CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories



By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Smoking will be banned at the Mall at Barnes Crossing beginning Friday, but a spot check of store managers and customers showed few feel it will affect business.

There has been little public notice of the ban, although small signs taped to doors at mall entrances state “As of March 1st, the Mall at Barnes Crossing will be a smoke-free facility.”

Mall Manager Greg Polacheck could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Although most stores did not permit smoking, it has been allowed in the common areas between stores and in the food court table area.

Marilyn Posey of Tupelo, a smoker who was eating at the food court Wednesday, said she learned of the upcoming ban from the signs. Posey said she visits the mall often.

“It doesn’t really matter to me that much,” she said. “It’s no big deal. I just won’t be smoking (here).”

A manager at the only enclosed restaurant in the mall, Ruby Tuesday’s, said the ban won’t affect the restaurant’s customers, at least not yet. The restaurant has a smoking section.

“As far as I know, it has nothing to do with us,” Ruby Tuesday’s David Mangold said. “According to the memo we got, I believe it just applies to the food court and the common area.

“We have no plans in the works to do that (ban all smoking) right now … Something could be done later,” he said.

“I doubt it,” Amy Lindsey, assistant manager at Babbage’s Software said of an effect on the store’s business. Lindsey said merchants were notified of the ban last week.

A spokesman for Movies 8 theaters also doubted an effect on that business. The theater, which didn’t allow smoking, has no inside mall entrance, so smokers who want to light up have to stand outside anyway, he said.

“Most of them (malls) are doing it,” shrugged Bob Winland, a Danville, Ill., resident and smoker who was making his second visit to the Tupelo mall Wednesday.

“Back home they do it, too. We just kind of refrain from going (to malls). I just won’t stay (in here) as long (after the ban),” he said.

“But this is a real friendly area. We like it here,” Winland added.

“I don’t think it will make any difference to my business,” said Bill Bowen, owner and manager of Bresler’s Ice Cream & Yogurt outlet in the food court.

Bowen, who is not a smoker, said it may affect some of his employees, although he does not allow smoking within his shop area. He also observed that “quite a few” smokers frequent the mall and it can be a nuisance when they get in line at food shops.

“Probably somebody that doesn’t like the smoke doesn’t like to be around somebody that does,” he noted. “As far as smoking out there (in the court area), it’s not a problem for me.”

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