.

Like all VCC business owners, Dixon had 90 days to move out of the mall once it was announced that the indoor complex would permanently close, but Dixon didn’t think it would be possible before midnight.

“Not enough time,” Dixon said. “We’re at midnight, but we’ll make the most of it and go from there.”

Dixon said his business, which has been in operation at VCC for four years, occupies about 90,000 square feet in the mall, and his inventory is full. He said getting resources to relocate was easy, but finding a suitable relocation site was the real struggle.

“It took us almost 40 days to find a building that was much smaller than this space,” Dixon said. “It’s only about 15,000 square feet. Heck, we can’t get all of this today.”

With so little time left, Dixon said he’s been scrambling to get as much stock out of the mall as possible because if he doesn’t, he’s likely to lose once the door is locked. Dixon said the manager of the mall took the keys to the mall on Monday morning, so he couldn’t access his merchandise after midnight.

“We’re going to be left with a lot of product,” Dixon said. “About $45,000 of inventory will remain in the building. Unfortunately, we cannot accept that. We don’t have enough space.”

Although his company was closed Monday, Dixon said his employees agreed to come in anyway, to try to save his online auction business and go all out to get the goods on moving trucks. Even loyal customers agreed to lend a helping hand, Dixon said.

“My wife and I both agree it’s about freeing up time to do the right thing,” customer Tony Taylor said.

Taylor said he first started shopping on Dixon’s auction site in 2020 and has been hooked ever since. Although he lives nearly an hour and a half from Buckingham County, Taylor said his farm has room to help store some of Dixon’s inventory.

“I have a deck above the trailer and it can take a lot of weight, so when Billy put all the pallets in there, I just thought maybe I could come on a good day when I could load it, and I could The new location is 12 pallets at a time,” Dixon said. “It’s just a staggering amount of merchandise, and to get that much merchandise, a lot of it is palletized and set up, and trying to get this product out in 90 days is really unrealistic.”

“I can’t see bulldozers coming in tomorrow, so I don’t see why they can’t give businesses extended time to get their stuff out,” Dixon said.

But the extra time is something Dixon may not be able to afford. The VCC manager told NBC12 that after tomorrow, no businesses will be able to enter the building, even if there is merchandise inside.

“All businesses have 90 days to move out of the mall. Some people use that time appropriately, some people don’t, but after tomorrow, once the building is handed over to the demolition contractor, they will no longer be able to enter the building, ‘ the manager told NBC12.

Once the property is handed over to demolition contractors, they will demolish the old mall to make way for a brand new sports field. The cranes are already visible on Glen Allen land, the first of the new structures that make up the stadium.

“We don’t do cash pickups until 3 p.m., but once the mall closes, I’m sure the mall managers will come over and do cash pickups for our inventory,” Dixon said.

Dixon’s new address is at 187 Wadsworth Drive in Richmond, Virginia, near the Midlothian Turnpike and Route 76.

“It’s 15,000 square feet and it’s a beautiful store that we rented from Thalheimer’s,” Dixon said. “They’ve made a lot of adjustments to make the space work in our favor. They’ve been a great landlord and I just wish I could say the same to VCC.”

Dixon hopes for a miracle before midnight, and he may get more time to shift his business completely.

“If we get Jan. 1 or have more time to move, we’ll get it out in time,” Dixon said.

The mall will have its last sale on Tuesday between 9am and 2pm, and VCC will sell all chairs, tables and other fixtures.

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