CHERRYLAND MALL: TRAVERSE CITY, MI
Tim Ulrich's Commentary
Posted May 3, 2011 (user submitted June 26, 2007)
Cherryland Mall opened in Traverse City, Michigan in 1978 as the first enclosed shopping mall in northern Michigan.
It featured the following anchors: K-Mart, Sears, Pranges, and Kroger (external entrance only).
In the early 1980's the Sears expanded and underwent several remodels.
Sometime in the late 1980's the Pranges became a Younkers and the KMart was remodeled.
There were only 30 or 40 stores in the mall at its peak in the 1980's and early 1990's.
In 1992 a larger mall (100+ stores, JC Penney, Hudsons (now Macy's), Target, TJ Maxx, Multi-Screen Cinema, and a large food court with a carousel) opened on the same road a few miles away and this quickly syphoned traffic away. The mall continued to get traffic to Sears, but most people avoided the mall entirely because many of the stores had set up a second location in the newer mall (Grand Traverse Mall) which was in a more convenient location for shoppers from neighboring towns.
Eventually many of the national chains began closing their Cherryland locations (i.e. Footlocker) and this led to lower foot traffic in the mall itself. In 1998, the mall underwent a transformation of its signage / advertising but this did not improve its fortunes.
In 2000 all mall tenants were notified that it was being converted to a "power center" format. Sears expanded its storefront (at the time one of the smaller Sears stores) by taking over most of the space from the mall. The remainder of the mall was converted into an open-air format. Oddly enough, the Younkers did not do any remodeling and still (as of 2000 timeframe) appeared to be from the late 1970's/early 1980's. The mall reopened as "Cherryland Center" and still features the Sears, KMart, and Younkers with a local grocery store (Tom's Food Market) as the other main tenant. The rear of the mall still contains much of the original concrete block look whereas the front has been converted from a stone veneer, wood, and concrete block look to a painted stucco or concrete type look. The interior of the mall originally had large skylights, a fountain, and several wishing wells as well as an area of a stage but none of that remains.
I suspect that you might still be able to see portions of the original mall hidden behind the new facade from an aerial vantage point, but I have not flown over the mall in 8 years.
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