Embracing Change at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, VA

The Birth of Valley View Mall

Valley View Mall, an emblematic shopping center in Roanoke, Virginia, opened its doors to the public on July 17, 1985. Developed by Henry Faison, a notable figure in the real estate sector, the mall was designed to be a regional shopping hub in the Roundhill neighborhood.

Its strategic location near the interchange of Interstate 581/U.S. Route 220 and Hershberger Road, close to Roanoke Regional Airport, positioned it as a convenient destination for shoppers from various parts of the city and beyond.

The initial lineup of anchor tenants included prominent department stores such as Sears, JCPenney, and Leggett, which later became Belk.

These were complemented by Miller & Rhoads and Thalhimer’s, with the latter eventually transitioning into Macy’s, reflecting the evolving landscape of retail brands.

This diverse mix of anchor stores was a significant draw for the community, offering a wide range of products and services under one roof.

From its inception, Valley View Mall was more than just a shopping destination; it was a place where people could gather, explore, and enjoy various things to do in Roanoke, VA.

The mall’s opening was a significant event in the city’s calendar, marking the beginning of a new era in retail and entertainment for the residents of Roanoke and surrounding areas. Over the years, it has grown and adapted, reflecting its visitors’ changing tastes and shopping habits.

Expansion and Development

Following its opening, Valley View Mall quickly became a central shopping destination in Roanoke, Virginia. The mall’s expansion over the years included the addition of more stores and services, catering to a wide range of tastes and needs.

Retailers like Eddie Bauer, Old Navy, and H&M established their presence, broadening the mall’s appeal to a diverse shopper demographic.

The development around the mall also saw significant growth. Restaurants, retail stores, offices, and hotels sprouted in the surrounding area, creating a bustling commercial hub.

Notable establishments like Ashley Furniture, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Grand Home Furnishings, Walmart, and Target added to the area’s attraction, drawing visitors not just for shopping but for a complete retail experience.

The infrastructure around Valley View Mall evolved as well. The mid-1990s saw the construction of a new access road and a partial interchange with Interstate 581/U.S. Route 220, significantly easing the traffic congestion that had previously plagued the mall’s accessibility.

This improvement facilitated smoother visits for shoppers and contributed to the mall’s status as the retail heart of Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia.

Valley View Mall Roanoke
Valley View Mall” by VaDOT is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Decline and Challenges

Despite its initial success and expansion, Valley View Mall faced challenges as the retail landscape shifted.

The closure of Sears in October 2019, as part of a nationwide plan to close 26 stores, marked a significant change for the mall.

This event was part of a broader trend affecting malls nationwide, as anchor stores traditionally drew substantial foot traffic.

The mall’s foot traffic and sales started to decline as shopping habits changed, with more consumers turning to online shopping and favoring open-air shopping centers.

This shift posed a challenge for Valley View Mall, as it needed to maintain relevance in a rapidly evolving retail environment.

In response to these challenges, the mall saw changes in its tenant mix and attempted to adapt by introducing new retailers and entertainment options.

However, the loss of major tenants and the changing shopping preferences of the public continued to pose significant hurdles.

The decline was not unique to Valley View but reflected a nationwide trend affecting traditional brick-and-mortar retail spaces.

Current Anchors and Their Stories

Valley View Mall’s anchor stores have been a significant part of its identity and appeal. JCPenney, one of the original anchors, has remained a constant presence in the mall, offering a wide range of clothing, home goods, and services.

Despite the retail industry’s challenges, JCPenney has managed to maintain its place in the mall, adapting to changing consumer preferences and trends.

Belk, transitioning from the original Leggett store, has continued to serve the community as a key anchor at Valley View Mall.

Offering a variety of clothing, accessories, and home decor, Belk has catered to a broad customer base, contributing to the mall’s appeal to a wide demographic.

The store’s ability to evolve and remain relevant has been crucial in maintaining its status as a central shopping destination.

