What Happened to 1980s Malls?

Post by Sharon

I'm going to sound like a typical mature adult when I say, "in my day, kids met at the mall, saw movies, lingered around the food court, and windowshopped in the stores." 

Today, kids are meeting each other in the ether of the Internet to have typed conversations and video meetings. 

The heyday of 1980s malls was a blast. I was newly married in my early 20s and living in Redondo Beach, California. Talk about California malls in the 80s! And, I worked in the clothing stores....

The mall was a place to see and be seen. It had areas that seemed designated for just the pretties and the jocks. It was the obvious conclusion to what to do on a Friday night. And, it gave budding crushes a place to "run into" each other "accidentally." 

As a teen, I spent a lot of time at Paradise Valley Mall in Arizona. I did a lot of modeling at the malls too. 

I went a few times a week just to walk with my friends, check out the naughty items at Spencer's gift store, have an Orange Julius, and try on the latest fashions at stores like Foxmoor, Contempo Casual, and Lerners. 

Many of the stores went bankrupt, some can still be found today, and others were bought out by other entities and changed names - 

Contempo Casual became Wet Seal
Casual Corner
Lerners became New York and Company
Orange Julius
Mrs. Fields Cookies
KayBee Toys
B. Dalton Booksellers
Sam Goody
Sharper Image
Tower Records
Montgomery Ward

Some malls have been converted into college satellite campuses, medical clinics, flea markets, outlet malls, and even condos - I love this idea!!

Sadly, more than a few remain empty and waiting for a new life - 

Dan Bell has a YouTube Channel with a whole series on just investigating abandoned malls. It's fascinating, sentimental, and sad. 

Let's recall the mall culture - 

Then, there's the 80s memories - 

And, when all else fails, we still have the largest mall - the Mall of the America in Bloomington, Minnesota at 5.6 million square feet, with 500 stores and 10 attractions.

Miss Orange Julius? Here's the copycat recipe - LINK
Miss Mrs. Fields cookies? Here's the copycate recipe - LINK

And, here's some real sentiment -