Once upon a time, the shopping mall was at the top of the retail food chain. The mall was home to the best stores, and the most excitement.
Amy and I grew up in the mall era. Our small town (population ~25,000) had its own little mall that kids hung out in, but it was not comparable to the shopping destinations that are available in Greater Hartford. Both of our families made the hours-long drive to larger towns with bigger malls for back to school shopping.
Back in the day we went to the mall to buy clothes, electronics, and even tools at the anchor stores. There was always a toy store in the mall, but we usually weren’t allowed to go in there. And, of course, there were the delicious specialty food shops … Orange Julius anyone?
Malls haven’t dominated the retail environment for a long time, as big box stores sprouted up in mall-adjacent locations decades ago. The crowds that turn up during the Christmas shopping season are a nice reminder of olden times when it seemed like everyone was at the mall.