RUTLAND MALL: RUTLAND, VT
Matthew Currie's Commentary & Corrections:
Posted May 11, 2005 (user submitted)
The two anchor stores were Montgomery Ward and a Zayre which later became Ames when Ames bought out Zayre. Ames didn't move, but found itself with two stores in town, and soon closed that one. It remains one of those mysteries of corporate mentality that the nearly bankrupt Ames would think of buying the fully bankrupt Zayre, which itself had gone bankrupt in part after having bought the bankrupt Star chain. Since their store space was leased, and as soon as they bought Zayre they blew out the merchandise at a loss, remodeled the store at great expense and restocked, I can't help wondering what, in fact, they bought.
Mintzer's lumber did not just go out of business. They moved from their midtown location to the site of a Grossman's which was vacated when that chain went out of business. For some time, they operated from both locations, keeping their contractor's services in midtown, but they were subsequently bought out by a regional chain, La Valley, which I think centers in New Hampshire. La Valley closed the midtown location and moved the entire operation to the former Grossman's location. They're quite definitely still in business, and appear now to be expanding. This is still the kind of yard the builders and contractors use.
A Big Lots has now opened next to the Home Depot. The Panda Pavilion has held on, and seems to be doing all right. Still the best lunch bargain in town.
JeanneE Hand-Boniakowski's Commentary:
Posted October 18, 2003 (user submitted)
After a lackluster fight - with the specter of hardware stores and old family lumberyards closing - a huge Home Depot was built at the site of the old Rutland Mall. It sits at the back of the lot, where you recall the Ames being, and the entire wing of the old mall (that ended in movie theatre and Montgomery "Monkey" Wards) is a fading memory, paved and lined for cars bringing hopeful do-it-yourselfers to the big box. I was hoping that at least the Home Depot would bring some more business to the Chinese restaurant, Panda Pavilion, but any increase is attenuated by the existence of a new Applebee's ("your neighborhood grill" just like hundreds of other Applebees' in hundreds of other pseudo neighborhoods at the strip-sprawl edges of the urby/suburby nowherelands on commuter highways across this great homogenized nation.) Sure enough, Mintzer Brothers, one of two multigeneration lumberyards in town, closed (its abandoned buildings are rotting among weeds on Strongs Avenue, across from the famous Gil's deli, which still flourishes), and by now the plumbing supply house in town may have given up, too. Rotella's, the remaining family biz lumberyard, has an increasing focus on its design services (custom kitchen and bathrooms).
Pete Blackbird's Commentary:
This mall is not to be confused with the Diamond Run Mall, which is commonly referred to as the Rutland Mall, now that everyone has forgotten about the TRUE Rutland Mall. The original Rutland Mall is located heading out of town towards the ski resorts, and if you blink at the wrong time, you're sure to miss it. It's an enclosed shopping center, with a plaza type feel to it. It's facade is only on the one side of the mall, the back side is simple cinderblock construction.
The Rutland Mall appears to have been built in the 1970's, and was anchored by Ames and what I think was once a K-Mart (I can't remember if it was K-Mart or Montgomery Wards, the last I saw it alive was during a skiing trip in 1993) The enclosed part of the mall seemed more like a way to connect the 2 anchors to the 2 screen movie theater. The inside of the mall was poorly lit, and narrow, and the smaller stores were mostly vacant way back then. Osco Drug operated in a space that was inaccesible from the mall, and closed in 1999 or 2000. The Ames moved to a plaza on the other side of town, and I think the movie theater gave up in 1996 or 1997. It's a smaller mall, so when it died it didn't make waves, which makes it tough to find information on it now. If you're in the Rutland area, swing by during the summer months, as the parkinglot is no longer plowed or lit anymore, which makes it treacharous during the winter.
The mall is a prime example of what retail in the 1970's looked like. Brown shingle and cinder block facades, and large light fixtures that hang out of the ceiling by about 30 inches are the trademark designs of the Rutland Mall. The locals have added a little graffiti and broken windows to the mix, for some extra flavor. At night, you might mistake your surroundings to be somewhere in the Bronx, rather than Rutland Vermont. An outparcel has opened up shop on the premesis, so polking around on the property dosen't look as suspicious as it once did. It's worth the effort in my opinion.
Bing Bird's Eye View:
Rutland mall from a satellite in space