SARATOGA MALL: WILTON, NY
SARATOGA MALL MONTGOMERY WARDS, FAYS/ECKERD,
SERVICE MERCHANDISE JUST MEMORY NOW NEW TO TARGET,
HOME DEPOT, STAPLES, PETSMART, AC MOORE.
As seen ~1997
Added January 17, 2019 (user submitted January 27, 2013)
The "Saratoga Mall" was originally called "The Pyramid Mall" it originally opened in 1974. It was never a large mall.
It was a time when malls didn't have to me "mega" and super-sized. Before 1974 the only shopping in Saratoga was the downtown (which was still mostly boarded up and run-down back then, like many downtowns across the country) or the small plaza on the western edge of the city which had a Jamesway (a discount chain) and a P&C Supermarket. Otherwise you had to drive to Schenectady, Glens Falls, or down to Albany / Colonie area.
In the 1970's the anchor stores were Barkers (a discount chain) and Montgomery Wards.
The Mall had some very high-end stores for it's time when it opened. "The Carl Company" (or Carl's) was a local nice chain out of Schenectady. Who could forget "Denby's"? It was another local department store out of Troy, New York which specialized mostly in womens fashion. "Jonathan Reid" which was a mens store noted for it's service. "Argersingers" was a department store out of the Gloversville / Johnstown area which was famous for it's service.
"Fox and Murphy" was a local sports chain, and upstate chain "Stewarts Shops" used to have a nice sit-down ice cream parlour shop in the mall.
The mall went into some very hard times in the early 1980's. "Barkers" closed, and was replaced by "Kings" and then they closed. Stewarts moved out of the mall, and got out of the "sit down" ice cream parlour business. The sports store closed, and Denby's went out of business. I personally remember back in 1982, the whole north end of the mall was just about empty. The smaller stores left, even with a McDonalds in the mall (which opened up in late 1970-something), the mall was just about dead.
By the mid 1980's the mall well on it's way back to health. The mall expanded from three movie theaters, to six. Chain "Service Merchandise" moved in, as did other shops and services. "Record Town" a capital-region chain music store held the market in Saratoga because no other record / tape stores were around (downtown didn't have "Strawberry's" yet). Other stores expanded, or moved to other areas in the mall. Newer hip stores like "Habitat" moved in as well as did Jamesway by the end of the decade.
Decline and fall
When the Pyramid Mall renovated and updated it furnishings and style somewhere around 1989 /1990 .....it was a little too late. The new Wilton Mall (right behind it) was the area's new darling (like Rotterdam Junction, the year before).
The the ugly dated orange and brown mid-1970's decor was replaced, but the blue and white motif....er, just looked like a paint job with some ugly new furniture, and new awnings on the outside.
The fountains and lowered seating areas in the two "plaza" areas of the mall were filled in, and the mall lost any character it had....
The last time I was in the mall probably was sometime around the end of 1992, and it was getting really grim in there. Just dead. Just empty....there were times back in the 1980's when I used to have so much fun there...
Steve Hammonds's Commentary:
Posted January 14, 2004 (user submitted)
Back when I was young this was the only mall we had in Saratoga Springs. It was called the Pyramid Mall. If we wanted to really shop, we either had to go up north to Aviation Mall or down to Crossgates, or even Clifton Country Mall.
It was a relatively small mall which was shaped almost like a straight line. It originally housed a Jamesway on the north end, a Montgomery Ward on the south end, and a Service Merchandise and Carl Company in the middle. The smaller retail stores included a Carl Drug(later Fay's and then Eckard), a Papa Gino's pizzeria, a movie rental store!!, a very middle ages style Jonathan Reid, Jo Ann's Nut House, Payless Shoes, Record Town, Casual Corner, K-Bee Toys, Dime Savings Bank, Radio shack, and a few more.
