Summit Mall in Akron, OH: Where Every Visit Tells a New Story

The Inception and Evolution of Summit Mall

Introduction to Summit Mall

Summit Mall, nestled near the bustling city of Akron, Ohio, is a testament to the region’s retail evolution.

Since its grand opening on October 28, 1965, this shopping center has become an integral part of the Akron suburb.

Its significance has only grown with the closure of nearby shopping centers like Chapel Hill Mall and Rolling Acres Mall, positioning Summit Mall as the sole retail haven in Summit County.

This mall, spanning a generous 850,000 square feet, has been a cornerstone for shopping and things to do in Akron, Ohio.

Historical Development

The vision of Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. and the DeBartolo Corporation brought Summit Mall to life. Their foresight in the early 1960s culminated in a shopping destination that has weathered decades of change.

The mall’s initial years were marked by a vibrant mix of anchor stores, including the Cleveland-based Halle Brothers Co. and Akron’s own O’Neil’s and Polsky’s.

These stores were not just retail spaces but landmarks in their own right, drawing shoppers from across the region.

The mall’s journey through time saw various transitions, with stores like Higbee’s taking over Halle’s in 1982 and Dillard’s eventually stepping in by late 1992.

These changes reflect the dynamic nature of retail trends and consumer preferences.

Changes Over Time

Over the years, the original anchor stores have given way to modern retail giants.

Macy’s and two Dillard’s locations now anchor this shopping hub, offering diverse products to cater to shoppers’ evolving demands.

The mall’s adaptability is evident in its response to retail trends, with renovations and expansions ensuring a fresh and contemporary shopping experience.

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The shift from traditional department stores to a mix of high-end retailers and dining options illustrates the mall’s commitment to staying relevant and appealing in a rapidly changing retail landscape.

In conclusion, Summit Mall’s journey from its inception in 1965 to its current status in 2024 is a story of adaptation and resilience.

It has survived and thrived amidst the challenges of the retail sector, continuing to serve as a central shopping destination in Akron, Ohio.

Architectural and Design Aspects of Summit Mall

Design and Layout

The architectural design of Summit Mall seamlessly combines practicality with visual attractiveness.

The mall’s one-story layout spans 850,000 square feet, offering shoppers a spacious and welcoming environment.

Its design facilitates easy navigation through various stores and services, ensuring a comfortable shopping experience.

The thoughtful layout, with wide corridors and strategically placed seating areas, reflects a design philosophy centered on customer convenience and satisfaction.

Anchor Tenants and Store Configuration

Major department stores anchor the mall’s retail composition, Macy’s and Dillard’s, each occupying significant space and offering a diverse range of products.

These anchor tenants are complemented by over 100 other stores and services, creating a comprehensive shopping environment.

The store configuration is meticulously planned to ensure a balanced mix of high-end retailers, mid-range stores, and essential services catering to a wide demographic.

This strategic mix enhances the shopping experience and drives foot traffic, benefiting all retailers within the mall.

Renovations and Modernization

To keep pace with the evolving retail landscape, Summit Mall has undergone several renovations and modernization efforts.

These updates are crucial in maintaining the mall’s relevance and appeal in an increasingly competitive market.

Renovations have focused on aesthetic upgrades and functional improvements, such as enhanced lighting and updated décor, and introducing more contemporary storefronts.

These efforts ensure that Summit Mall remains a modern, inviting space for new and returning customers.

Summit Mall Door
Summit Mall” by Tiendq is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Notable Stores and Their Stories Within Summit Mall

Each store in Summit Mall has its unique tale, contributing to the mall’s rich mosaic of shopping experiences.

A Spectrum of Fashion and Lifestyle Brands

The mall boasts a range of fashion and lifestyle stores with distinct flair. A beacon of luxury, Coach offers an exquisite selection of leather goods, symbolizing elegance and craftsmanship.

Conversely, American Eagle Outfitters caters to the youthful spirit with its trendy and casual apparel, resonating with a younger demographic.

ATHLETA presents a blend of style and comfort for those seeking athletic and leisurewear, promoting an active lifestyle.

Tech and Entertainment

Apple, synonymous with innovation, draws tech enthusiasts to its sleek store. Here, the latest gadgets and personalized services merge, creating an engaging tech haven.

Nearby, fye – For Your Entertainment offers a paradise for music and pop culture fans, with its vast collection of CDs, vinyl, and merchandise.

Home and Decor

Arhaus stands out with its commitment to handcrafted furniture and sustainable practices, offering home decor solutions that are both stylish and environmentally conscious.

Similarly, Home Spa provides a sanctuary for home relaxation products, emphasizing wellness and comfort in home settings.

Specialty Stores and Unique Offerings

The mall also features specialty stores like Lululemon, known for its high-quality athletic wear and popular women’s leggings.

