Jarrod Long's Commentary

Posted September 13, 2005 (user submitted)

Indian Mall is the only mall in northeast Arkansas. As of today, the mall is not dead. However, this time next year it will be on life support. Let me explain.

The population of Jonesboro is 65,000 + 7,000 student that live in town and on the campus during each college term. The population of the surrounding counties that use Jonesboro for their shopping needs is approximately 230,000 people. The nearest malls outside of Jonesboro are in Memphis (about 90 miles by the time you drive through town) and Little Rock (120 or so miles). Indian Mall is the only mall that serves this population. For a population of this size, you would think that there would be a decent size mall but there isn?t.

In 1967, the population of Jonesboro was 26,500. The new Indian Mall was nearing completion. In October of 1967, the first few stores opened in the mall. These stores were the two main anchors Sears, and Blass (Blass was owned by the owner of Dillards before they changed the name to Dillards). Also a Ragan's Shoes, Bettye Bliss, and T,G,&Y. opened in the mall. While these stores were able to open early, in May 1968, the rest of the stores opened for the mall to celebrate an official grand opening. These stores included the following; Singer Sewing Center, Zales Jewelers, Butler Shoes, Cable Television, Merle Norman, The Place (dress shop), Carousel Beauty, House of Wigs, Stimson's Supermarket, Luby's Cafeteria, Bell Shoes, LePetit Sidewalk Caf?, Broadnaux Jewelers, Hallmark Shop, Paperback Bookstore, and a Candy Shop.

This was the place to shop for years. As Jonesboro grew so did it's need for the mall to expand. In the early to mid 1970's, JC Penny was needing a larger space to retail due to the limited space they had at their downtown location. With this consideration, JC Penny had a store built onto the mall. This also added a new small wing to the mall. The mall also recieved a new floor and a few skylights.(The floor remains today, a dark brown rock type pattern and the skylights do not do much justice with light.) Many of the stores remained for a while. In the early 1980's T.G.&Y. could not compete with the new Wal-Mart store in town. This caused them to shut down. Dillards eventually acquired this store to make it their men's store. They then coverted the other store to women's and children's clothing. In the mid to late 1980's, the Stimson's Supermarket closed it's mall location. This caused the mall to completely renovate the area. They created a new main entrance to the mall. Also a food court and several new stores were added. This is the way the mall looks today.

Today Indain Mall has the following stores, Dillards, J.C.Penny's, Sears,Merle Norman, Regis Hairstyle, a Nail Salon(local owned), Autie Anne's Pretzels, Candy Craze, Cookie Factory, Corn Dog 7, Lazzari Italian Kitchens (local owned), Louie's Ice Cream and Deli(local owned), Sheffield's Express(local owned), Halmark Shop, Waldenbooks, Game Stop(formerly a Babbages), Radio Shack, Glitz Jewelers, Zales, Gordon Jewelers, Union Planter's Bank, Aspen Shoe Co., Foot Locker, Journey's, Lady Footlocker, Payless Shoes, Afterthoughts, Claire's, Champs, GNC, KB Toys, Sam Goody, Trevors, Bath Junkie, The Sunglass Co., Gadzooks, The Buckle, The Gap, Casual Corner, Maurices, Vanity and Silerball(arcade). The JC Penny's store is small, about 45,000 sq.ft. and Sears has the largest store, about 75,000 sq ft. Dillards women's store was 55,000 sq ft and the men's store was 25,000 sq ft.

The company that owns this mall bought land on the south side of Jonesboro and put up signs for Southern Hills Mall. This mall would be 1million sq.ft. of retail space anchored by a Dillards, J.C. Penny, Sears, and Target (first one in NE Arkansas). The land was cleared but no construction ever began. Then an announcement of another mall project came and this mall would be located about 5 blocks from Indian Mall in the center of the retail area of Jonesboro. This mall is going to be called The Mall at Turtle Creek. Owned by a local company that has properties all over the region, BelzBurrow, this mall will be approximately 750,000 sq. ft. in size. They also took Dillards, J.C. Penny, and Target from the Southern Hills idea. This mall has already started construction. The Target and Penny's will open in September 2005. The rest of the mall will open in March 2006.

The new mall is interesting. It is combining a lifestyle center with a regular shopping mall. From the front, you will see a Target, Penny's, Circuit City, Barnes and Noble, Bed Bath and Beyond, and then Dillards All stores will be connected to the mall which will run behind these stores and connect them together giving them mall access as well as parking lot access. Pictures can be seen here.

As far as Indian Mall, Dillards and Pennys have said that they are gone. As well as most of the national stores. Sears is eventually going to leave for a stand alone store. I figure that Sears will move into the Kmart location now that they have combined. The management of Indian Mall has made statements that they still planned on building their mall south of town but now they aren?t saying much at all. I will send in updates as this mall dies.

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