From Anchors to Empty Spaces: The Evolution of Adrian Mall in Adrian, Michigan

A Look into the History and Evolution of Adrian Mall

Adrian Mall, located in Adrian, Michigan, has a rich history that dates back to its opening in 1970.

The mall was designed as an enclosed shopping center, featuring JCPenney, F. W. Woolworth Company, and Sears as its primary anchor stores. Elder-Beerman joined as the anchor store in 1985.

For many years, the mall remained unchanged, but as the 21st century dawned, the mall began to see a significant transformation.

Adrian Mall in Adrian, Michigan

Over time, many stores within the mall began closing their doors. As a result, a portion of the mall was removed to make way for Dunham’s Sports. Unfortunately, JCPenney, Sears, and Elder-Beerman’s anchor stores closed, leaving the mall a significant void.

The former Sears location has been divided into two stores: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Hobby Lobby. These stores and the remaining retailers have created a new atmosphere and visitor experience.

The Evolution of Adrian Mall: A Historical Overview

Adrian Mall has undergone significant changes since its opening on September 3, 1970. At the time, the mall featured Sears and F. W. Woolworth Company as its anchor stores, with JCPenney opening as the third anchor store in April 1971.

The mall quickly became a popular shopping destination for residents of Adrian and the surrounding areas.

Adrian Mall
Adrian Mall in Adrian, Michigan

In 1985, the mall underwent a $1.5 million renovation, which included the addition of Elder-Beerman, a department store that quickly became a favorite among shoppers. The expansion also brought in new retailers and gave the mall a fresh look and feel.

Throughout the 2000s, Adrian Mall underwent several management changes. First, General Growth Properties managed the mall in 2002, followed by CBL & Associates Properties in 2008.

Jones Lang LaSalle took over management in 2010. These changes brought new ideas and strategies to the mall, but its popularity declined as online shopping became more prevalent.

In December 2014, the Texas-based Tabani Group purchased the mall for an undisclosed amount. The company had big plans for the mall, hoping to make it a premier shopping destination and form partnerships with area businesses and organizations.

Adrian Mall in Adrian, Michigan

The Decline of Adrian Mall: An In-Depth Look

Since the 2000s, Adrian Mall has experienced a significant decline, despite being a thriving shopping center in the past. This decline can be attributed to several factors, including the closure of multiple merchants in 2009, such as Waldenbooks and one of the last Sam Goody stores.

These closures began a decline that would continue over the next several years. As a result, the mall has struggled to attract new tenants and customers, making it increasingly challenging to turn the situation around.

In 2012, Sears closed its doors, leaving a significant void in the mall. Moreover, the closure of such a major anchor store had a ripple effect on other retailers, as foot traffic decreased significantly.

The mall’s owners announced renovation plans in 2013, including converting part of the Sears store into a Hobby Lobby.

The plans also included the introduction of a Buffalo Wild Wings and the expansion of MC Sports’ existing store. These changes were intended to revitalize the mall and attract new customers.

Despite these efforts, JCPenney announced the closure of its Adrian Mall store in January 2015. This closure was a significant blow to the mall, as JCPenney was one of the mall’s remaining anchor stores.

Dunham’s Sports eventually took over the space, which had its grand opening on May 20, 2016. The former MC Sports store closed in late 2015 and was part of Dunham’s Sports wing.

Elder-Beerman, another anchor store, closed its doors in April 2018 due to Bon-Ton Stores filing for bankruptcy.

The Slow and Final Decline of Adrian Mall

In 2019, the mall was acquired by Kohan Retail Investment Group, which brought new locally-owned businesses to revive the mall.

However, in March 2020, the mall faced severe issues with its roof, water damage, and other problems, which led to its almost condemnation. To remain open, the mall was required to replace its entire roof by April 11, but the work was not completed.

Consequently, the mall was condemned on June 16, 2020, and was given until July 31 to address the issues or remain closed. Hobby Lobby and Dunham’s Sports were the only stores allowed to stay open, while other stores had to close.

Adrian Mall
Adrian Mall

Despite the deadline, the mall could not fix the issues and remained closed. As of the end of 2022, the mall has permanently closed.

Corta Development, the company that acquired the former Sears building, announced the property’s renovation on July 5, 2020.

The portion of the building that Hobby Lobby did not occupy would be remodeled and expanded to make way for Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. The new store officially opened on March 24, 2021.

Overall, the decline of Adrian Mall can be attributed to several factors, including the closure of several merchants, management changes, and issues with the mall’s physical infrastructure.

Despite efforts to revive it, the mall ultimately could not overcome its challenges and has now become a remnant of its once-thriving past.

Avatar of Spencer Walsh

I'm Spencer Walsh, a professional traveler who loves to help people discover new places and learn about different cultures. I've traveled worldwide, from Europe to Asia and Africa to South America. My favorite thing about traveling is getting lost because it allows me to discover unexpected gems—finding a hidden museum or stumbling upon a beautiful park in the middle of the city.

Best Attractions
Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Jean Moore Burwell
    Jean Moore Burwell

    I was a ten year employee with SuperX
    Drugs (1976-1986) located across from SEARS. Moved away from Adrian, Michigan to Florida in July 1986. I return every year to visit family still living in Adrian.
    Sad to see the MALL going downhill.
    Hopefully it can still make a “Come-Back”.
    Thank you for sharing this article.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience with SuperX Drugs and Adrian Mall! It’s always great to hear from someone connected to the place. I understand your concerns about the mall’s current state, and also hopeful for its bright future.

Add a comment

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: