Iconic city shopping center might be closing

City shopping center considered...

CALEXICO, Calif. -

Merchants at Smart Buy, formerly Calexico Price Center, pleaded with city officials on Tuesday morning to help them keep their doors open just a little longer.

Calexico Community & Economic Director Miguel Figueroa said, "They are being told that their future opportunities to conduct business here may be up in the air."

They were given notice by management to be out by end of month.

Merchant Blanca Jaramillo said, "It's not enough time for us to let our clients know where we're going to be because we don't have another place yet."

Merchant Marisol Martinez agrees.

"They gave us very little time to leave and that's what we're discussing. I have clients with layaways and this will affect them," Martinez said.

City officials promised them they'll do what they can.

"We want to take and make sure that the proper steps are taken where we speak with the proper authorities, the ownership of this facility so we can come to a common agreement and make sure that our tenants here are given the assurance if they are to continue to conduct their business here on a daily basis that they will be able to do so freely with the opportunity to continue to work with their clientele that as we heard today they've built for over the course of the past two decades," Figueroa said.

Calexico Economic Commissioner Ben Horton said, "They're saying that they're moving them out to make this into a complete storage, which we should look at the zonings see what it's zoning for and other factors that add to that."

City Council Member Bill Hodge said the center is an icon or staple of the city and it's a bad idea to shut it down.

"Twenty stores, but when we're talking about economics, the bottom line is we're talking about families." "so, if you have a store close you have no income coming in, you can't go to the market and buy food for your children," Hodge said.

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