Inside Midland Mall: A Tale of Change and Continuity in Midland, MI

The Inception and Development of Midland Mall

Midland Mall, a significant retail destination in Midland, Michigan, opened its doors to the public on October 9, 1991.

Developed by the Richard E. Jacobs Group, this enclosed shopping center was designed to be a hub of commercial activity and a key player in the local retail landscape.

From its inception, the mall was envisioned as a space offering shopping and dining experiences and serving as a gathering place for the community.

Early Years and Initial Anchors

The mall’s early years were marked by a robust lineup of anchor stores, which was crucial in attracting shoppers and establishing the mall’s reputation.

The original anchors included well-known names like Sears, Elder-Beerman, J.C. Penney, and Target. These stores served as foundational pillars for the mall, each presenting a diverse selection of products and services to meet the varied needs of shoppers.

The presence of these anchors was instrumental in drawing both residents and visitors to the mall, making it a bustling center of activity.

Expansion and Changes Over Time

As the retail industry evolved, so did Midland Mall. In 2003, the mall welcomed Barnes & Noble, adding a new dimension to its retail mix.

This addition was significant, as it brought a major bookstore chain to the mall, offering a place for book lovers and casual readers.

However, the retail landscape is ever-changing, and the mall saw the closure of Steve & Barry’s in 2008, a sign of the shifting dynamics in the retail sector.

Despite these changes, Midland Mall continued to adapt and evolve, seeking new ways to remain relevant and appealing to its customers.

Midland Mall has transcended its role as merely a place for shopping, embedding itself into the social tapestry of the city. It has enriched the experiences and activities of locals and tourists.

Reviewing the mall’s evolution, it’s evident that Midland Mall has played an important role in shaping the city’s commercial and social scene.

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Economic Challenges and Tenant Evolution

Facing Economic Challenges

Like many shopping centers, Midland Mall faced significant economic challenges. A notable event was the closure of Sears in July 2016, a major blow given Sears’ long-standing presence as an anchor tenant since the mall’s opening.

This was followed by another significant departure when JCPenney, another original anchor, announced its closure on July 31, 2017, as part of a nationwide downsizing affecting 138 stores.

These closures were indicative of the broader struggles traditional retail chains face in the face of changing consumer habits and the rise of online shopping.

Shift in Tenant Mix

The departure of Younkers in August 2018, following the bankruptcy of its parent company, The Bon-Ton, left a significant vacancy. Responding to these challenges, Midland Mall began to diversify its tenant mix.

This included opening Fantastic Finds, a resale store, in the former Younkers space in 2020. Such shifts reflected the mall’s strategy to stay relevant and appealing by evolving its retail offerings to match current market trends and consumer preferences.

Resilience Amidst Retail Changes

Despite the departure of several chain stores, Midland Mall demonstrated resilience by continuing to attract new businesses.

In 2020, Planet Fitness moved into the space formerly occupied by JCPenney, signaling a shift towards including non-traditional mall tenants that offer lifestyle and fitness services.

This move not only filled a significant vacancy but also brought a new type of offering to the mall’s patrons, aligning with contemporary trends in health and wellness.

The Current Anchors and Their Stories

Target’s Enduring Presence

Target has been a constant at Midland Mall since its opening in 1991. As one of the original anchor tenants, Target has consistently drawn a steady flow of customers, contributing significantly to the mall’s foot traffic.

Its wide range of products, from clothing to electronics, has made it a one-stop shop for many shoppers, reinforcing its role as a key player in the mall’s retail ecosystem.

Hobby Lobby and Dunham’s Sports

Hobby Lobby, a well-known arts and crafts store, opened its doors in the mall in 2022, occupying a significant portion of the space.

This addition diversified the mall’s retail mix, catering to the creative and DIY enthusiasts in the community. Dunham’s Sports, another key tenant, took over a vacant space in 2011.

As a sports goods retailer, Dunham’s Sports filled the gap for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, further broadening the mall’s appeal.

Barnes & Noble and Planet Fitness

Barnes & Noble, added in 2003, brought a new dimension to the mall as a major bookstore. It has been a destination for book lovers, offering a wide selection of books and a cozy environment for reading and relaxation.

Planet Fitness, which moved into the mall in 2020, marked a shift towards incorporating fitness and lifestyle services into the mall’s offerings.

This move aligned with a growing trend of integrating health and wellness facilities into retail spaces, offering shoppers convenience and a holistic experience.

Home Health: MyMichigan Home Care

MyMichigan Home Care, a significant healthcare provider, has established its presence in Midland Mall, offering a unique blend of health services within a retail environment.

This innovative integration shifts the mall’s traditional retail focus, bringing essential healthcare services to the community’s doorstep.

A New Dimension of Healthcare in Retail Spaces

MyMichigan Home Care in Midland Mall provides skilled nursing, therapy, home infusion, and hospice care.

This facility is part of MyMichigan Health, a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan.

