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Businesses Being Forced To Move From Sawmill Road Shopping Plaza

A decades-old shopping plaza will soon be demolished for new development, which is forcing businesses to vacate.

The development company that owns Olde Sawmill Square shopping center will not say what will replace the center, but business owners are being told they must leave.

For more than 30 years, the Dairy Queen has been a staple in the plaza.

"One time, a bunch of kids came in here and we ended up singing “Grease” songs, so we all were in here singing with ice cream,” said employee Jordan Corbin.

In just a few weeks, the open sign will go out for good. The owners fear the dreams of some of their employees may be extinguished along with it.

“We got into it because we love kids, and our whole lives are dominated by 15- to 16 year-old kids, and our whole deal is to work with kids and help kids,” said owner Tim Tanner.

Corbin said that the job turned his life around.

“When they gave me the job, I was failing in like all my classes, and with this opportunity I got a sense of responsibility,” added Corbin.

Tim’s wife Carolyn fears that their younger current employees may not be able to find work elsewhere. She said some businesses don’t have the adult supervision to work with teens.

The Tanner’s are not the only business in the strip mall to receive a lease termination notice from the Casto company. It requires tenants to pack up and move out so that the site can be demolished for new development.

“It's exciting knowing new businesses are coming in to the neighborhood, but quite sad for Carol and me, knowing that our business is over with,” said Tim Tanner.

Corbin said that he hoped the Tanners could reestablish their business in a new spot.

"I hope they get a new spot, if they don't, it would be heartbreaking that would be awful,” said Corbin.

The Tanners said they are looking for a place to relocate and are hopeful to hire more high school students in need of direction.

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