Macy’s replaced Hecht’s and has been another vital anchor for Valley View Mall. Known for its wide selection of brands and products, Macy’s has offered everything from fashion to furniture, making it a one-stop shop for many consumers.

The store’s presence in the mall underscores the importance of anchor tenants in attracting shoppers and providing a diverse shopping experience.

Specialty Stores and Entertainment

Beyond the anchor tenants, Valley View Mall boasts a variety of specialty stores and entertainment options that cater to different interests and age groups.

Clothing retailers like American Eagle Outfitters, H&M, and Buckle offer trendy fashion options for young adults and teens, while stores like Build-A-Bear Workshop and Children’s Place cater to families with younger children.

The mall is not just about shopping; it also provides entertainment and leisure activities. All-in Adventures Escape Rooms offer a unique experience for groups looking for a challenge.

At the same time, the Children’s Play Area is a popular spot for families to relax and let their children play in a safe environment.

Additionally, specialty stores such as Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle, and GNC Live Well cater to specific interests, offering beauty products, home scents, and health supplements.

These stores add to the mall’s diversity, providing shoppers with a wide range of products and services under one roof.

Dining Options and Experiences

Valley View Mall offers a variety of dining options that cater to different tastes and preferences, enhancing the shopping experience.

Auntie Anne’s Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels provide a quick and tasty snack for shoppers on the go. At the same time, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar offers a sit-down environment where visitors can enjoy a meal and watch sports.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Cheddar’s Casual Cafe serve a range of hearty meals, providing a more relaxed dining atmosphere for families and groups.

Fast-food options like Chick-fil-A and Sbarro offer convenience for those seeking a quick bite, ensuring that visitors have various choices without leaving the mall.

The Cookie Store and Dippin’ Dots add sweet treats to the mix, catering to shoppers with a sweet tooth.

For those looking for different flavors, Teppan Japan provides Asian cuisine, adding to the international dining options available within the mall.

These dining establishments, along with others like Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, and Smokey Bones, contribute to making Valley View Mall not just a place for shopping but also a destination for dining and socializing, offering something for every palate.

Recent Developments at Valley View Mall

Valley View Mall has been central to several significant developments over the past year. One of the most notable changes is the proposed master plan for Evans Spring, a large tract of vacant land across Interstate 581 from the mall.

Roanoke City leaders are pushing forward with this project, aiming to revitalize the area and increase traffic and interest in the mall.

During the holiday season, Valley View Mall remained a popular destination for last-minute shoppers and Black Friday deal hunters.

The mall saw a considerable influx of visitors looking for discounts and gifts, indicating that, despite broader retail challenges, it remains a central shopping location in Roanoke.

However, the mall has not been without its issues. A break-in and robbery at Buffalo Wild Wings on the mall premises raised security concerns.

Additionally, the unexpected shutdown of the Puppy Love pet store left many shoppers surprised and disappointed.

Despite these changes and challenges, Valley View Mall continues to adapt and serve as a key player in Roanoke’s retail landscape.

The developments at Evans Spring and the introduction of new services and stores reflect the mall’s efforts to remain relevant and appealing to a broad range of visitors.

Future Prospects and Developments

Both challenges and opportunities shape the future of Valley View Mall. The proposed Evans Spring development project, located near the mall, is expected to bring new energy and customers to the area.

This development could introduce additional retail, dining, and residential spaces, potentially benefiting the mall by increasing traffic and attracting a broader demographic.

Recent additions like New Horizons Healthcare in the outparcel near the mall signify a shift towards more diverse service offerings, moving beyond traditional retail.

This trend toward mixed-use spaces could provide a blueprint for the mall’s future, combining shopping with healthcare, entertainment, and community services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly shifted consumer habits, highlighting the importance of safety, convenience, and the rise of online shopping.

Valley View Mall’s response to these changes, including adapting to new shopping habits and enhancing the customer experience, will be crucial to its ongoing success.

The mall’s ability to innovate and evolve, embracing new retail and entertainment formats, will determine its place in Roanoke’s retail landscape in the future.

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