In honor of December 21st, aka the day we are supposed to die, I thought I’d write about something that is dead. Well, almost.
North of the mighty, muddy Missouri River in Kansas City lies a virtually dead mall. It is called Metro North Mall and although it had a once illustrious and packed life, now it’s at the point where five people in the building around opening time is seen as packed.
The mall has roughly six stores (and one anchor store) open as of December of 2012. I say “as of” because who knows when the end will come, like another past dead mall north of the river–Antioch Mall (that mall was torn down).
Not all malls in Kansas City and the surrounding suburbs are vacant. Oak Park Mall still does really well, for instance.
Metro North Mall opened in September of 1976. It was the only enclosed mall north of the river, when “north of the river” meant nothing was around. Back then Barry Rd. was almost a backwoods two-lane road. Businesses only started cropping up around the 1990s and that’s when Barry Rd. was expanded to four lane road. It had 125 stores with two anchor stores (JC Penney and Montgomery Wards, I believe). It boasted a 1980s style center court with four balloons that went up and down. They are still there.
The death of the mall happened gradually. The movie theater (the first theater I went to when I moved to Kansas City. We saw “The Cable Guy”) closed in 1997. Montgomery Wards in 2001. JC Penneys and Dillards in 2008. MC Sporting Goods in 2009. Then other stores began closing quickly. Now Metro North only has about six stores and one anchor store, Macy’s. Macy’s is the only store that does really well.
The other stores that I can name off the top of my head are Topsy’s, Bath & Body Works, GNC, Kay Jewelers, and the Wig Shoppe.
As you can see from the faux-wood paneling, and the font, the Wig Shoppe has probably been there since the mall opened. I don’t know who is buying so many wigs that this shop is still able to be open, but it must be doing something right. Maybe the owner is really rich and is able to keep the store open without any financial pitfalls.
So that’s what an almost abandoned mall looks like. The only people who really come around are elderly walkers and parents who let their kids run around the empty floor.
But as long as the Wig Shoppe is open, Metro North Mall isn’t going anywhere.