Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rethinking Columbia Mall

In my August 15th entry I made a negative comment about the Columbia Mall that I need to clarify. Compared to past malls the Columbia Mall (in my opinion) is very boring. It has become a collection of shoe stores, clothing outlets and jewelry shops while very few, if any locally owned venues are located there. Almost every store I used to shop at is gone. At one time there were stores that sold books, music, movies, toys and the place seemed to be alive. Nowadays I see shoppers in trances who appear as robots programmed to shop at a mall that looks the same as a hundred other malls with the exact some stores in each.

I cannot believe I am nostalgic for the original Columbia Mall which I hated since it's conception.
The Columbia Mall helped cause the death of Parkade and Biscayne Malls, both of which had so much character. Changing trends and mall owners who didn't seem to care or know what to do helped in the demise of Parkade and Biscayne. Developers thought bigger was better so they built this large shopping center to draw everyone to Columbia. As I watched Parkade and Biscayne Malls slowly die I was tempted to shop at this new mall. I admit I found it fascinating as the next customer and like the idea of a huge group of stores and restaurants under one roof. One stop shopping at its best but it has changed. Allow me to elaborate:

-Wal Mart went after toy shops like they did grocery stores causing many to close.

-The Internet has changed people's shopping habits as music, movies and other items are cheaper to buy online or download.

-Bad parenting had kids dropped off at the mall by their parents, unsupervised leading to bad behavior from the kids and a terrible shopping experience on Friday and Saturday evening.

-Rent at the Columbia Mall is very high which has caused most local owned businesses to go elsewhere. I am sure rent is within industry standards but the only stores that can afford it are national chains.

-Most attractions are gone. The theatre was kicked out to get Barnes and Noble in that spot. The arcade was kicked out because of the problems with kids. There is a merry-go-round located in the Cafe Court which runs almost empty most of the time.

I am sure there are other reasons for the changes at the Columbia Mall but none come to mind right now. Not all the changes are bad though. The new owners cleaned up the mall and it looks nice. Security has improved and it is no longer a chore to go there on Friday and Saturday nights. I compliment the owners for their brave decision to ban unsupervised kids on those two evenings. The biggest problem I have with the Columbia Mall is my own. I am older now and have less patience with bad service and boring surroundings. As I age I become nostalgic for places I remember, even though at the time they may have been boring also. I am sure the Columbia Mall is a good place to shop but I just try to stay away. Who knows where the next "new" mall will be located and if I am still alive I will write about my past memories of the Columbia Mall and how I missed it. Scary stuff, in my mind.


Anonymous said...

Sad that you think the Parkade Center is dead. I was there recently, and was surprised by all of the businesses and the remodeled look..Farmer's Market, MACC College, Harbor Freight Tool Store, a beauty shop, 2 barber Shops, a tax place, Kung fu studio, Yancy's Auto parts, Bakery shop, Alterations, etc ..I am sure I am leaving something out...I'll bet those merchants don't think of the place as "dead"!

Anonymous said...

Ummm... anyone else notice the "4 years between comments" thing? Parkade WAS still struggling in 2008.

Anonymous said...

I remember Biscayne Mall as a child. The aroma of buttery popcorn was what I can recall the most.

Anonymous said...

I remember hiding from my my mom in the center of the round clothes racks at fashion gal, And all the decorations they put up on the holidays! Also loved visiting sunshine pet shop in the basement.