Bryan F. Irrera (bfirrera) wrote,
Bryan F. Irrera
bfirrera

Echelon Mall - Creepy now...

I had some business to take care of (delivering some papers to the mortgage company for the new house) and they were near the Echelon Mall. I hadn't been there in probably over a year now so I decided to see what kind of shape the place was in.

This used to be one of the best shopping malls in the area. Great stores, great food court, etc. This was the place where I first saw Rocky Horror (and the Transducers) way back in the day when there was still a movie theatre there. I've got lots of great memories there with Mike, Michelle, Darryl etc from back in the day...

...nowadays, I don't know what's happened to them or if they'll ever recover from whatever is causing their slump.

They still have the food court and two anchor stores (Boscov's and Macy's). They still have a Kay-Bee Toys, a bookstore (Borders Express), Hot Topic, GameStop and a few other mainstays. Most of the stores have moved down to the area between Boscov's and the food court (the jewelry store actually took over the corner of the food court...it's probably safer there than in it's old location (where all the stores surrounding it were now gone). I gather that many of the stores left are only there because they still have contracts/leases.

Some of the other stores still there: the cookie place, the pet store, the "Echelon Mall Ministry" and the "Camden County store" (which is a municipal office where it looks like they may conduct traffic court and stuff), Lenscrafters (which used to be way down at the other end, but had now moved to the center)...and some various and sundry clothing stores. Supposedly, a sign says that a "Pay Half" is moving into the mall soon.

From about the half-way point on (about five stores or so past the food court), the stores just STOP. That's where the Macy's is (the other anchor), but everything beyond that point is closed.

I saw that two stores on one floor (Lane Bryant and another store I don't remember the name of but was another women's clothing store) and the two stores beneath them (Limited and Limited Too) were having going out of business sales (signs directed customers to other locations nearby where they could continue to shop with these companies).

Once you passed the half-way mark, though, the place was deserted. It felt like I was in an abandoned building. It felt haunted. I saw:



Well, I expected to see THAT, 'cause Trans World Entertainment (who own FYE) bought out the chain that owned Sam Goody and Suncoast and closed a bunch of them...

But I also saw:



And where the comic shop was:





That big area in the middle picture where the bench is sitting is where the Sears expansion was planned to be (that just never happened for one reason or another and started this particular ball rolling. The stairway in the third picture is on the other side of the store and beyond that stairwell was once one of the other anchor stores (I think Wanamacher's (sp?)).

The whole area roughly where Suncoast was:





Freaky.

EDIT: I added a link up top. Click on the pull-down menu that says "search by store name" and you'll get a map once you choose a store. You can mouse over the map and see how many stores are "redevelopment area"s. For a comparison, check out Cumberland Mall owned by the same company (it's the mall in our town where the FYE where I worked was located).

I had to go to Deptford Mall on my way home just to walk through (didn't buy anything there either), but just needed to shake it off. Every spot there just about is open and thriving. There are new stores since I last was there (and even the one spot in the food court that used to be cursed is still open (it's a Subway and has been for a while now)...however, there is still an empty spot on the exact opposite side of the food court so the curse may have just switched sides or something. The only down spot was that the dollar store in that mall had now closed and their spot was now a Kay-Bee Toys. I LOVED that Dollar store, 'cause they were always a great source of products with "Engrish" spellings/grammar on them (from Korea or China). I also could find Piyo Piyo merchandise there (it is sort of the duck equivalent of Hello Kitty/Sanrio and I loved seeing the stuff 'cause Rumiko Takahashi always drew Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku (a favorite manga of mine) in a Piyo Piyo apron (I'd picked up some little chatchkes like a memo pad or an address book or pencil sets).
Tags: photos, shopping/echelon_mall, weird_nj
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