Foothills Mall: The Heartbeat of Fort Collins, CO Retail

The Genesis of Foothills Mall

Early Beginnings and Development

The Foothills Mall, initially known as Foothills Fashion Mall, marked its presence in Fort Collins, Colorado, with its grand opening on November 1, 1973.

This significant retail establishment was the brainchild of a joint venture between Everitt Enterprises and Westcor, collectively known as EverWest.

The collaboration aimed to create a shopping destination that would cater to the rapidly growing population of Fort Collins.

The mall’s inception responded to the increasing demand for a comprehensive retail experience in the region.

Initial Anchor Stores and Expansion

Foothills Mall set a high standard in retail offerings from its early days. The original anchor tenants included renowned names like Sears, May-Daniels & Fisher, and The Denver Dry Goods Company, each bringing their unique retail flair to the mall.

In 1980, the mall expanded its reach by welcoming J.C. Penney, another major player in the retail sector.

This addition further solidified the mall’s position as a key shopping destination in Northern Colorado.

The expansion increased the mall’s retail space and diversified the shopping experience for its patrons.

Evolution Through the Years

Over the years, Foothills Mall has witnessed numerous changes, reflecting the dynamic nature of the retail industry.

The transition of May-Daniels & Fisher to Foley’s and later to Macy’s is a testament to the mall’s ability to adapt and evolve with changing times and consumer preferences.

These transformations have been pivotal in maintaining the mall’s relevance and appeal in the competitive retail landscape.

The mall’s journey from its establishment to its current state is a narrative of adaptation, resilience, and continuous evolution, making it a significant landmark in Fort Collins and a prime example of things to do in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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The story of Foothills Mall is not just about retail and commerce; it’s about the evolution of a community’s shopping habits and preferences.

As we look back from December 2023, the mall stands as a testament to the ever-changing world of retail and consumerism.

Redevelopment and Transformation

Challenges and Decline

In the early 2000s, Foothills Mall faced significant challenges, marking a period of decline. The departure of key anchor stores and deferred maintenance increased vacancy rates.

This downturn reflected broader shifts in the retail industry, where traditional malls struggled to retain their relevance in the face of emerging online shopping trends.

The vacancies of prominent anchors like Mervyn’s in 2005 and JCPenney’s relocation in 2006 left a notable void in the mall’s offerings.

2015 Redevelopment Efforts

Recognizing the need for revitalization, Alberta Development Partners, LLC, undertook an ambitious redevelopment project in 2015.

This extensive renovation aimed to transform the traditional enclosed mall into a modern, open-air shopping destination.

The redevelopment included the demolition of certain parts of the mall and the introduction of new anchor stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom Rack, and Ross Dress for Less.

The addition of a Cinemark movie theater further diversified the mall’s appeal. This transformation was a strategic move to adapt to the evolving preferences of shoppers seeking more experiential and diverse retail environments.

Impact of Redevelopment

The impact of the 2015 redevelopment was significant. It modernized the mall and reinvigorated interest among shoppers and retailers alike.

New stores, including H&M and Forever 21, added a fresh dimension to the mall’s retail mix. Despite these efforts, by 2018, the mall was only 77 percent leased, indicating ongoing challenges in the retail sector.

However, the redevelopment positioned Foothills Mall as a more competitive player in the retail market, adapting to the new realities of shopping and entertainment.

Current Anchor Stores and Their Stories

As a pivotal anchor in Foothills Mall, Dick’s Sporting Goods has established itself as a destination for sports enthusiasts in Fort Collins.

Offering a comprehensive range of sports gear, apparel, and accessories, this store caters to a diverse clientele, from amateur athletes to professional sportspeople.

Its presence in the mall highlights the shift towards integrating lifestyle and experiential retail options in modern shopping centers, appealing to a customer base seeking quality and variety in their shopping experience.

Nordstrom Rack brings a unique blend of style and affordability to Foothills Mall. Renowned for offering designer brands at discounted prices, this store has become a magnet for fashion-conscious shoppers who value both quality and value.

