Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY: More Than Just a Shopping Center

The Intriguing History of Smith Haven Mall

Smith Haven Mall, a significant landmark in Lake Grove, New York, has a fascinating history that mirrors the growth and development of the region. The mall’s inception can be traced back to the late 1960s, marked by rapid suburbanization in Suffolk County.

The brainchild of renowned real estate developer A. Alfred Taubman, Smith Haven Mall was designed to cater to the burgeoning suburban population, offering a convenient and comprehensive shopping destination.

The mall opened on March 12, 1969, with four major department stores – Abraham & Straus, JC Penney, Macy’s, and Sears – and 80 smaller shops. This grand opening marked a significant milestone in the region’s retail landscape, setting the stage for the mall’s future growth and evolution.

Over the years, Smith Haven Mall has undergone several renovations and expansions to keep pace with changing consumer preferences and retail trends. The most significant changes occurred in 2007 when the mall introduced a lifestyle center.

This addition brought in a new wave of upscale retailers, including Apple, Coach, and J. Crew, transforming the mall into a premier shopping destination.

The Evolution of the Mall’s Architectural Design

The architectural design of Smith Haven Mall is a testament to the changing trends and styles of the past few decades. The original plan, reflective of the late 1960s, featured a simple, functional layout focusing on maximizing retail space.

The mall’s architecture was characterized by wide corridors, high ceilings, and ample natural light, creating a spacious and inviting shopping environment.

However, the mall’s design has evolved significantly, reflecting its patrons’ changing tastes and preferences. The most notable change came in 2007 with the addition of the lifestyle center.

This new section introduced an open-air concept with pedestrian-friendly walkways and a mix of retail, dining, and entertainment options. The lifestyle center’s design, characterized by modern aesthetics and a focus on creating a vibrant, community-oriented space, significantly departed from the mall’s original design.

The Economic Impact of Smith Haven Mall

Smith Haven Mall has been a significant economic driver in Lake Grove and the surrounding areas. Since its inception, the mall has created thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. These range from retail positions within the mall’s many stores to jobs in ancillary industries such as logistics, security, and maintenance.

Smith Haven Mall
Smith Haven Mall” by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moreover, Smith Haven Mall has contributed significantly to the local tax revenue. The mall’s bustling retail activity generates substantial sales tax revenue, which supports various local services and infrastructure projects.

Additionally, the mall’s presence has spurred the growth of surrounding businesses and developments, creating a vibrant commercial hub that further boosts the local economy.

The Mall’s Role in the Community

Beyond its economic impact, Smith Haven Mall has also played a crucial role in the local community. The mall has been a venue for numerous community events, from charity fundraisers to holiday celebrations.

Smith Haven Mall
Smith Haven Mall” by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These events provide entertainment and engagement opportunities for the residents and foster a sense of community and belonging.

Smith Haven Mall has also partnered with local organizations to support various causes. For instance, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mall hosted a blood donation drive in April 2021.

This event, organized in partnership with the New York Blood Center, demonstrated the mall’s commitment to supporting the community during a crisis.

Smith Haven Mall
Smith Haven Mall” by ronaldhennessy is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Recent Developments and Future Plans

The recent years have brought new challenges and opportunities for Smith Haven Mall. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the mall, with temporary closures and reduced foot traffic.

However, the mall has shown resilience and adaptability, implementing safety measures and hosting community support events.

The mall continues to adapt and evolve to meet its patrons’ changing needs and preferences. As consumer behavior shifts towards online shopping, the mall is exploring new ways to attract visitors, from hosting unique events to introducing new retail concepts.

Smith Haven Mall
Smith Haven Mall” by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2023, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY, welcomed a significant addition to its diverse mix of establishments. The former Sears location was transformed into a state-of-the-art Stony Brook Medicine Advanced Specialty Care facility.

This innovative healthcare center offers various services, including adult and family primary care, preventive medicine, pediatrics, diabetes education, genetic counseling, neurology, neuropsychology, and pain management. The introduction of this facility marks a new chapter in the mall’s history, demonstrating its adaptability and commitment to serving the evolving needs of the local community.

The Mall’s Diverse Retail Mix

Smith Haven Mall boasts diverse retailers, offering something for everyone. The mall has various stores, from fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods. Anchor stores like Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, H&M, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and Barnes & Noble draw in shoppers, while smaller specialty stores cater to niche interests.

Over the years, the retail mix at the mall has evolved, reflecting changing consumer trends and preferences. The addition of the lifestyle center in 2007 brought in a new wave of upscale retailers, while recent years have seen more experiential and service-oriented businesses.

Conclusion

Smith Haven Mall is more than just a shopping center; it is a historical and cultural landmark in Lake Grove, New York. Its rich history, architectural evolution, economic impact, community role, and diverse retail mix make it a significant part of the local landscape.

As the mall continues to adapt and evolve, it remains a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of the Lake Grove community.

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