Saturday, January 02, 2010

Mall rat

Is it possible to suffer from trauma over a story closing in a shopping mall?

Maybe. The Borders Express in Eastern Hills Mall and in Boulevard Mall in suburban Buffalo are in the process of closing. The little stores in malls can't really compete with the superstores, like Barnes and Noble down the street in both cases.

In the case of the Eastern Hills store, the closing of the bookstore represents something of the end of an era for me. For as long as I've lived in Buffalo, I've been going to that bookstore. It used to be called Waldenbooks, but switched to BordersExpress fairly recently. I moved to Clarence in 1970, just as the mall was opening down the street. That's 40 years of shopping -- mostly for discount books, but sometimes for the full-price models. I think I bought most of the Bill James' Baseball Abstracts there.

All of this got me to thinking that there aren't many stores in a mall that can have any sort of pull of loyalty toward me, because I visit so few of them.

Let's take a look at the store directory for Boulevard Mall in Amherst:

4 Seasons Gifts by Flagtastic, 5-7-9, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Aeropostale, American Greetings, Ann Taylor Loft, Art Design, Hair and Nails, AT&T Wireless, Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels, Avon, Banana Republic, Bath and Body Works, Berrymoore Convenience, Bill Gray's, Blue Wireless, Bonefish Grill, Borders Express, Boulevard Bracelets, Boulevard Mall Bootery, Brookstone, Cajun Quarter, Carousel, Champs Sports, Charley's Grilled Subs, Charlotte Russe, Children's Place, China Max, Christopher and Banks, Claire's Accessories, Croc's Kiosk, Dakota Watch Co., Express, Express Men, Foot Locker, FootAction USA, Forever Candles, FYE, Game Stop, Gap, Gap Kids, Glamour Secrets, GNC Live Well, Gymboree, Hat World, Hollister Co, Hot Topic, House of Nacre, JC Penney, Johnny Rockets, Journeys, Justic, Kay Jewelers, Kids Foot Locker, Laux Sporting Goods, Littman Jewelers, M&T Bank, Macy's, Macy's Men's Store, MasterCuts, Max Rave, Men's Wearhouse, Michael's Arts and Crafts, Mrs. Field's Cookies, Naturalizer Shoes, New Age Creations, New York & Company, Northtown Auto, Pacific Sunwear, Payless ShoeSource, Perfume Hut, Pete's Greek Isles Express, Piercing Pagoda, Plumb Gold, Proactive Solutions, Pure Integrity Candles, Radio Shack, Sbarro, Sears, Shoe Dept., Simply Certificates, Sleep Number Store, Spencer Gifts, Sprint, Subway, Sunglass Hut, T Mobile, TGI Friday's, Taco Bell, Things Remembered, TT New York, Tuxedo Junction, Urban Behavior, Urban Kicks N Gear, Verizon FiOS, Verizon Wireless, Victoria's Secret, Yankee Candle, Yogen Fruz.

I know, it's a long list. But how many of them have I ever visited? It's much shorter.

The anchor stores, Macy's/Sears/Penney's, of course. The odd card was bought at American Greetings. Auntie Anne's, although their prices ahve gotten high. Bath and Body Works for the odd gift. Brookstone, to browse. Chili's, for lunch. Subway, for the odd meal. Verizon Wireless, to cancel my mother's phone. Tuxedo Junction, to be surprised how much it costs to rent a tux (easier just to buy one, which I did). FYE for the odd CD. Sbarro for pizza. Laux Sporting Goods for a Red Sox championship shirt. M&T Bank's ATM. I have bought a Simply Certificate once or twice. I've eaten in TGI Friday's. I had a gift certificate at Foot Locker once.

It's not a very long list. I'd bet you'd compile something of similar length, unless you buy women's shoes at a lot of different places.

No wonder a store closing is so tramatic -- it's one less place to visit when you feel the need to walk around the mall and window-shop.

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