My hometown used to feature a bustling mall by the interstate, a shining beacon to capitalism and commerce crammed with trendy stores and restaurants.  But as my city’s economics changed so too did its retail landscape.  Quaint boutiques were replaced by “Cash for Gold” stores and the city basically went into a retail death dive and dragged our housing and city services down with it (my town doesn’t even have a public swimming pool that it can scrape together the funds to open).  Cities are cyclical and I think Middletown, Ohio will one day rise again – one day.  But for now it’s still mired in a funk and nowhere is that more evident than the once teeming Towne Mall.  The mall was once home to such marquee shops as The Gap, Waldenbooks, Dillards, Spencer Gifts, the whole usual mix of shops.  Now, it’s a shuttered ghost town. Somehow a Bath & Body Works hangs on inside and a Radio Shack.  But Radio Shacks are always empty anyway, right?

These are some scenes from inside the belly of the beast on what would normally be a teeming time at a mall.  Crazy, one of the photos below is of the center of the mall, the hub, the crux…where teenagers used to linger and loiter, families met after shopping…now….nothing….depressing.  Watch this little clip of me walking through the mall at what should be a busy time of day: about 5 p.m. on a weekday.

Like the cities that serve them, malls are cyclical beasts.  Sometimes malls reinvent themselves and survive, other times they die a slow torturous death like my hometown mall.  Seems I hardly ever go to traditional “indoor malls” these days anyway and maybe that is an overall trend?  Our slice of southwest Ohio seems to have moved towards those outdoor “lifestyles centers”.  I actually prefer those, stores are easier to get to and one gets to breathe fresh air as opposed to the mall contaminated stale air.

I have been to the Mall of America in the Twin Cities. I found myself kind of underwhelmed with the whole thing, it was basically just a couple of malls stacked on top of one another.  I guess to survive a long Minnesota winter that kind of thing is needed.  So, has your hometown mall survived? If so, why do think it has?