Evolution of Apache Mall in Rochester, MN – From Farmland to Shopping Haven

Apache Mall: A Timeless Rochester Treasure

For over 53 years, the Apache Mall has been a staple in the lives of Rochester, Minnesota residents. Opening on October 16, 1969, this shopping haven was built on a 99-acre plot of former farmland purchased from George Baihly.

The original anchor stores were JCPenney and Montgomery Ward, and over the years, the mall has grown and evolved, reflecting the changing retail landscape and the growth of southwest Rochester.

The extension of U.S. Route 52 past U.S. Route 14 in the mid-1960s helped fuel suburban development in the area, and the mall’s construction marked a significant shift in commerce from downtown Rochester.

In 1972, the local Dayton’s department store moved from downtown to a newly constructed 150,000 sq. ft. store at Apache Mall, making it the third-largest shopping center in Minnesota.

Changing Times

Over the years, the Apache Mall has seen many changes. In 1991, Sears opened a new store at the mall, and in 2001, Montgomery Ward closed its doors and was replaced by Herberger’s.

The same year, Dayton’s at Apache Mall took on Marshall Field’s nameplate after a merger, and later it was rebranded as Macy’s.

In 2014, the mall’s Sears store closed, but Scheels All Sports announced plans for a new location and expansion of the building shortly after.

Scheels opened in 2015, bringing a new anchor tenant to the mall. Unfortunately, Herberger’s closed its doors in 2018 as parent company The Bon-Ton Stores went out of business.

Apache Mall Timeline

Year Event
1969 Apache Mall opens with JCPenney
and Montgomery Ward as anchor stores
1972 Dayton’s moves from downtown Rochester to Apache Mall
1991 Sears opens a new store at the mall
2001 Montgomery Ward closes; Herberger’s replaces it
2001 Dayton’s transitions to Marshall Field’s and later to Macy’s
2014 Sears closes
2015 Scheels All Sports opens
2018 Herberger’s closes

Today’s Apache Mall

Apache Mall continues to be a beloved shopping destination for Rochester residents. Owned and managed by Brookfield Properties, the mall boasts 86 stores and services, with four main anchor tenants: Macy’s, Scheels, Barnes & Noble, and JCPenney.

In addition, the mall also has junior anchors such as Orangetheory Fitness, Boston Shoe & Boot Repair, and Men’s Wearhouse.

The mall’s food court offers a variety of dining options, including A&W All American Food, Applebee’s, Barnes and Noble Café, Caribou Coffee, Charleys Philly Steaks, China Experience, The Compadres, Fair Foods Mini Donuts, HuHot, Northwoods Candy Emporium, Popper’s Tea, Pretzelmaker, Red Lobster, Starbucks, and YiHi Japan.

One of the latest additions to the mall is Levels, a streetwear store by local designer Daniel Johnson Jr. Levels offers high-end hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, jackets, jeans, hats, joggers, and bags designed by Johnson and his team. The store opened its doors on March 30, 2023, in the Scheels wing of the mall.

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Current Anchors at Apache Mall

Barnes & Noble A large bookstore offers a wide selection of books, magazines, gifts, and a cozy café.
JCPenney A popular department store featuring fashion, home goods, and accessories for the entire family.
Macy’s A well-known department store offering a wide range of clothing, beauty products, and home items.
Scheels Large sporting goods store with a wide selection of sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.

Some Eateries in the Apache Mall

Eateries Brief Description
A&W All-American Food Enjoy classic American fast-food favorites, like burgers, hot dogs, and root beer floats.
Applebee’s A popular casual dining restaurant offering a variety of American dishes, including burgers and steaks.
Barnes and Noble Café A cozy café within the bookstore offers coffee, tea, pastries, and light meals for book lovers.
Charleys Philly Steaks Savor authentic Philly cheesesteaks, gourmet fries, and refreshing lemonades.
HuHot Create your stir-fry at this Mongolian grill with a wide selection of meats, veggies, and sauces.
Red Lobster Indulge in a seafood feast with options like lobster, shrimp, crab, and delicious sides.
Starbucks Get your caffeine fix with various coffee and tea beverages, pastries, and sandwiches.

Reflecting on the Past, Embracing the Future

As the Apache Mall continues to thrive, we can’t help but look back fondly on the memories created within its walls over the past five decades.

From its early days as a catalyst for suburban growth to the present day, the mall has seen both triumphs and challenges. And through it all, it has remained an essential part of Rochester’s identity.

Apache Mall
Apache Mall

In recent years, the mall has adapted to the changing retail environment by embracing new businesses. These changes make the mall a more enjoyable experience for shoppers and help ensure that the Apache Mall remains a vital part of the local community.

The Apache Mall serves as a reminder that while the past holds cherished memories, the future holds new opportunities.

So next time you visit, take a moment to appreciate the history and nostalgia that have made this shopping destination what it is today and look forward to the exciting changes.

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