Patrick Lessard's Commentary

Posted October 2, 2005 (user submitted)

The Auburn Mall officially opened on Aug. 7, 1979. It's a one-level regional mall that can hold up to 58 stores. The area where it is located then became the retail district of the Auburn/Lewiston area. The Lewiston Mall had Sears and Zayre but it was rather small with only a few small tenants. The original 50 stores at the Auburn Mall included Deb Shops, Foxmoor, Kinney Shoes, Thom McAn, Spencer Gifts, Bookland, Fanny Farmer, CVS, Hickory Farms, General Nutrition, Waldenbooks, Radio Shack, Regis Hairstylist and Papa Gino's. The two anchor stores were JC Penney and Porteous.

The mall did quite well over the years, being the only true indoor mall in the region. A Kmart store was located nearby but in 1991, the Auburn Plaza opened near it and added Rich's and Service Merchandise to Auburn. In 1992, the mall got a facelift with a modern theme, but that theme would become outdated in a few years. It is one of the things that makes that mall unattractive today. In the mid 1990's, Wal-Mart and Home Depot opened near the mall begining a new trend in shopping patterns. The mall started to suffer, stores like Famous Footwear closed. In 2001, CVS closed it's store at the mall. The bank in the parking lot is now vacant too for a total of 24 vacancies.

The biggest hit came when Porteous closed in july 2002. This left a 60,000 square foot vacant space at the end of the mall where some stores were already closed. The mall also lost stores like The GAP and Lechters. Today, the 1992 renovation mixed with the remaining 1979 style creates a strange decor. Porteous is boarded up inside the mall. The huge clock is still there in the middle of shrubs and plants in the dark area near Porteous. There are a few chain stores left but many stores are now temporary stores selling cellulars, books, real estate or local crafts. JCPenney is still standing but the store is dark, old and outdated, kinda like the mall. Now the mall faces Lowe's, Wal-Mart supercenter and Kohl's will open soon nearby...

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