The future remains murky for tenants of an Ahwatukee Foothills strip mall that's scheduled for demolition later this year to make way for a Walgreens.

Most of the windows in the decades-old building southwest of Elliot Road and 51st Street have gone permanently dark.

Raisa Raskin, owner of the All Family Barbershop, is one of those still hanging on. Raskin, who opened her shop in April 2009 and watched the business grow steadily, said she plans to move out of Ahwatukee because she can't find a space that's the right size for her 600-square-foot operation.

She said she's close to signing a lease on a space in Tempe at 655 W. Warner Road. She said she hopes her clients will follow, but much of her business is about location.

"I love this place," she said. "I'd like to stay here."

Luis Tolano, who has owned Regency Cleaners in the strip mall for about 10 years, said he's managed to find a place nearby, at 4747 E. Elliot Road, in a location recently vacated by another dry cleaner.

He hopes that by staying in the neighborhood, customers will continue to find him.

"We're hoping to keep the customer base," Tolano said.

With all the vacancies in his current building, he's had to take measures to make sure the public knows he's still in business, such as keeping the doors wide open during the day.

"Some customers have mentioned that they're not sure if we're open," Tolano said.

Two other former tenants, Ahwatukee Medical Supply and chiropractor Bart Gobeli, have opted to share space in an adjacent strip mall just to the east to save money, said Chris King, who owns the medical supply store.

King said the mall's landlord only allowed him to post a sheet of paper on the door of his former location to let clients know that he moved. Many of those clients are elderly and unable to see the small sign, he said.

"A lot of people don't get out of their cars," King said. "It's a big cost to move. We've lost a lot of business."

Another tenant, dentist Hema D. Parikh of Family Dental Care, recently announced the closure of that business, which had been in the strip mall for 25 years, because of difficulty in finding an alternative location. The Original Burrito & Co., a popular local restaurant, also recently moved to a nearby stand-alone location after having been in the strip mall for nearly 30 years.

The strip mall's owner, Gilligan Commercial Real Estate, could not be reached for comment.



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