BEDFORD MALL: BEDFORD, NH
Matt Cosgro's Commentary
Posted March 26, 2009 (user submitted)
The Bedford Mall, nestled in the corner of the interchange with I-293 and N.H. State Route 101, is in a high traffic area and was once a bustling little mall. I havenít been able to find when the mall opened, but when the movie theater closed in 2007 it celebrated 45 years of business. This puts the mall at an opening of 1962-63.
The only times Iíve been in the area of the Bedford Mall is either passing it on the highway or visiting the Caldor that was across the street. I can only piece together information from recent articles in the Union Leader and from information available across the internet to tell the story of the Bedford Mall.
For the southern anchor, Labelscar.com notes that WT Grant was the original anchor. Following that store, it was occupied by Montgomery Ward. When Wards closed its stores in 1997, it was partially filled by Linens 'n Things. Bob's Stores came later filling in the remainder. The way the Wards space was divided, Linens Ďn Things retained the half with the mall entrance, while Bobís location was only accessible from outside.
Labelscar.com also notes that the northern tenant was originally Purity, later Alexandria's Supermarket until 1991 when it was purchased by Hannafordís. More recently it was MVP Sports, which was purchased by Decathlon in 1999. With an altered business plan all but four Massachusetts stores were closed in 2003 (they had 20 stores before the cutback). Eventually they closed those four stores in December of 2006.
Hoyt's Cinema was the mall's movie theater (7 screens), later coming under the name Regal Cinemas in 2003. The theater closed in 2007 handing a blow to the already sliding mall. The older theater couldn't compete with the new more modern ones recently built in Merrimack and Hooksett.
From the February 20, 2009 Union Leader article titled "Major reconstruction planned for Bedford Mall", it states that "Kohl's is moving in as most of the Bedford Mall will be torn down and rebuilt, according to a proposal that will be presented Monday to the town planning board. After the redevelopment, the Bedford Mall would no longer be a mall." The plan, the article states, is that Staples will remain a tenant but moved to another part of the development, Marshallís will move next to Bob's, thus leaving the southern anchor store intact.
According to the Union Leader's February 2009 article, the vacancy rate was at 60%.
It should be noted that the Mall of New Hampshire, over in Manchester, is two miles away and also located on I-293; perhaps contributing to the decline of the Bedford Mall.