PORTLAND, Ore. – As soon as people heard Washington Square Mall was giving the boot to popular local store, Excalibur, it received backlash on its Facebook page.
Dozens of people, like Karla Rai Polk, posted on Facebook: I am so disappointed that you are kicking Excalibur out ... they are a great locally owned company! They give great service and give us all an opportunity to support local companies."
Alyssa Doughty wrote: "Can't believe you are getting rid of Excalibur! What you did is wrong. ... You should have at least given them more notice. This is one of my favorite stores and I am sad your (sic) forcing them out."
There's nothing illegal about the mall kicking Excalibur out. It has the right to pick tenants and Excalibur store managers know that. But they say after 30 years inside the mall, they should have been treated better.
And for a store that specializes in blades of all kinds, it’s ironic for it to die from such a deep wound.
In addition to selling cutlery, Derrick Graham, Excalibur's regional manager, said the store sells "some of the very best sporting knives you'll ever be able to find."
The store will be leaving at the end of the month after Washington Square Mall decided not to renew its lease. A harsh business reality perhaps, but employees said the lack of courtesy cut the deepest.
"The lack of notice, the lack of even an offer to maybe relocate somewhere else in the mall, it's a little disappointing after being here for 30 years," Graham said.
The three-decade-long tenant was given just over 30 days of notice to leave.
"I think that's underhanded," said store employee Tanisha Mekes, who was so angry she took to Facebook, telling people what was happening and asking them to contact the mall. From there, it exploded.
"Washington Square is kicking out a local business. Please support local businesses, all in caps ... still outrageous," Mekes read from one of the comments on her Facebook post.
Her post was shared over 1,600 times (and counting). It's a stunning reaction for she and Graham, but maybe not that surprising.
"Oregonians are Oregonians and they like their local businesses," Mekes said. "That's what Oregon is about – to help one another and to be here for the local people. The outcry has been amazing."
Washington Square managers sent KATU News a statement. It reads in part, "We value all our retail partners and are appreciative of Excalibur's long standing relationship. The retailer is represented in the market at other locations and we hope their shoppers will continue to patronize those locations. As one of the top retail malls in the U.S., we continue to look for ways to keep the retail line-up fresh and current to reflect the preferences of our shoppers."
Excalibur hopes to move employees at the Washington Square Mall location across its other eight locations.