A Storied Past
Eastland Mall, located in Evansville, Indiana, has been an integral part of the local community for over four decades. Since its doors opened in August 1981, the mall has seen many changes, with various retail giants coming and going, leaving their mark on this treasured shopping destination.
Developed by General Growth Properties and operated by Macerich, Eastland Mall has remained steadfast in Evansville’s retail landscape.
In its early years, the mall was anchored by JCPenney, DeJong’s, and Ben Snyder’s, with Lazarus joining the mix in August 1982. Over time, some of these original anchors have been replaced, with Macy’s and Dillard’s now standing alongside JCPenney as the mall’s main attractions.
A Journey Through Time
Here’s an expanded timeline of Eastland Mall‘s history:
- August 1981: Eastland Mall opens with much fanfare, quickly becoming a go-to shopping destination for the community.
- August 1982: Lazarus, a famous department store, joins the mall as a fourth anchor, solidifying its status as a retail powerhouse.
- 1984: Equitable Life Assurance Society acquires the mall from General Growth Properties, while the latter retains the management agreement for over a decade.
- 1987, Ben Snyder’s was acquired by Hess’s, a prominent retail chain that took over the store in 1988.
- 1993: Hess’s encounters financial difficulties, resulting in the closure of their Eastland Mall store.
- 1996: May Company’s Famous-Barr division opens a new store in the former Hess’s location, breathing new life into the mall.
- 2005: Lazarus becomes Macy’s after dropping the legacy Lazarus name, providing shoppers with an updated and modern shopping experience.
- 2006: Famous-Barr closes its doors, allowing Dillard’s to purchase the site and eventually open a new store in 2007.
- January 2012: Macerich assumes management rights, marking a new era for the mall.
- January 2017: The Limited announces the closure of all its stores, including its Eastland Mall location.
- July 2017: Children’s clothing retailer Gymboree announces the closure of 350 stores, including the Eastland Mall location.
- January 2023: The Slime Factory opens in Eastland Mall, offering children and families a unique, hands-on experience.
A Shopping Haven in the Tri-State Area
With over 100 specialty stores, a vibrant food court featuring a variety of fast-food eateries, and a TGI Friday’s restaurant, there’s truly something for everyone at this beloved mall.
The mall’s retail floor area spans an impressive 1,001,000 square feet across two floors. Despite declining sales per square foot from $402 in 2012 to $367 in 2016, Evansville’s retail sales per capita remain 60% higher than the state average, making Eastland Mall a vital part of the local economy.
To continually improve the shopping experience, Eastland Mall has undergone several renovations and expansions throughout its history. One such renovation included adding a more extensive food court area and installing a carousel, providing entertainment for families and children.
A Modern Playground for the Young and Young at Heart
In recent years, Eastland Mall has continued to adapt and evolve, offering new and exciting experiences for patrons of all ages. The Slime Factory is the most recent addition to the mall’s lineup, which opened in January 2023.
This unique, hands-on attraction allows kids to unleash their creativity by playing with slime in a kaleidoscope of colors and sizes.
The Slime Factory has quickly become a favorite among families in Evansville, providing a fun and engaging space for children to explore and enjoy.
Aside from The Slime Factory, Eastland Mall also features a variety of other entertainment options, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.
From seasonal events and holiday festivities to special promotions and family-friendly activities, the mall continually strives to create memorable experiences for its visitors.
Nostalgia and New Beginnings
Eastland Mall has come a long way since its inception in 1981, weathering the ever-changing retail landscape with grace and resilience. As the mall continues reinventing itself, it remains a cherished part of the Evansville community. In this place, memories are made, and new experiences are waiting just around the corner.
The success of Eastland Mall is a testament to its ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and market conditions. While some stores have come and gone, the mall’s commitment to offering diverse shopping, dining, and entertainment options has helped it maintain its status as a beloved retail destination.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, Eastland Mall will delight and inspire, capturing the hearts of all who walk through its doors. As we look to the future, there’s no doubt that this cherished landmark will continue to evolve, adapt, and remain a treasured part of the Evansville community for generations to come.