Jacksonville Landing business slow 5 months after mass shooting

Despite festivals, business owners at Landing say sales are slow

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been five months since the mass shooting at an arcade bar inside Chicago Pizza at the Jacksonville Landing left three people dead, including the gunman and 10 others injured, but business has still been slow.

The Crafts and Cravings Festival was held Saturday and Sunday at the Landing but vendors say a lack of people coming through the riverfront mall has them thinking of changing locations.

Julie Dean said they won't be coming back to the Jacksonville Landing to sell their homemade dips. Their tent was set up in front of Chicago Pizza.

"It would be nicer if there was a lot more business, like more people coming in for us. I wouldn't come back because it's a five-hour drive for us and when you have no business, it's hard, you know," Dean said.

Debbie Tomlinson sells stainless steel rings and said she won't come back to The Landing either.

"It's been slow this weekend. We haven't had a lot of foot traffic, but the foot traffic we had, we've done well," Tomlinson said. 

It's hard to pinpoint the cause. Some blame the mass shooting in August, others said it's just a part of the Landing's ongoing demise.

People said they did feel safe though, and there were security guards patrolling the event.

"A lot of people made comments that they wouldn't come back because of the incident, of what happened, but the incident can happen anywhere," Dean said. "You can't stop living because something happened."

Tomlinson said she thinks the shooting is probably on people's minds in Jacksonville but that it slipped her mind because she traveled from Ocala.

So, will things ever get better for the Landing? That is the question that only time will answer.

"The store owners are telling me that the mall has been dwindling for a long time, and they are having to change their business models to accommodate," Tomlinson said.

The owner of the Chicago Pizza wants to reopen the game room where the mass shooting took place and applied for a certificate to bring back the Good Luck, Have Fun game room, last week. 

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