The mall did very well up until Fall of 1990 when the new, much larger and more modern mall called the Wilton Mall moved right next door. I heard rumors of connecting the two malls, but it never went into action. I always thought that that would have been a very good idea. When the new mall opened in 1990, the Pyramid Mall soon changed names to the Saratoga Mall, and underwent a very minor modernization. They got rid of the huge underground dome with seats, that sat in front of Carl Company.
As soon as the Wilton Mall went into action, the old Saratoga/Pyramid Mall soon lost a lot of business due to stores moving over to the new mall. In early 1992, the Carl Company closed its doors, and remained vacant for about 4 years until the World Gym and JoAnn's Fabric shared the space.
Next, the whole Jamesway chain died in 1995, which left the northern end of the mall without an anchor. The space was occupied by a flea market, which was open on weekends. Next in 1996, Montgomary Ward's closed leaving the southern end with no anchor as well. There was no replacement. Last of all was the Service Merchandise which closed in 1998. The loss of these stores left the mall anchorless, and gradually all of the remaining smaller stores closed as well.
In 1999, they demolished the entire mall, and started building a large plaza, which consisted of Home Depot, a Target, a Barnes and Nobles, a Petsmart, an A.C. Moore, a Staples, and the Eckerd that was in the mall moved to a brand new store at the very front of the plaza.
I guess when the new Wilton Mall opened, Saratoga Mall didn't really stand much of a chance.
Kevin Garneau's Correction:
Posted January 14, 2004 (user submitted)
The original anchor store of this mall was not
Jamesway - it was a chain called "Barker's". Sometime
in the mid 80's Barker's became "King's", and went out
of business a short time after.
Around the same time as the close of King's,
Jamesway's store on the other side of town in Saratoga
burned down in a fire. So Jamesway conviently took the
anchor spot in the mall.
Pete Blackbird's Commentary:
This mall never really died. It just became too valuable a piece of
property for the property owner to hold onto. It started life as the
Pyramid Mall of Saratoga. I belive it was opened in 1974, anchored
by Jamesway, Montgomery Wards, and Service Merchandise.
Jamesway met with failure in 1989, and closed the entire chain. At
approximately the same time, the plans for the Wilton Mall
(Wilmorite), a much larger mall, with more modern styling, were approved.
The Wilton Mall was built in 1990, right NEXT STORE to
the Saragota Mall.
Montgomery Ward planned to build a store on the Wilton Mall, and
Service Merchandice fell into bankruptcy and Pyramid braced
for the worst. Service Merchandice closed in 1995, but Montgomery
Ward inexplicably remained in the Saratoga Mall. Later on, it
became evident the Saratoga Wards, like most Wards wasn't
performing well enough to warrant a new store, leaving an empty
piece of land at the Wilton Mall. That empty peice is still there,
on the BJ's warehouse side of the mall,
surrounded by a chain link fence. Inside the mall there is a corridor,
that leads to a piece of sheetrock with a graphic on it. That wall
used to say something to the effect of "future home of Montgomery Wards".
When Wards closed the most of it's NY stores, the Saratoga Mall store was
This essentially left Saratoga Mall anchorless, a Flea Market moved into
the Jamesway space, and the two malls co-existed quite nicely. Until
the Saratoga Mall's demolition, it remained largely occupied by
non-traditonal mall stores. The last burnt orange and wood trimmed
Radio Shack in operation was located in this mall. I've only
encountered 2 others operating in all of my years (Camillus Mall,
Camillus NY, and Some dead mall in Maine, I went to when I was 12 years old).
So by definition, the Saratoga Mall never died. It was properly
maintained, and always had a full parkinglot. Many non-chain stores
occupied the mall, such as christian bookstores, 2nd hand clothing
stores, a gym, the post office, etc. Rumor has it, that the Saratoga
Mall remained MORE profitable than the Wilton Mall until it's
demolition, due to low overhead. The saratoga mall was demolished in
1999 to make way for a VERY successful big box center. Oddly enough,
it's website is still up,
Check it out before it's gone.
Bing Bird's Eye View:
Saratoga mall from a satellite in space