For a unique shopping experience, LoveSac offers an innovative take on furniture with its versatile, modular designs that redefine comfort and style in modern living spaces.

Jewelry and Accessories

Zales Jewelers sparkles with its fine jewelry offerings, from timeless diamonds to trendy pieces, catering to various tastes and occasions.

Similarly, Pandora charms its customers with customizable jewelry, providing a personal touch to every purchase.

Dining Options at Summit Mall

Variety of Dining Choices

Summit Mall offers various dining options catering to multiple tastes and preferences. The mall’s food court and standalone restaurants provide a diverse culinary experience.

From quick bites to sit-down meals, the mall’s dining establishments include Asian Chao, offering Asian-inspired cuisine; Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, known for their hand-rolled pretzels; and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, serving a wide range of American fare.

Other notable mentions include Duck Donuts, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Sbarro, Starbucks Coffee, The Rail, and TJ Sushi.

Culinary Highlights

Each dining establishment at Summit Mall has its unique appeal. Asian Chao brings the flavors of Asia to Fairlawn with its array of stir-fried dishes and sushi options. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, a favorite among shoppers, offers a variety of pretzels, from sweet to savory.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is known for its extensive menu, craft beers, and famous Pizookie dessert.

Dewey’s Pizza and Duck Donuts are popular for their fresh, made-to-order pizzas and customizable donuts.

First Watch Daytime Cafe provides a cozy spot for breakfast and brunch enthusiasts, while P.F. Chang’s China Bistro offers a more upscale dining experience with its modern Asian cuisine.

Sbarro serves classic Italian dishes, and Starbucks Coffee is the go-to place for coffee lovers. The Rail specializes in gourmet burgers, and TJ Sushi offers a selection of Japanese dishes.

Integration of Dining with Shopping

Integrating these dining options within Summit Mall enhances the overall shopping experience. Shoppers can take a break and enjoy a meal or a snack without leaving the mall, making their visit more convenient and enjoyable.

The variety of dining choices means that there’s something for everyone, whether they’re looking for a quick coffee, a casual lunch, or a more formal dining experience.

This integration of dining and shopping makes Summit Mall not just a place to shop but a complete day-out destination.

Summit Mall
Summit Mall” by Tiendq is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Summit Mall in 2023: A Year of Revival and New Beginnings

In 2023, Summit Mall in Fairlawn, Ohio, experienced a significant revival, marking a notable shift in its trajectory.

This year was characterized by adding new tenants and a rebound to pre-pandemic traffic and sales levels, signaling a positive turnaround for the mall.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Change

Summit Mall’s success in 2023 can be attributed to its effective strategies in overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic and the evolving retail landscape.

By adapting to changing consumer behaviors and preferences, the mall managed to stay relevant and appealing.

This adaptability was key in attracting new tenants and retaining existing ones, ensuring a steady flow of visitors and revenue.

Looking Ahead: Plans for 2024

In 2024, Summit Mall in Fairlawn, Ohio, is experiencing a significant resurgence. The mall welcomes new tenants like JD Sports, Lululemon, Kids Empire, and Rondinelli Tuxedo, contributing to a vibrant retail environment and bringing the mall to near capacity.

Adapting to the evolving retail landscape, Summit Mall is competing successfully with online shopping and enhancing the customer experience with new attractions like the 10,600-square-foot Kids Empire.

Additionally, the mall fosters community engagement through events such as pet photos with Santa and wine-tasting sessions.

Embracing its role as an incubator, Summit Mall supports local businesses with flexible leasing options, maintaining a dynamic mix of long-standing and new retailers and solidifying its position as a thriving community hub.

Summit Mall Fairlawn
Summit Mall Fairlawn” by DangApricot is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


Reflecting on Summit Mall’s Journey

Summit Mall’s journey from its inception in 1965 to its current status in 2024 is a remarkable story of growth, adaptation, and resilience.

The mall has successfully navigated the changing tides of the retail industry, evolving to meet the needs of its customers and the community.

Emphasizing the Mall’s Community Role

Beyond just a shopping destination, Summit Mall has established itself as a vital community hub in Fairlawn, Ohio.

The mall has created an inclusive and welcoming environment for all visitors through its diverse range of stores, dining options, and community events.

Looking to the Future

As Summit Mall looks to the future, it stands ready to embrace new challenges and opportunities. With ongoing efforts to adapt and evolve, the mall will continue its legacy as a premier shopping and community destination for years.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Larry

    The city the mall is located in was never mentioned once,Fairlawn Ohio. Fairlawn is full of retail opportunity where as Akron doesn’t even have a major chain store other than dollar stores. There are no malls and no shopping areas in Akron. If your gonna report on a great, successful mall, I suggest you do enough research as to get the city where its located correct .

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for your comment. It’s vital to recognize the distinct retail environments of Fairlawn and Akron, especially when discussing a mall like Summit.

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