Dated mall continues to deteriorate.
ROSS Dress For Less and Rack Room Shoes, both longtime tenants of North DeKalb Mall, will close for good tomorrow, Sunday July 3rd.
ROSS, which occupies a 30,000 square foot space, is "moving" to Suburban Plaza, where they will reopen July 16th in a roughly 25,000 square foot space. Many area residents imagined the Suburban store might replace the North DeKalb store, as less than two miles separates them, but that decision was not made public until recently. Interestingly, the current store is not offering any discounts to liquidate in-stock merchandise as they seemingly plan to just transport it to Suburban Plaza. ROSS opened at North DeKalb in the early 2000s in a former Old Navy store.
Rack Room Shoes, which has been a tenant of North DeKalb Mall for as long as I can remember (at least 25 years I'd guess), is directing customers to their "nearby" location in Stone Mountain Square. Stone Mountain Square is a large shopping center just off Highway 78 near Rockbridge Road, just over ten miles east of the North DeKalb store. Rack Room's approximately 5,400 square foot location at North DeKalb looks out on ROSS and has been a mainstay in the mall, even as the mall went through many changes in direction. A Rack Room store associate with whom I spoke indicated that the retailer would "consider returning to North DeKalb if and when previously promised changes and upgrades are completed at the mall." Unlike ROSS, most in-stock merchandise is at least 50% off the lowest marked price at Rack Room Shoes.
Despite the closures, some tenants at North DeKalb seemed to be doing robust business when I visited on Friday afternoon. Marshalls, which has entrances and registers at both its front and back doors, had long lines at both and the store was full of customers. Nearby, AMC Theatres seemed busy too, with moviegoers waiting in line at the box office and many more for concessions. In the food court, the only remaining national tenant is Wendy's, where many were getting food.
Other national names like Bath & Body Works and Foot Locker (both of which sport rather recent store formats) remain open, but seemed to have little foot traffic.
Burlington Coat Factory, the mall's last remaining anchor, remains open with reportedly no intention of going anywhere. Dollar Tree, a relatively recent addition to the mall but without an interior mall entrance seems to do fine as well, likely due to its location near Marshalls and AMC.
Countless national names have left the mall over the years including Applebee's, Buffalo's Cafe, Freshens, Dippin' Dots GAP, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Wolf Camera, KB Toys, The Children's Place, Stein-Mart, Hallmark and most recently Macy's (in the former Rich's.)
Others like Woolworth's, Radio Shack, B.Dalton, Little Bucks, Camelot Music (later FYE) Uptons, Mervyn's, Lechmere and Phar-Mor closed due to overall corporate issues not directly related to their presence in North DeKalb.
At least one local business, The Barber Shop Atlanta, located near AMC and Marshalls appears to be doing well. Challenges, previously a popular arcade that had been closed for a number of years, has been reborn as a trading card and pop culture enthusiasts' emporium.
As for the future of North DeKalb, there is conflicting information about the status of the would-be Costco. The popular wholesale club has been linked to the mall for nearly a decade with the recent closure of longtime anchor Macy's said to have been the match that would reignite their interest. I contacted Costco's corporate offices in Washington and was told that while there is no deal in place, it it is a store the company is "actively looking at." There was talk from well placed real estate sources that the deal to bring Costco to the mall was "dead," but that thankfully seems to be untrue.
North DeKalb Mall, which originally opened in 1965, has definitely had its share of ups and downs. With luck, the Costco will happen and the mall, or lifestyle center as its slated to become, will once again be a magnet for shoppers and retailers alike.What would you like to see happen at North DeKalb Mall? What is your favorite memory at North DeKalb Mall? Do you think Costco will end up coming to North DeKalb Mall?
Please share your thoughts below.