Friday, January 26, 2018

The Malls of the Twin Tiers.... A Scorecard of Each

This post was something I've been thinking of doing for a while now and with the recent announcement of the closure of 180 Toys R Us stores, there isn't a better time to do it. I'll explain my letter grades based upon a few different factors:

A- Absolute Victory

Minimum vacancy rate of 95%.  All anchors are in excellent or decent standing financially and are filled, or are undergoing construction to accommodate a new one. Possible one anchor with financial issues that manages to hang on for real estate purposes. The mall serves as a regional shopping destination. Surrounding retail (if any) is filled or mostly filled. 

B- Better Be On the Lookout
Vacancy rate of 80% - 94%. At least two anchors in larger malls are decent standing financially. Possible one or two anchors with financial issues or one empty anchor space. Other anchors are filled and in decent standing financially. Surrounding retail (if any) is mostly filled. 

C- Complicated
Vacancy rate of 50% - 79%. At least one anchor is empty, but ideally would have two or more empty anchor spaces. Anchor spaces can range from decent financially to likely to have one or two anchors with financial issues. Possible one anchor in decent financial status manages to continue due to great sales or since owning the store. Surrounding retail (if any) may have empty storefronts. This category is the most unique of all five due to various factors that are unique to each mall.

D- Dead & Dying

Vacancy rate of 1% - 49%. For smaller malls, at least one of two anchors are empty. For larger malls, at least two anchors are empty. Remaining anchor spaces likely to have one or two anchors with financial issues. Possible one anchor in decent financial status manages to continue due to great sales or since owning the store. Surrounding retail (if any) is likely to either be already empty or may have empty storefronts.

F- Failed
Mall itself has either less than five stores or is entirely closed down to the public. Possible that one or two anchors may remain. Surrounding retail (if any) is likely to either be already empty, may have empty storefronts or simply may have been repurposed.

EC (Extra Credit)- 
A mall that has managed to make a comeback from a failed status to either attract a new purpose or reopen its doors. This category is given the name extra credit do the extra steps that were taken to get a shopping complex back up and running either as something else entirely or a "new" shopping plaza that manages to have some of the old mall structure in tact. The catch is the that mall building itself WAS NOT entirely torn down to make room for something new. Surrounding retail (if any) is likely to have either been repurposed or unchanged from before the mall closed its doors.

If I missed a mall below, that is likely due to the fact I've never heard of it. Obviously then, such mall would automatically get an F, unless it manages to fit into the Extra Credit category.

Another thing to note this is not a final grade list, as an anchor leaves a mall it can lead to a free fall effect on the stores inside the mall. The more stores close, the lower of a grade a mall gets. 

PA Malls:

  • A
    • Millcreek Mall
    • Viewmont Mall
  • B
    • Clarion Mall
    • Downtown Meadville Mall
    • Dubois Mall
    • Laurel Mall
    • Nittany Mall
    • Wyoming Valley Mall
  • C
    • Clearfield Mall
    • Cranberry Mall
    • Mall at Steamtown
  • D
    • Lycoming Mall
    • Shenango Valley Mall
    • Susquehanna Valley Mall
  • F
    • Columbia Mall
    • Harborcreek Mall
    • Meadville Mall
    • Warren Mall
  • EC
    • Bradford Mall
    • Pittston Mall
    • West Side Mall

NY Malls:

  • A
    • Destiny USA
    • Eastview Mall
    • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls 
    • The Mall at Greece Ridge
    • Walden Galleria
  • B
    • Chautauqua Mall
    • Marketplace Mall
    • Salmon Run Mall
    • The Shops at Ithaca Mall
  • C
    • Arnot Mall
    • Boulevard Mall
    • Eastern Hills Mall
    • McKinley Mall
    • Oakdale Mall
    • Olean Center Mall
    • Triphammer Marketplace
  • D
    • Finger Lakes Mall
    • Great Northern Mall
    • Main Place Mall
    • Shoppingtown Mall
  • F
    • Batavia City Center Mall
    • Irondequoit Mall
    • Pyramid Mall (Geneva)
    • Thruway Mall
    • Tri-County Mall
    • University Mall (Binghamton)
  • EC
    • Cortlandville Mall
    • Camillus Mall
    • Fairmount Fair Mall
    • Fayetteville Mall
    • Midtown Plaza Mall
    • Rainbow Mall
    • Penn-Can Mall / Driver's Village
Do you agree with my assessment of the malls? If not, I'd love to hear why in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Laurel Mall

You'll recall that this month's featured Kmart was the location in the Laurel Mall in Hazleton, PA. And while that Kmart is now closing, the rather healthy mall remains open. This post will focus on the mall itself. 