Nordstrom Rack’s inclusion in the mall’s retail mix is a strategic move, broadening the mall’s appeal to include those who seek high-end fashion without the high-end price tag.

H&M at Foothills Mall represents the face of modern, affordable fashion. Catering to a fashion-forward audience, H&M offers a wide range of trendy apparel and accessories that resonate with a younger demographic.

The store’s presence in the mall underscores the importance of fast fashion in today’s retail environment, attracting a segment of shoppers who prioritize staying abreast of the latest fashion trends while being mindful of budget.

Forever 21 in Foothills Mall appeals to the youthful and style-conscious shoppers of Fort Collins.

Known for its trendy clothing and accessories, the store is a go-to destination for those seeking contemporary fashion at accessible prices.

Its inclusion in the mall’s retail lineup adds vibrancy and variety, catering to a demographic seeking the latest fashion trends without breaking the bank.

Ross Dress for Less complements the mall’s retail offerings by providing a wide selection of discounted clothing, accessories, and home goods.

This store attracts budget-conscious shoppers looking for quality products at reduced prices. Ross Dress for Less in Foothills Mall demonstrates the mall’s commitment to offering diverse shopping options that cater to its customers’ varied needs and preferences.

Cinemark XD plays a significant role in the mall’s attraction as an anchor, offering an enhanced cinema experience with state-of-the-art technology and a premium viewing environment.

This movie theater adds an entertainment dimension to the mall, complementing visitors’ retail and dining options.

Prominent Stores and Their Contributions

Diverse Retail Mix

Foothills Mall in Fort Collins, Colorado, is not just defined by its anchor stores and dining options; it’s also home to a diverse array of specialty stores that contribute significantly to its unique character and appeal.

Athleta is a premier destination for women’s athletic wear, offering a range of high-quality, stylish activewear.

This store caters to Fort Collins’ health-conscious and active residents, embodying the city’s love for fitness and outdoor activities.

Bath & Body Works is a haven for fragrance enthusiasts. Known for its extensive range of scented body care products and home fragrances, this store adds a sensory dimension to the shopping experience at Foothills Mall, drawing in customers with its inviting aromas and colorful displays.

Buckle offers the latest in denim and casual apparel. With its trendy and contemporary fashion selections, Buckle appeals to young adults and fashion-forward shoppers, adding a touch of modern style to the mall’s retail mix.

Chico’s specializes in sophisticated and chic women’s clothing. Catering to a more mature demographic, Chico’s provides an elegant shopping experience, offering everything from casual wear to more formal attire.

Comcast Xfinity brings technology and entertainment solutions to the mall. As a hub for the latest in telecommunications and home entertainment, this store meets the tech needs of the Fort Collins community.

Finish Line is a go-to spot for sneakerheads and athletic footwear enthusiasts. Offering a wide selection of the latest sneakers and athletic shoes, Finish Line caters to both sports participants and fashion-conscious customers.

Francesca’s provides a boutique shopping experience with its unique mix of clothing, jewelry, and accessories. This store is known for its eclectic and whimsical style, appealing to those looking for distinctive and fashionable items.

Hot Topic offers an array of pop culture and music-inspired apparel and accessories. It’s a favorite among younger shoppers drawn to its edgy and alternative styles.

LensCrafters addresses the eye care needs of shoppers. From stylish eyewear to comprehensive eye exams, LensCrafters ensures that vision care is conveniently accessible within the mall.

Lululemon, another athletic wear store, is renowned for its high-quality yoga and workout apparel. It’s a favorite among fitness enthusiasts for its durable and fashionable clothing.

Maurices offers affordable and trendy women’s fashion. This store is known for its inclusive sizing and diverse style options, catering to various tastes and body types.

Shoe Dept. Encore provides a wide range of footwear for the whole family. From casual to formal shoes, this store ensures that shoppers’ footwear needs are well met.

