Mark Jones' Commentary

Posted November 20, 2006 (user submitted)

There used to be an older shopping mall in Avon, CT where Simsbury Commons is today, one which I fondly remember in detail.

Built sometime between the late 60s and early 70s the Farmington Valley Mall (once referred to as "The Shoppes at Farmington Valley Mall" was a relatively large sized single floored mall. The floor plan was built as an upsidedown U shape. Its main anchors consisted of D&L (Davidson & Leventhal) a two-story clothing store, Walgreens, Bob Stores, Stop and Shop, and Three D Bed & Bath, which was also two floors. Other smaller tenants included: a Pizza restaurant, Waldenbooks, a video game arcade, and a toy store. Its architecture was relatively simple. Outside the exterior walls were black with the upper areas covered in dark grey industrial cladding. The first floor of the building was set in further than the upper floors, giving the outside a small overhang. The only exception to the design was the main entrances, which were set out slightly than the rest of the building and had black walls that were etched with lime green, pinkish red, and yellow in a sprinkle-like pattern. Inside the mall, it was quite dark. The corridor consisted of black walls on both sides, a yellow colored brick floor (w/possibly black floor tiles in other areas) and a dark ceiling void of skylights. The mall used chandeliers lighted by globe lights for illumunation.

The anchor layout was basically this: D&L was located at the far right, Walgreens was located around the middle, Bob Stores and Three D Bed & Bath were located at the far left (Stop & Shop may or may not have been connected to the mall). If I remember correctly the mall had several enterances.There were four main entrances, one was to the left of D&L, another at the far left near Three D Bed & Bath, the third one from the back, and the forth one from the middle. Walgreens had an entrance directly from the parking lot into its store and one into the mall. Entering from the mall entrance next to D&L, the corridor's path angled sharply to the left. In this area to your left was the pizza restaurant. After the corridor's left-hand turn and a few stores down, located on the right of the corridor was Waldenbooks and on the left was Walgreens entrance to the mall. Further down, the corridor widened into a large staging area for seasonable displays and to the right was a connecting hallway to the rear entrance. At the far left corner were (I think) the windows and the doors to the middle mall entrance. From there, the corridor sort of zig-zagged and again widened at the areas where the entrance to Three D Bed & Bath and Bob Stores was (there may have been another hallway connecting to the back which used to connect to Stop & Shop but was reconverted into another opening into/out of the mall).

As of the early 90's, the condition the mall was relatively poor. The floors were showing their age and the lighting was less than adequate. Many of the mall's tenants were closed prior to news of the redevelopment plan. Around 1996, when Davidson & Leventhal went out of business was probably when the mall started to really struggle. In 1997, it was announced that the mall was to be redeveloped in a outdoor shopping center. Interestingly, the list of anchors to stay was the same which were: Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Bob Stores, and Three D Bed & Bath. In 1999, while the mall was in process of being converted into an outdoor plaza, Three D Bed & Bath went out of business. Luckily, and up-and-coming chain, Bed Bath & Beyond, stepped right in to take its place. In late 2000 to early 2001, the new plaza opened and was renamed Simsbury Commons.

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