Country Club Mall in Cumberland, MD: Past, Present, Future

Early Development and Opening

Maryland invested $12 million in road infrastructure to support regional growth, leading to the development of Country Club Mall.

This mall, located in LaVale, a suburb of Cumberland, Maryland, opened its doors in 1981. Before its construction, the site was used for strip mining and a golf course until 1979.

The mall featured anchor stores Kmart, JCPenney, and Eyerly’s when it opened. Kmart was a major draw for shoppers, providing a wide range of products.

JCPenney offered clothing, home goods, and electronics, enhancing the mall’s appeal. Eyerly’s, a department store, added to the variety of shopping options available.

The 64-acre property, part of a larger 192-acre parcel, underwent significant changes to transform into a shopping destination. Smaller stores in Cumberland faced closures as the mall attracted more customers to its larger retail spaces.

Country Club Mall’s location off Interstate 68 made it accessible to residents from various counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Its strategic position and variety of stores made it a central shopping hub, drawing visitors from a wide area seeking things to do in Cumberland, Maryland.

Expansion and Anchor Stores

Sears joined the mall about a year after it opened, adding a range of appliances and tools that drew more shoppers. By the early 2000s, the mall continued to evolve.

Kmart closed its doors in 2002, and Walmart Supercenter took its place in 2004, bringing in a diverse crowd with its variety of products.

The mall’s footprint grew, reaching 527,000 square feet by September 2004. This expansion included new retail spaces and services, making it a larger destination for shoppers.

By May 2013, the mall further expanded to 600,000 square feet, reflecting its ambition to stay relevant in the competitive retail market.

Anchor stores played a big role in the mall’s draw. Bon-Ton replaced Eyerly’s, adding another department store that offered clothing, cosmetics, and home furnishings.

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However, the retail landscape changed, and Bon-Ton eventually closed in August 2018. This closure marked the beginning of challenges for the mall.

On November 7, 2019, Sears announced it would close this location as part of a nationwide plan to shut down 96 stores. The store officially closed in February 2020.

Shortly after, on June 4, 2020, JCPenney revealed plans to close around October 2020 as part of a broader strategy to close 154 stores nationwide.

These closures have had a profound impact on the mall, reducing foot traffic and contributing to its overall decline.

The presence of Walmart Supercenter, with its broad product range and other anchors like TJ Maxx, helped maintain the mall’s relevance for a while.

Country Club Mall
Country Club Mall” by Jtkane0 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ownership Changes and Management

Ownership changes at Country Club Mall reflect the shifts in its business trajectory. Initially, Andrew D. Gumberg of Gumberg Asset Management Corp managed the mall.

His Pittsburgh-based company saw potential in this retail space and guided it through its early years.

In January 1999, J. J. Gumberg Properties purchased the mall for $32.4 million, signaling a new chapter.

These transitions often brought new management strategies and goals. The mall changed hands again when Namdar Realty Group and Mason Asset Management acquired it at auction.

Namdar Realty took over operations, while Mason Asset Management focused on leasing efforts. This shift aimed to address vacancies and attract new tenants.

Ownership changes impact the mall’s direction and strategy. Each owner brought different visions, trying to balance the needs of the local community with the challenges of the retail industry.

Namdar and Mason’s acquisition represented a hope to revive the mall, but it faced many obstacles.

Country Club Mall: Community and Surrounding Area

Country Club Mall is a shopping destination for residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Its location in LaVale, just off Interstate 68, makes it accessible to many.

The mall is the only enclosed shopping center within a 65-mile radius, drawing visitors from various regions.

The surrounding area offers more than just shopping. Restaurants, hotels, and other commercial establishments encircle the mall.

These businesses benefit from the mall’s traffic, and their success ties closely to the mall’s fortunes. The decline in mall visitors affects these neighboring establishments, impacting the local economy.

Public transportation plays a crucial role in connecting people to the mall. Allegany County Transit buses stop at the mall, making it convenient for shoppers without cars.

Various bus lines, including the ones serving Frostburg State University students, ensure that many people can easily reach the mall.

Despite the mall’s struggles, it remains a focal point for the community. People from different countries visit for shopping, dining, and entertainment. The mall’s location, near Interstate 68 and surrounded by other amenities, keeps it relevant.

However, its challenges also ripple through the local area, affecting other businesses and the overall economic health of the region.

Country Club Mall
Country Club Mall” by Javcon117* is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


The mall houses an eight-screen movie theater known as Country Club 8 Cinemas. Initially, AMC Theatres managed the cinema, operating six screens under the name AMC Country Club Mall 6. AMC ceased operations on July 17, 2011, choosing not to renew its lease.

Following AMC’s departure, WPA Theaters took over management in early August 2011. WPA expanded the theater to eight screens and renamed it Country Club 8 Cinemas.

They aimed to provide continuity by retaining the same staff and managers who previously worked under AMC, ensuring a smooth transition for both employees and patrons.

Crime and Incidents

On May 14, 2012, a man scammed a 71-year-old at JCPenney by posing as an undercover police officer.

He convinced the elderly man to hand over money, claiming it would help him avoid appearing before a judge. Video surveillance later identified the scammer, aiding the investigation.

Later that year, on December 15, 2012, a deer wandered into Barbara’s Hallmark store. The unexpected visitor knocked down a few items but did not cause any injuries.

Store employees quickly shut the front gate and guided the deer toward the back. After a few minutes, the deer exited through the back door and left the store without further incident.

Air Conditioning Issues at Country Club Mall

As of June 2024, Country Club Mall in Cumberland, MD, continues to face severe air conditioning problems. Most of the mall lacks a functional cooling system, and there is no clear timeline for repairs.

This issue has forced some stores to close early during the recent heatwave, while others have resorted to using makeshift air conditioning units to manage the heat.

Notably, Walmart and Country Club Mall Cinemas are not affected, as they operate independent cooling systems.

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