Skechers is recognized for its comfortable and stylish footwear. Catering to all ages, Skechers combines comfort with fashion, making it a popular choice for everyday wear.

Sleep Number offers customized sleep solutions with its innovative mattresses and bedding products. This store adds a unique dimension to the mall’s retail offerings, focusing on health and wellness through quality sleep.

Sunglass Hut brings a touch of glamour with its range of designer sunglasses. Catering to fashion-conscious shoppers, it offers the latest trends in eyewear.

T-MobileTorridUltaVansVerizon WirelessVictoria’s SecretZales, and Zumiez further enrich the shopping experience at Foothills Mall, each bringing their unique products and services.

From beauty and fashion to telecommunications and jewelry, these stores collectively contribute to making Foothills Mall a diverse and vibrant shopping destination in Fort Collins, CO.

Culinary Delights: Food and Beverage Options

Diverse Dining Options

Foothills Mall is not just about shopping; it’s also a destination for food lovers. The mall offers various dining options, catering to multiple tastes and preferences.

From quick bites at Auntie Anne’s to more substantial meals at Longhorn Steakhouse, the mall ensures visitors find something to satisfy their appetite.

Including diverse dining options like Cava and Modern Market Eatery reflects the mall’s commitment to providing a complete and enjoyable visitor experience.

Signature Eateries and Their Offerings

Among the culinary highlights of Foothills Mall are signature eateries like Torchy’s Tacos, known for its unique and flavorful tacos, and Nothing Bundt Cakes, which offers a delightful range of bundt cakes.

These eateries have become favorites among visitors, contributing significantly to the mall’s appeal.

Specialized options like Nekter Juice Bar and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory add healthy and indulgent treats to the mall’s diverse culinary landscape.

The Role of Food in Attracting Visitors

The food and beverage options at Foothills Mall play a crucial role in attracting and retaining visitors.

Establishments like Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Smokin’ Fins offer dining experiences that make a trip to the mall more than just a shopping expedition.

The variety of food options, from casual to upscale, ensures that the mall is a shopping destination and a place to socialize, relax, and enjoy good food.

This integration of dining with retail enhances the overall appeal of Foothills Mall, making it a comprehensive destination for a wide range of visitors.

The Mall’s Impact on Fort Collins

Economic Contributions

Since its inception in 1973, Foothills Mall has played a significant role in the economic landscape of Fort Collins, Colorado.

As the largest shopping center in Northern Colorado, it has been a hub for commerce and trade, contributing substantially to the local economy.

The mall’s presence has spurred job creation, ranging from retail positions to management roles, supporting the community’s employment needs.

Additionally, the mall’s diverse range of stores, from national chains like H&M to local businesses, has fostered a dynamic economic environment, encouraging consumer spending and attracting visitors from surrounding areas.

Community Engagement and Events

Foothills Mall extends its influence beyond commerce by actively engaging with the Fort Collins community.

The mall has hosted various events and activities, serving as a gathering place for community members.

These events, ranging from holiday celebrations to charity fundraisers, have provided entertainment and engagement for the locals and strengthened the bond between the mall and the community.

This engagement reflects the mall’s commitment to being more than just a shopping destination but a vital part of the Fort Collins social fabric.


Reflecting on Foothills Mall’s Journey

Foothills Mall in Fort Collins, Colorado, stands today as a testament to resilience and adaptability in the ever-changing world of retail.

From its early days as a traditional shopping center to its transformation into a modern, mixed-use space, the mall has continually evolved to meet the needs and preferences of its visitors.

Including diverse retail stores, entertainment options, and dining experiences has made it a comprehensive destination, reflecting the dynamic nature of consumer demands.

Looking Forward

Foothills Mall’s ability to adapt and innovate will be key to its continued success as we look towards the future.

Embracing new trends, responding to consumer behavior changes, and maintaining its community focus will ensure that the mall remains a beloved and vital part of Fort Collins.

The journey of Foothills Mall is not just about retail; it’s about the evolution of a community’s heart and soul, adapting and thriving through the decades.

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