Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Remodeling An Aldi

Aldi has been on a remodeling spree as of late and the Twin Tiers region is no exception. This particular location sits in front of the soon to be gone local Olean Kmart, so I often found myself taking pictures of both. More on the Kmart closing will come in a special blog post next month. This post has pictures from the remodel in swing, then an imminent temporary shutdown followed by a newly reopened store. Enjoy!

The skeleton of the future facade.
During the remodel, a wooden tunnel was set up and only one set of doors was used.
As you can see, plenty of notice was given for the upcoming closure. Interesting thing is that ended up reopening earlier than expected around August 19th.
Keep this picture in mind for later as this doorway will not be here in the remodeled store. Note how the stockroom doors have been entirely removed.

This area is one of the only areas that saw a major change. More on that later.
Expansion area

A new wooden wall was in place as the store would expand slightly in the front.

Covered expansion area.
Cart area 
Facade in place

And then it closed temporarily....

....and then opened back up.

As you can see here, the restrooms area actually got a sign and there is no longer a door here to the stockroom (that I'm aware of)

Stockroom door was moved to the back wall rather than keeping the corner entrance

And because Kmart is closing at the same time, you wind up with a rather humorous sight:

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bluelight News Flash: More Closings Ahead

Another list of more Kmart stores has been announced. Not really a shocker given how the company is going, but there are a few on here that actually surprised me to hear they were closing, while others I expected.

Mesa, AZ (S Power Rd)
Bellflower, CA
Hesperia, CA
Jackson, CA
Valencia, CA
Aurora, CO
Englewood, CO
Southbury, CT
North Miami Beach, FL
Mableton, GA
Belleville, IL
Elmhurst, IL
Oaklawn, IL
Topeka, KS
Bay City, MI
Sandusky, MI
Shelby Township, MI
Moorestown, NJ
Parsippany, NJ
Chili (Rochester), NY
Vails Gate, NY
Victor, NY
Massillon, OH
Salem, OR
Allentown, PA (Tilghman St)
Willow Grove, PA
Cranston, RI
Conway, SC

The surprises for me on this list were Southbury, CT and Elmhurst, IL. This is because Elmhurst was recently updated to include the newest decor package in the store, suggesting confidence in that location. Meanwhile, Southbury, CT, (which will be featured on this blog at a later date) was a rare 2-story Kmart location that did very well based on my visit. 

I somewhat surprised to see Kmart giving up entirely on the Rochester, NY market. I expected Victor to go, but I figured Chili would of stayed around a little while longer. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Driving Around the Penn-Can & Marketplace Malls

Perhaps the most memorable and well-known former mall in the Syracuse area, today we feature the old Penn-Can Mall. This mall, which is know an auto-mall known as Driver's Village, was named for being halfway between Canada and Pennsylvania. It opened in the mid '70s on a generally straight floorplan and was Syracuse's first mall on the north end of town. It was anchored by Sears and later added a Hills dept store in 1983. Local chains Dey Brothers and Addis & Company served as junior anchors. The mall saw an expansion in 1986 which made the mall form a T-shape and added local store Chappell's as an anchor.

Things started to go downhill for this mall way back in the late '80s well before many others. This is due to the fact that the nearby Great Northern Mall opened in 1988. Both Sears and Dey Brothers relocated to this newer mall. Meanwhile, the former Sears site was replaced by a Steinbach store. Chappells later relocated in the mid '90s as well when it replaced the Dey Brothers location there before eventually calling it quits as a chain whole. The Chappells location at the Penn-Can Mall would become a Caldor. Eventually, Steinbach closed and was replaced by a Burlington Coat Factory.

There was plans in 1994 to demolish the actual mall and replace it with a mega shopping center which would of included Hills, Caldor and Burlington Coat Factory. These plans never came into light though. The mall closed its doors in 1996, leaving just the anchors. The Hills site would eventually become an Ames store until it closed in 2002. Burlington managed to stay put here up until 2016, when it relocated to a new store in Clay. 

And if it was bad enough, there was a second mall next door. No, I kid you not. The only thing separating the two malls was a road. This second mall, which was known as Marketplace Mall (not to be confused with the Marketplace Mall in Henrietta, NY), was much smaller by comparison. The mall's anchors were a Service Merchandise and a short-lived Silo's electronics store. Apparently a TJMaxx briefly operated at this mall as well likely replacing the Silo store. Price Chopper and few other stores were also part of the shopping mall, though they did not have any mall access. Eventually, the mall portion was torn down and a new lifestyle center with a new more modern Price Chopper and Lowe's was opened along with a couple of new plazas built.

For more information and even some pictures as the site as the mall, visit the website dedicated to preserving the Penn-Can Mall's history here. Unfortunately, this site only focuses on the Penn-Can Mall, but there is some awesome pictures nonetheless.

Flash forward to the year 2000, and a new life finally came for the Penn-Can Mall. A local car dealer purchased the Penn-Can property and turned it into a gigantic car dealership. The two exceptions were of course where Ames and Burlington Coat Factory operated. The former Ames was eventually turned into a used car showroom for the dealership after it closed while Burlington sits empty as it left more recently. 

Changes to the Penn-Can mall structure were a given the new use. The former Ames and Burlington wings were demolished while the anchor buildings themselves were not. The newer 1986 Chappell's/Caldor wing and 2-story area where the three wings would of connected remained as well. The new owners also preserved a piece of the mall by keeping the old clock found in the two story area.

Now for some historical pics (courtesy of Google Earth) before moving on to the pictures I took:

Here you can see the layout of the Marketplace Mall and also how close it was to the Penn-Can Mall. Satellite imagery from 1995.

Construction progress of the Marketplace Mall into a new shopping center. Satellite views from 2003 and 2005.
The current layout of the shopping plaza.
Now for the Penn-Can Mall:

1995 satellite view
2003 view. The Sears and Ames wings are demolished.
The site as seen today.

I leave you with my pics. I will first start with my pictures of the former Marketplace Mall, followed by the exterior of Driver's Village and finish with the interior. The interior tour begins at the green entrance.

Abandonded McDonald's found near the Lowe's. Note the Driver's Village sign in the background. That is the same sign that was used for the Penn-Can Mall. In fact....
....you can even still see some scars from the old signage
Former Sears/Steinbach/Burlington Coat Factory
Green Entrance
You can see where the mall would of continued to the former Sears building ahead

Former Hills/Ames

A model railroad is on display here. Pretty neat!

This clock is a holdover from Penn-Can Mall