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Bookstore, other businesses struggling to stay open after Trader Joe's moves out

Posted: 6:14 PM, Aug 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-08 02:05:48Z

Business owners in a once-busy shopping center are struggling after a popular supermarket shut its doors. 

Trader Joe's vacated a shopping plaza near Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard last month.

Now, the used bookstore Amber Unicorn is in danger of shutting down, and they say it's because they've lost a lot of walk-in foot traffic from Trader Joe's customers.

Lou and Myrna Donato say the Trader Joe's was the main reason they chose the location when they moved in nine years ago. Before that, they had been on Charleston Boulevard for more than 20 years.

The Donatos say they've lost a quarter of their income since Trader Joe's closed.

"My stomach's turning," Myrna Donato said. "This wasn't in our plans. We figured we'd be here a couple more years then maybe sell the business and retire. I doubt it now."

Next door to Amber Unicorn is the restaurant Mochiko Chicken.

Their owners say they rely less on walk-in traffic, but they've seen a decrease in their business as well.

Our efforts to reach the property manager to find out what could be coming in to replace Trader Joe's were unsuccessful.

The Donatos say a bank controls the shopping center and will eventually put it up for sale.

"We're maintaining barely, but I don't know how long we're going to be able to do this," Myrna Donato said.

The store has put every one of its books on sale in an effort to make rent on time next month.