Parker Stanton's Commentary

Posted April 24, 2011

In about 2005, Bass Pro Shops opened up in Fingerlakes mall and what was once a dead mall came spring back to life with new stores and almost no vacancies. The owners of the mall put a considerable amount of money into renovating the mall itself to fit the decor and them or Bass Pro. Rumor had it that Bass Pro assisted in the design and that's not hard to believe.

The resurgence was short lived.

Fingerlakes Mall now has several empty stores with a half dozen of them closing this year alone. The mall is also under new ownership and the new owners are making some puzzling decor changes that don't seem to have any rhyme or reason. The food court pillars, for example, had antler racks on the top that were obviously in keeping with the Bass Pro theme. They have been removed and discarded. The mall also has a considerable amount of natural brick fixtures for fountains and planters that the mall is painting white. It looks awful and it is very puzzling.

You would think that having a Bass Pro would have saved this mall. At this point, it looks like Fingerlakes mall might wind up going the same route as so many other malls have where the anchor stores (JCPenney, Sears, Bass Pro) stay open but the mall itself will close or serve as nothing more than a corridor to get from one anchor to another.

It's a shame.

Jack Thomas' Commentary

Posted June 12,2009

The Fingerlakes Mall was opened in 1979 by Syracuse based Pyramid Companies. The three anchors were Sears, Kmart and JCPenney, as well as a four screen theater. The mall featured the usual mid to late 70's Pyramid design, found at other company malls like Hampshire Mall in Hadley, MA and Sangertown Square in Utica, NY. Basically, a large center court/food court area with mezzanine seating and an old classical village theme, and 70's architecture throughout.

The mall did well throughout most of its life, but started to falter in the 90's, especially after Carousel Center opened up in Syracuse, drawing major traffic from all directions. The mall limped along, losing Kmart in the process.

2004 saw the addition of what I feel saved this mall from the grave, Bass Pro Shops. Being the only store of theirs in New York, and being a major tourist attraction in itself, it helped draw more customers to the mall. Because of the new store coming to the mall, Sears had to vacate its existing store and move into the old Kmart.

Alas, Bass Pro Shops hasn't done enough to breathe life into the mall. It is mainly a collection of national chains and local shops. The JCPenney is in it's 1979 timewarp, and the cinema is really old school. The rest of the mall just seems boring and lifeless. It's too far away from any major competition to disappear, but I doubt it will ever gain any strength either. So for now, it trudges on.

Nate's Commentary

Posted March 7, 2006 (user submitted)

I am from Auburn, NY about 30 miles west of Syracuse. I am currently employed as a security guard at the Fingerlakes Mall, which is just west outside of Auburn. (The mall is technically in a small town called Aurelius, but everyone around these parts thinks of it as being part of Auburn). I am writing this letter to tell this website a little about the mall.

The mall opened in 1979 and is mostly a single level mall, but does have a small upper "mezzanine" level. When the mall was young, it had a couple good ancors, Sears, JC Penny and K-mart. A small 4-theatre cinema was built that is still in operation today. K-Mart is no longer there but Sears and JC Pennys still is. Peebles was there briefly in early 2000-ish but didn't last long. The Fingerlakes Mall was THE place to be from the early to late 80's. On the small upper level there was even a roller skating rink and a bar called "OZ", which was themed after the movie "Wizard of Oz". The skating rink lasted until the early 90's, but the bar closed mid 80's. There was even a "Frendly's" restaurant located in the mall for a time. The mall was "on its way out" during the 90's. It had more than a foot in the grave and about 60% of the spaces were vacant. It was suprizing that it has lasted as long as it has, especially because everyone was driving to Syracuse to shop at the Carosel Center.

In June of '04 a Bass Pro Shops opened up in place of the old location of Sears(Sears moved to a different location in the same mall), and it was a gift from heaven for the mall. Why the people of Bass Pro decided to put a store in Nowhere, USA we will never figure out, but the mall has done a complete 180 degree turn around. This mall was in some SERIOUS trouble for a while, but it has been given a "get out of jail free" card. More and more stores have been filling the empty spaces and everyone is happy, for now....

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