Mall St. Matthews, Louisville, KY: Best Retail Experience

Early Development and Opening

Mall St. Matthews opened on March 21, 1962. The Rouse Company developed it. It became Kentucky’s first enclosed suburban shopping mall. It is in St. Matthews, Kentucky, next to Louisville and the Watterson Expressway.

The initial anchor stores were A&P, Kaufman-Straus, and Rose’s, which formed the core attractions. During a later expansion in the 1960s, JCPenney joined as an additional anchor store, increasing the mall’s appeal to shoppers.

Early features included a children’s play area near Rose’s, an oversized Kaufman-Straus chess set, and multiple fountains.

These elements aimed to create a family-friendly environment. Initially named “The Mall,” the mall quickly gained popularity among locals.

As a pioneering retail space, it set the standard for future regional developments. This development was a key event in the history of things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. The mall’s strategic location and diverse store offerings made it a popular destination.

Expansion and Renovation

In the late 1980s, Mall St. Matthews went through a major transformation. They changed the name to Mall St. Matthews and started a massive remodel. They aimed to keep up with the competition from newer malls.

In the early 1990s, they introduced a new food court, which attracted more shoppers looking for a quick bite while shopping.

They also added a wing dedicated to Limited Brands, which included The Limited and Express stores. These changes made the mall more attractive to a younger demographic.

Kaufman-Straus, the original anchor store, was replaced by Bacon’s department store, which relocated from a freestanding location on Shelbyville Road. This move brought more customers to the mall, increasing its popularity.

The mall didn’t stop there. In 1995, they added a new wing and welcomed Dillard’s as a new anchor store, which became a major draw for shoppers.

These expansions and renovations helped Mall St. Matthews maintain its status as a premier shopping destination in the Louisville area.

Retail Shifts and Additions

By 1997, Lord & Taylor opened a store in Mall St. Matthews. This addition brought in a more upscale clientele. In 1998, Bacon’s merged into Dillard’s.

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The former Bacon’s store became Dillard’s Men’s, Children’s & Home store. This consolidation streamlined the mall’s offerings and made shopping more convenient.

In 2000, Nordstrom planned to build a store in the mall. Unfortunately, they withdrew in 2001 before finalizing the contract with The Rouse Company. Despite this setback, the mall continued to evolve.

In early 2004, Lord & Taylor closed their store. A regional junior department store, Dawahares, occupied part of the space until early 2007.

In 2007, the Dillard’s Men’s & Home store relocated to the former Lord & Taylor building. Dillard’s then handed over the former Bacon’s store to the mall owner.

This move opened the potential for redevelopment and kept the mall’s offerings fresh and dynamic.

Major Changes and Modernization

In 2007, Mall St. Matthews removed two iconic fountains. They replaced them with floor tiles and new seating.

This move aimed to give the mall a fresh, modern look. The new tiles and seating provided more space for shoppers to rest and socialize.

Forever 21 moved into the vacated Dillard’s/Bacon’s store in 2012. This large store brought in younger shoppers looking for trendy fashion. Forever 21’s presence revitalized that section of the mall.

In 2013, a Cinemark multiplex opened. This 10-screen cinema offered a new entertainment option for visitors.

Although it is physically attached to the mall, it has no pedestrian access to the rest of the mall. This setup keeps the cinema experience separate but convenient.

The mall faced a major incident on December 26, 2015. A disturbance involving 2,000 people, mostly teenagers, led to an early closure.

This event prompted the mall to implement a temporary policy. Visitors aged 10 to 17 need to be accompanied by someone at least 21 years old after 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. This policy aimed to ensure a safer shopping environment.

Mall St. Matthews Recent Developments

In 2017, Mall St. Matthews announced a major food court renovation. The changes aimed to improve shoppers’ dining experience by installing new floor tiles, furniture, and upgraded restrooms.

They also announced the downsizing of Forever 21 to 30,000 square feet. This allowed for the introduction of new stores.

In 2018, Dave & Buster’s opened on the second floor of the Forever 21 building. This addition provided a new entertainment option, attracting families and young adults.

In 2021, Zappos Unboxed opened its first store at Mall St. Matthews. This shoe and clothing store, owned by the online retailer Zappos, offers a unique shopping experience.

The presence of Zappos Unboxed highlighted the mall’s ability to attract innovative retail concepts.

These updates and additions showed Mall St. Matthews’ commitment to staying current. The mall maintained its relevance in the competitive retail market by continually evolving.

Current Management and Stores

Brookfield Properties manages Mall St. Matthews and Oxmoor Center, located on the other side of the Watterson Expressway. This dual ownership allows for shared resources and strategic planning between the two malls.

The mall features major stores like Dillard’s and JCPenney. Dillard’s operates two separate locations within the mall.

One store is dedicated to women’s apparel, and the other focuses on men, children, and home goods. This division helps more effectively cater to specific shopping needs.

In addition to these anchor stores, Mall St. Matthews houses over 130 retail stores, including popular brands and local businesses.

The variety of stores provides a diverse shopping experience for visitors. There’s something for everyone, from clothing and accessories to electronics and home décor.

Parking is ample, with over 4,500 spaces available. This ensures that visitors can find parking even during peak shopping times.

The mall also has public transit access through TARC, making it convenient for those who prefer not to drive.

Recent Incidents and Responses

In August 2023, the Mall St. Matthews faced a threat that led to a partial closure. Authorities quickly responded to ensure the safety of shoppers and employees.

After a thorough investigation, the mall reopened, but this incident highlighted the need for continued vigilance and security measures.

In May 2023, a shooting incident occurred at the mall. This event prompted a strong response from Louisville’s Mayor, who called for more aggressive measures to remove guns from the streets.

The mall increased its security presence and implemented new protocols to prevent future incidents.

Despite these challenges, Mall St. Matthews remains a vibrant shopping destination. The mall hosts various events and activities, attracting families and individuals alike.

Its diverse stores and entertainment options, including the popular Cinemark multiplex, keep visitors engaged and satisfied.

The mall’s management plans further enhancements to the shopping experience. They aim to introduce new stores and update existing spaces, ensuring Mall St. Matthews stays current and appealing to all visitors.

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