Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy Friday! Enjoy a Trip to the Mall...If It's Still There

While I was researching the post about the return of Copeland's Restaurant to the Metroplex a few days ago, I came across an interesting site: It tracks--yes, you guessed it--malls that are no longer in business, many of which have been knocked down and redeveloped (though it surprised me to find out that Dixie Square, the abandoned Chicago-area mall used for the first great car chase scene in The Blues Brothers is still standing; don't forget, that movie came out in 1980. While I went to the site while researching Prestonwood Town Center (since redeveloped as a big-box power center), I also found a post for its former Houston cousin, Town & Country Mall (the two of them may well be the shortest-lived malls ever built in the United States, at 25 and 21 years, respectively, though both were nearly vacant for years before they were demolished).

WIth contributions from people all over the country, this site has a wealth of information. It was interesting to me to discover that the two malls I visited as a youngster when visiting grandparents in Dayton and Cleveland (Salem Mall and Westgate Center, respectively) have both been torn down and are being redeveloped as open-air town centers. (I'd provide links to all this stuff, but is a framed site, so the URL never changes for all the internal pages). As I said two years ago when Firewheel opened out here, the town center seems to be the wave of the future; people want to have nicely-built, walkable shopping areas with greenspace instead of huge air-conditioned boxes, and they want to be able to drive right up to their favorite store if need be instead of parking out in the hinterlands somewhere. I won't be surprised if more boxy malls remake themselves as town centers in the future.

Anyway, it's a fun site and a great time-waster if you're into this sort of thing.

Not a dead store, but it looked that way: Thanks to a malfunctioning lock on the front door, a number of shoppers walked into a Dollar Tree store that was supposed to be closed for Labor Day. Amazingly, nobody stole anything, and the store was properly closed when a woman became concerned about the lack of staff and called the authorities.

One more odd retail story: A woman who tried to buy wine in a Maine supermarket was turned down because she wasn't carrying her ID card with her. She's 65 years old, so I hope she took that as a compliment.

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