Mateo Gutierrez's Commentary

User submitted March 3, 2013

Monument mall opened in Scottsbluff, Nebraska in 1986 with three anchor stores: Wal-Mart (first one in the area), JCPenney, and Herbergers, along with Sears that wasn't a huge store, but had external access and was a big drawer, even though it was basically just an appliance outlet. It has 40 store spaces give or take and was the first time anything like this came to such a small, rural area. The mall itself was located in a prime location at the time, being located next to Kmart.

The stores changed through time, but it had a good selection of typical mall stores like (at least from what I can remember from 1995 on...) Buckle, Maurices, Vanity, Payless, GNC, Regis Salon, among local businesses like Monument Jewelers, Homestake Coins, Copperfield Books, Sports Village, among others. Sometime in 1996 there was also a Carmike-6 movie theater that was added on. A stand alone Target was built across the highway from the mall that was a also a really big retail draw to the area.

The mall itself was running pretty healthy with most if not all spaces occupied. Its downfall started in 2000 when Wal-Mart built relocated into a new Supercenter across town. I remember the excitement of going to Walmart as a kid and then just being able to conveniently go to the mall afterwards. The boarded up entrance to the old Wal-Mart is sad to see.

With this move, it caused a direct and indirect hit on the mall. Immediately 5 stores pulled out of the mall: Maurices, Radioshack, Sears, Payless and Reichert Jewelers to move to more prime locations on the Supercenter property in a strip mall. Many more stores closed afterwards. By 2010 the former corridor leading to the old Wal-Mart was completely dead. I believe the last store in this corridor to close was Homestake Coins, which was sad because that store was so cool and had many comic books, baseball cards, sports flags, etc. Corral West Ranchwear, which had a big space in the mall, closed in 2011. This space was reoccupied by a Memories of the Past store, selling memorabilia and the like.

In 2012, JCPenney closed down at Monument Mall in a nationwide decision to close under performing stores. Currently, Herbergers is the only anchor. The way that retail patterns have moved in this rural area, it will most likely stay that way. There really is no store that could fit the anchor space of Wal-Mart that would be able to carry this mall back into a great shopping destination, considering Scottsbluff only has about 15,000 people in the town, along with the surrounding rural towns. I really doubt seeing any department store being able to work in either anchor spaces.

The mall still gets business due to it being convenient for surrounding towns, and there are other places to shop that draw in out-of-towners. I wouldn't doubt if this mall closes entirely within 5-10 years; it can't sustain itself with only 25 of the 40 spaces being occupied.

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