Rich's Commentary

Posted April 1, 2006 (user submitted)

Back in the mid 1980's, when indoor malls were still all the rage, the town of Rolling Meadows had its own moderate-sized, local-scale development in Meadows Town Mall. The old Treasury discount store at Golf and Algonquin Roads had been vacant for several years, when its basic skeleton structure was redeveloped into a single level mall. As a testament to the size of the original Treasury, its building did not have to sustain a great deal of expansion to allow for the mall.

Meadows Town Mall had its grand opening circa 1986. There were two original anchors hooked by a long east-west hallway, complete with several entryways facing both north and south. Waccamaw Pottery was situated at the west end of the mall. It was the first large-scale home goods category-killer in our area, and no store to this day matches its size or breadth of selection. Front Row, an off-price clothing retailer, occupied the anchor space at the east end. The mall portion in the middle was occupied by a fair number of independent retailers. The chain stores tended to be of the discount variety, and they included Dress Barn and a location of Crown Books, among others.

The mall had a decent level of functionality for about ten years. Later tenants included one of the first locations of the Music Recyclery, a music store which has since moved on to more prominent mall locations throughout Chicagoland and the Milwaukee area. There was also an Old Country Buffet added. When Front Row closed its doors, the remaining space was split between TJ Maxx, which kept the mall entrance, and F&M Distributors, a discount drugstore/retailer which took up the south end of the parcel and had an outside entrance only. Waccamaw eventually had its size reduced by one fourth, when computer retailer Elek-Tek moved in on its west end. There was even a Sony Theaters (later Loews) building added as a satellite structure during the early 1990's, which helped maintain mall traffic for a while.

By the mid 1990's, much of the mall was vacated. Pretty soon, the mall area itself was shuttered. The last remaining stores were Waccamaw and the Old Country Buffet, which you could still access through the mall doors - but the mall area itself had been boarded up past the buffet entrance. When Waccamaw finally shut its doors, the mall was completely demolished not long after.

Today, a thriving strip center named Meadows Crossing resides in this space. Basically, it's a Wal-Mart/Sam's Club structure on the west end with several satellite structures toward the east. The Old Country Buffet was moved to one of the satellites. Three of the satellites house smaller retailers in strip-mall fashion, including a Dunkin Donuts drive-in and a Panda Express on the south structure, and a newly-reinstated Music Recyclery location which resides in one of the north structures. A First American Bank, Steak N Shake restaurant, and a Staples office supply store have since been added as well. The old Sony Theaters structure did not fare as well, however; it has since been shuttered as a theater and is now a banquet hall.

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