The Laurel Mall originally opened in 1973 with Zayre and a store that was apparently known as "Fowler, Dick, and Walker, the Boston Store" as its anchors. Boscov's would take over the latter in 1981 while Ames would take the Zayre space in 1989. A new wing was constructed in 1993 which added JCPenney as an anchor. Also in 1993, Kmart took over the Ames space. JCPenney would close in 2014 and be replaced by Dunham's Sports while Kmart will close in the spring of 2018. TJ Maxx would open as a secondary anchor in 2017 after my visit here and pretty much take up the entire one side of the mall's storefronts in the Kmart wing.

The mall itself is actually doing really well. This is kind of surprising given that most other malls in the area (not counting the urban Wyoming Valley Malls) seem to be free falling into oblivion. The mall is supposedly near 96% occupied, though Kmart leaving will drop that percentage. However the mall is already taking steps to fill the soon to be vacant Kmart space. 

Well start with an exterior tour followed by interior shots.

The white wall to the right in this photo is the construction wall for what will be TJMaxx

GNC is tucked in between the construction

The center of the mall serves as a makeshift food court with tables for various restaurants. The escalators seen here lead to an underground parking garage.

One of the few empty storefronts I saw

I have no idea why Dunham's wasn't listed on the map.

Despite the recent announcement of losing Kmart as an anchor, I honestly don't think it will have a long-term impact on the mall. I can easily see something moving in or the Kmart being chopped into smaller stores. Things look pretty positive for this mall.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bluelight News Flash: Another Massive Wave of Closures

While this isn't shocking, it is getting to the point where one has to wonder how much longer Sears Holdings can continue to operate on. This wave has 100+ closings in it, so how much more stores can you cut?


Cabot, AR
Show Low, AZ 
Tolleson, AZ
Arroyo Grande, CA
Cudahy, CA
Ontario, CA
Redding, CA
Taft, CA
Colorado Springs, CO
Belleview, FL
Clermont, FL
Ocala, FL
Albany, GA
Statesboro, GA
Jesup, GA
Red Oak, IA
Urbandale, IA
Frankfort, IL
Mt. Vernon, IL
Rockford, IL
Bloomington, IN
Indianapolis, IN (Thompson Rd)
Wichita, KS
Paducah, KY
Mandeville, LA
Crofton, MD
Salisbury, MD
Greenville, MI
Richmond, MI
Butte, MT
Helena, MT
Franklin, NC
Jacksonville, NC
Sanford, NC
Salisbury, NC
Shelby, NC
Devils Lake, ND
Rochester, NH
Raton, NM
Tucumcari, NM
Las Vegas, NV (N Rancho Dr)
Las Vegas, NV (Las Vegas Blvd)
Plattsburgh, NY
Cambridge, OH
Warren, OH
Enid, OK
Bridgeville, PA
Enola, PA
Franklin, PA
Harrisburg, PA
Hazleton, PA
Hermitage, PA
Honesdale, PA
Pittston, PA
Crossville, TN
Goodlettsville, TN
Greenville, TN
Portland, TX
Rutland, VT
Chehalis, WA
Clarksburg, WV
Huntington, WV
St. Albans, WV


Anchorage, AK (Mall at Sears)
Hanford, CA
Santa Clarita, CA
San Rafael, CA
Brea, CA
Westminster, CA
San Jose, CA
Wilmington, DE
Boca Raton, FL
Centerville, GA
Waterloo, IA
Coeur D Alene, ID
Twin Falls, ID
Bourbonnais, IL
Marion, IL
Orland Park, IL
Burlington, MA
Bangor, ME
Bismarck, ND
Toms River, NJ
Hicksville, NY
Kingston, NY
Cincinnati, OH
Springfield, OR
Portland, OR
Hanover, PA
Philadelphia, PA (Roosevelt Mall)
Pittsburgh, PA (Ross Park Mall)
Rapid City, SD
Austin, TX
Houston, TX (West Oaks Mall)
Midland, TX
Ogden, UT
Federal Way, WA
Shoreline, WA
Brookfield, WI
Green Bay, WI

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Kmart #7708

This mall-based '90s Kmart has quite the history. Originally, Kmart was formerly located at the site of a former Town & Country store within Hazleton. In the late '90s Kmart moved from this tiny 26,000 sq. ft. site to tripling in size at a 121,430 sq. ft. store in a former Ames store at the Laurel Mall. So with the history out of the way, let's get right into the store itself. 

Former Hazleton Kmart. Most recently was an Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Time for the interior!

A Little Caesars is operational here.

This is the only Kmart I know of to have a hair salon in it.

Mall entryway

Rating & Summary: 10 out of 10

I have really nothing negative to say about this store. An operational Little Caesars, a pharmacy and even a hair salon makes for a nice 1-stop shop. Not to mention this store serves as an anchor for a mall! 

From this post onwards, I will no longer be making a in-danger of closing section. It's become obvious to me that all stores, regardless of how well they may be doing, are in danger of closing.