Businesses and customers are returning to a shopping center that once boasted bustling crowds but in recent years had stood mostly vacant.
The Eddyville Mall, formerly the West Kentucky Factory Outlet Store, has been under new ownership since early this year. The new owners, CED Investments, a private investment firm in Mayfield, felt the property was wasting its potential.
"Every property has a highest and best use," said Tim Beck, the former project manager and current operations manager at the mall. "We felt there was no better use for this property than what it was originally intended for."
Beck said work has been done in recent months to renovate the property, including remodeling and updating facilities, to attract businesses.
Beck emphasized that the mall, while it may eventually contain some outlet stores, would focus on attracting local businesses with strong reputations in the community - a strategy he believes will pay dividends.
"This is going to work, it's already working," said Beck, talking about businesses that have already opened at the mall. Of the 50 available lots, about 15 are filled.
One business is Shooter's Supply, a well-known Paducah gun store's second location, which Beck said uses about four lots in the mall.
Lynn McCutchen, the owner of the Eddyville store as well as the original in Paducah, said customers have shown a lot of excitement and curiosity about what they had to offer.
"The people around here are just really happy to see us," said McCutchen.
Mike Robinson, like McCutchen, had already established his business, Gamer's Paradise, in Paducah, but saw the Eddyville Mall as a great place to open a second store.
Robinson attributed the excitement over the mall's redevelopment to the kinds of stores the mall owners are attracting.
"I think they are trying to be aggressive in fulfilling what the community actually needs," said Robinson. Both Robinson and McCutchen said that prior to their expansions, people in the Eddyville area had no local access to the products they offer.
Everyone involved in the redevelopment seems optimistic that the mall will be a boon to the community as it was in days gone by.
"There's no limit to the kind of benefit a project of this magnitude can have on a small community," Beck said.
Contact Daniel Paxton, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8667.