The presence of MyMichigan Home Care in the mall reflects the evolving nature of shopping centers, adapting to the community’s changing needs by incorporating essential services like healthcare.

Services Tailored to Community Needs

MyMichigan Home Care offers various services catering to different health needs. The facility can handle multiple medical requirements, from in-home assessments to specialized nursing care.

The integration of such services within a mall setting is not just convenient but also symbolizes a holistic approach to community well-being.

It allows individuals to access healthcare in a familiar, accessible environment, potentially reducing the stress associated with medical visits.

Impact on Midland Mall and the Community

The inclusion of MyMichigan Home Care in Midland Mall has a multifaceted impact. It diversifies the mall’s offerings, extending beyond traditional retail to vital health services.

This attracts a different segment of visitors and adds value to the mall as a community-centered space.

For the residents of Midland, the convenience of accessing healthcare services in a central location like the mall is a significant benefit, underscoring the mall’s role as a community hub.

MyMichigan Home Care’s presence in Midland Mall is a testament to its adaptability and responsiveness to its community’s needs, blending healthcare and retail harmoniously and beneficially.

Ownership Transitions and Future Prospects in the Mall

The Midland Mall in Midland, MI, recently embarked on a new chapter with a change in ownership. Jordan Dice, a young entrepreneur from Bay County, acquired the mall, bringing fresh energy and a new vision to this 32-year-old establishment.

The New Era Under Jordan Dice

At 33 years old, Jordan Dice represents a new generation of mall owners. His entrepreneurial spirit and innovative approach are expected to breathe new life into Midland Mall.

Acquisition of the mall was finalized in an auction in March, with an estimated value of $5 million.

This transition marks a significant moment in the mall’s history, as it moves from the previous ownership of Kohan Retail Investment Group to a local entrepreneur with deep ties to the community.

Revitalization Plans and Expectations

Dice has ambitious plans for Midland Mall. His vision includes revitalizing the mall by introducing new tenants and transforming 100,000 sq. ft. of space.

This initiative is about filling vacant spaces and reimagining the mall as a vibrant, modern retail and community space.

The focus is on diversifying the tenant mix and enhancing the overall shopping experience, aligning with current retail trends and consumer preferences.

The community has high hopes for Dice’s stewardship, anticipating his fresh perspective and innovative strategies to increase the mall’s popularity and relevance.

In summary, the ownership transition of Midland Mall to Jordan Dice is a promising development, signaling a potential renaissance for this key retail destination in Midland, MI.

The community eagerly awaits the unfolding of Dice’s vision and the positive changes it is expected to bring to the mall and the wider Midland area.

Midland Mall in the Community’s Heart

Community Engagement and Events

Midland Mall has long been a focal point for community engagement and events in Midland, Michigan.

The mall has hosted various events catering to different interests and age groups, fostering community and belonging.

These events range from holiday celebrations to cultural festivals, making the mall more than just a shopping destination.

The mall’s role in community events is a testament to its importance as a social hub in the area, where people can gather, celebrate, and enjoy shared experiences.

Nostalgic Memories and Social Impact

Over the years, Midland Mall has created a tapestry of memories for the residents of Midland.

From the iconic train ride that once circled the halls, bringing joy to children, to the various stores that have come and gone, the mall holds a special place in the hearts of many.

These nostalgic memories contribute to the mall’s identity as a community cornerstone, reflecting its impact beyond commerce and retail.

The mall’s ability to evoke fond memories indicates its deep connection with the local community.

Midland Mall has shown adaptability and resilience in evolving retail trends. The mall’s efforts to stay relevant in the rapidly changing retail landscape are evident in its tenant mix and the introduction of non-traditional mall elements like fitness centers and healthcare services.

This adaptability is crucial for the mall’s continued success and relevance, ensuring it meets its customers’ current and future needs.

By embracing change and innovation, Midland Mall continues to be a significant player in the retail sector of Midland, Michigan.

The Continuing Saga of Midland Mall

Reflecting on the Journey

Midland Mall’s journey from its opening in 1991 to its current state in 2024 is a story of adaptation, resilience, and community significance.

The mall has navigated the ups and downs of the retail industry, facing challenges like major store closures and economic shifts. Yet, it has remained a central part of Midland’s social and economic fabric.

Embracing Change and Innovation

The mall’s ability to embrace change, from diversifying its tenant mix to welcoming non-retail services, has been key to its endurance.

This adaptability is not just about survival; it’s about evolving to meet its patrons’ changing needs and preferences.

Introducing new stores and services, like MyMichigan Home Care and Planet Fitness, demonstrates the mall’s commitment to staying relevant and appealing.

Looking to the Future

As Midland Mall moves forward under the new ownership of Jordan Dice, the community watches with anticipation.

The hope is for a revitalized mall that continues to serve as a shopping destination, a community gathering place, and a reflection of Midland’s spirit.

The future of Midland Mall seems poised to continue its legacy, adapting to the times while remaining a cherished landmark in Midland, Michigan.

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