Barry Williams' Commentary

Posted April 29, 2006 (user submitted)

Mobile Festival Centre was known as the "third mall" in the city. It had the city's first Wal-Mart, which was the anchor store when the city opened in 1985. The centre also had a grocery store called Welcome, which was owned by Kroger. There was a 6 or 8 seat movie theater, which later became known as the "dollar movies". There also was the new fad store at the time called Discovery Zone. It was the rival to Chuck E. Cheese just down the street. The centre also had Circuit City, Phar-Mor,Sugars (A ladies store), Shoe City, Marshalls, Office Max, and a couple of other stores.

This was the place to be until the late 90's when everthing started to close up. There was a Chili's resturant that opened there for about 2 years before it closed and relocated to the now popular West Mobile. There has been a sort of an uprising to build new stores, but there have only been four stores so far. They are Ross Dress for Less, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Michael's arts and crafts. There is also a new clothing store called Dress Barn. Many stores have closed only two original has remained, that is Circuit City and Office Max. Welcome closed in the middle 90s and became Academy Sporting Goods. The Dollar Movies have closed, as well as Phar-Mor, Discovery Zone, and the Wal-Mart moved down the street near Springdale Mall. This was supposed to be the new center on the west side of interstate 65. There are a couple of stores still remaining in the 30 store shopping center. There is also many vacancies in this shopping center.

I hope that the owners would do something to save this center before it is really too late. The businesses that are there are doing little or no business at all. This is prompting many businesses to go to West Mobile or move to eastern Mobile Bay in the surburbs. As of late, there has been the opening of a Guitar Center and a EB games, but still, vacancies are rampant at this shopping complex. I moved to Mobile in 1992, and this shopping complex truly brings back a lot of memories from my teenage years.

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