New Bern Mall: Where Every Store Tells a Story in New Bern, NC

The Historical Roots of New Bern Mall

In New Bern, North Carolina, the New Bern Mall has stood as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of local commerce. Opening its doors in 1979, Cadillac Fairview initially developed the mall known as Twin Rivers Mall. The name change to New Bern Mall came later, marking a new era for this shopping center.

The mall’s anchor stores included Kmart, a retail giant that unfortunately closed its doors in 2002. The space once occupied by Kmart has since been demolished, allowing new opportunities. This change was one of many that the mall would undergo in its more than four decades of operation.

Over the years, the mall has seen various stores come and go, each leaving its unique imprint on the local shopping scene. The mall’s ability to adapt and evolve has helped it survive in an age where many shopping centers face decline or even closure.

Today, the New Bern Mall continues to be a staple in the community, offering a range of shopping options that cater to diverse tastes and needs. Its rich history makes it more than just a shopping destination; it’s a part of New Bern’s cultural fabric.

The Architectural Layout and Floor Plan

Spanning a total retail floor area of 361,000 square feet, the New Bern Mall is a single-story structure that has efficiently maximized its space. The layout facilitates easy navigation, allowing shoppers to move from one end of the mall to the other without hassle.

The mall’s architecture has seen subtle changes over the years, but the essence of its original design remains. Wide corridors, ample lighting, and strategically placed seating create a comfortable shopping experience.

While the mall doesn’t boast multiple levels, it makes up for it with a well-thought-out floor plan that accommodates a variety of stores and services. From department stores to specialty shops, the layout ensures something for everyone.

New Bern Mall
New Bern Mall” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The mall’s design also considers the community’s needs, offering accessibility features and ample parking to ensure a hassle-free visit. These thoughtful touches make the New Bern Mall a welcoming space for all.

The Anchor Tenants: Then and Now

Anchor tenants are the backbone of any shopping mall, drawing in crowds and setting the tone for the shopping experience. At New Bern Mall, the anchors are Belk and T.J. Maxx. These stores offer a mix of fashion, home goods, and electronics, providing a well-rounded shopping experience.

In the past, the mall also housed a JCPenney store, which announced its closure in 2020, and Sears Hometown, which closed in 2022. This significant trend affected many malls nationwide, as anchor stores have struggled to adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

The mall has four anchor tenant spaces, but only two are occupied. These empty spaces offer challenges and opportunities for the mall’s future, as they could be repurposed for new retail concepts or community events.

Despite the changes in its anchor tenants, the mall has managed to maintain a certain flow of visitors. The remaining anchors continue attracting a loyal customer base, ensuring the mall stays in business.

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A Diverse Array of Tenants

The New Bern Mall is not just about its anchor stores; it’s also home to a diverse array of smaller tenants that add flavor to the shopping experience. For those interested in apparel, stores like Maurices and Rue 21 offer trendy options.

AT&T and Verizon have outparcel locations in electronics and entertainment, providing services beyond just the core mall structure. These stores offer the latest tech gadgets and services, making them a go-to spot for tech enthusiasts.

Health and beauty are also represented, with stores like Aspen Dental and Bath & Body Works offering various products and services. These stores add another layer to the mall’s offerings, from dental check-ups to scented candles.

Jewelry stores like Banter, Kay Jewelers, and Zales provide the perfect spots for those looking to make a unique purchase. Whether it’s an engagement ring or a simple piece of jewelry, these stores offer something for every milestone.

Dining and Entertainment Options

Things to do in New Bern, North Carolina, don’t stop at shopping; the New Bern Mall offers an adequate range of dining options. While it may not have a movie theater or arcade, the presence of outparcel establishments like Chick-fil-A and Buffalo Wild Wings offer places to relax and catch up with friends.

Annabelle’s serves delicious meals, while Big Apple Pizza provides quick bites for those on the go—an outparcel Starbucks is conveniently located near the mall for those looking for a caffeine fix.

Jade Express provides an option for those craving Asian cuisine, rounding out the mall’s food offerings. With such a diverse range of dining options, the mall ensures visitors can spend an entire day shopping, eating, and relaxing without leaving the premises.

The mall also hosts seasonal events and promotions, adding an extra layer of entertainment for visitors. From holiday sales to special events, there’s always something happening at the New Bern Mall.

The Mall’s Role in the Community

Beyond being a shopping destination, the New Bern Mall is a community hub. It houses a police substation, providing visitors with an added layer of security and peace of mind. This also makes the mall safer, fostering a sense of community well-being.

The mall operates from 10 am to 9 pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 1 pm to 6 pm on Sundays. These hours make it a convenient spot for after-work shopping or weekend outings with the family.

Community events, such as charity drives and local business expos, are often hosted at the mall. These events not only provide entertainment but also strengthen community bonds.

The mall’s role in the community extends beyond commerce. It’s a gathering place where people shop, dine, and connect. It’s not just a mall but part of New Bern’s community identity.

Crafty Bear Market in New Bern Mall

When you thought New Bern Mall couldn’t get any more interesting, Crafty Bear Market has reopened its doors on September 30, 2023. This vendor market specializes in local arts and crafts, adding a unique flair to the mall’s diverse tenants. The market is a treasure trove for those seeking one-of-a-kind items.

Crafty Bear Market isn’t just another store; it’s a community within a community. With a Facebook following of over 1,700 people and 2,100 followers, it’s evident that this market has a dedicated fan base. The market is a platform for local artisans to showcase their talents, from intricate handcrafted jewelry to bespoke home decor. It’s a place where creativity thrives, and each vendor brings something unique.

The market operates in sync with the mall’s hours, opening from 10 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 1 pm to 6 pm on Sundays. This makes it convenient for shoppers to explore the market after shopping at the mall’s other stores.

And let’s not forget Crafty Bear Market has a store rating of 90%, with a 4.5 out of 5 score based on customer reviews. This is a place that knows how to keep its customers happy. So, the next time you’re pondering things to do in New Bern, North Carolina, consider visiting Crafty Bear Market. It’s not just a market; it’s an experience.

New Bern Mall
New Bern Mall” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


The New Bern Mall has been a cornerstone of the New Bern community since 1979. Its history is rich with changes, adaptations, and evolutions that reflect broader retail and community engagement trends.

The mall’s diverse tenants, from anchor stores to specialty shops, make it a one-stop destination for various needs. Its role as a community hub adds another layer to its significance, making it more than just a place to shop.

As it stands today, the New Bern Mall is a testament to the resilience of local commerce. While it faces challenges, its past and present indicate a capacity for adaptation and growth.

Ultimately, the New Bern Mall is not just a collection of stores; it’s a living, breathing part of the New Bern community, where memories are made and experiences are shared.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Carey Willis
    Carey Willis

    Kmart was added in the mid 80s as an additional anchor store. It was not an original anchor store of Twin Rivers Mall.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thanks for sharing this piece of past. I appreciate your clarification about Kmart’s addition as an anchor store at the mall. These kinds of details add depth to our understanding of the mall’s history.Thanks for sharing this piece of past. I appreciate your clarification about Kmart’s addition as an anchor store at the mall. These kinds of details add depth to our understanding of the mall’s history.

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