Valley Mall: The Heart of Retail in Hagerstown, MD

Nestled in the heart of Hagerstown, Maryland, the Valley Mall stands as a testament to the spirit of the local community. Serving not only the residents of Hagerstown but also the nearby neighborhoods in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the mall has become a fixture in the lives of many.

A Brief History

Born from the creative minds at Shopco Development Company of New York City, the Valley Mall officially opened its doors on August 15, 1974. It was the second of its kind to grace Western Maryland and the Tri-State Area, following the Frederick Towne Mall that opened in 1972.

The mall’s grand opening revealed a bustling hub of 90 stores ready to serve the eager community. Anchored by retail giants like Montgomery Ward and JCPenney, the mall also housed local favorites such as Eyerly’s, McCrory’s, Peoples Drug, Carmike Cinemas 3, and the Pantry Pride grocery store.

These establishments provided various products and services, transforming the mall into a one-stop destination for shoppers.

Transitions and Transformations

Like any entity, the Valley Mall has undergone numerous changes and transformations. The mall’s evolution reflects the shifting retail landscape, consumer preferences, and market dynamics. For example, Eyerly’s transitioned to The Bon-Ton, and a partial second floor bustling with small crafts stores was introduced.

In the mid-90s, the mall saw a major renovation, including removing the second floor. Anchor stores came and went, with Martin’s replacing Pantry Pride and Toys R Us taking over Martin’s old location.

The late 90s and early 2000s saw a significant expansion, with a new wing featuring Old Navy, a food court, Hecht’s department store, a 16-screen cinema, and additional small stores.

The mall also weathered the closure of major stores. Montgomery Ward and Hecht’s bowed out, with Sears and Macy’s stepping in. However, these replacements were short-lived, with Sears closing in 2017 and Macy’s in 2016.

Despite these closures, Valley Mall bounced back, with Belk filling the former Bon-Ton space and Tilt Studio and OneLife Fitness replacing the former Macy’s location. Dick’s Sporting Goods also opened in the former Sears in 2020.

In addition, Old Navy, a longtime tenant, departed in January 2023, relocating to the shopping center behind the mall.

Valley Mall under PREIT

The Valley Mall is owned and managed by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), a publicly-traded investment trust specializing in managing differentiated shopping malls.

Spanning more than 22 million square feet, PREIT’s retail spaces are predominantly located in the eastern United States, focusing on the key metropolitan statistical areas in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Founded in 1960, PREIT is known as one of the first companies to reach REIT status. From its inception, the company has witnessed significant growth, which can be attributed first to its visionary founder, Sylvan M. Cohen, and later to the strategic guidance of his successor, Ronald Rubin.

In addition, PREIT welcomed Joseph F. Coradino as its new CEO in 2012, only the third in the company’s history​.

Current State of Affairs

Today, Valley Mall is the only indoor shopping mall serving the Hagerstown Metropolitan Area. The mall’s anchor stores now include JCPenney, Belk, Tilt Studio, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and OneLife Fitness, offering patrons a blend of fashion, entertainment, and fitness.

Despite the various changes and challenges, the mall remains a favorite shopping destination for residents and visitors alike.

Memorable Events

The Valley Mall has been a host to a myriad of events, adding to its vibrant history. It recently hosted the Spring Carnival, a festive event that brought together the community to celebrate the season. However, not all memorable events have been cause for celebration.

The mall has also seen darker times, such as the unfortunate shooting incident 2022. But through both good and bad, the Valley Mall has stood as a cornerstone of the Hagerstown community.

Conclusion

From its establishment in 1974 to today, Valley Mall has been an integral part of the Hagerstown community, adapting to changes in the retail landscape and providing visitors with a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Valley Mall Hagerstown MD
Valley Mall Hagerstown MD Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As it moves into the future under the management of PREIT, Valley Mall is poised to remain a dynamic and vibrant part of the local community.

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