SAWMILL SQUARE MALL: LAUREL, MS
Jason Carmichael's Commentary
Posted December 3, 2005 (user submitted)
Sawmill Square Mall - Sawmill Square Mall in Laurel, Mississippi, was once
the jewel of this small South Mississippi city. Once a thriving city thanks to
the timber and oil industries, people and their money left once the oil bust of
the 1980s occured. The mall, anchored by McRae's and JCPenney, along with a 4
screen theatre, featured the top stores like KayBee Toys and other shops.
I can remember growing up when we would choose this mall over others in the region
because it was nice and had great shops. Now, the mall is, as defined by your
glossary, "Second Class." Many of the shops have closed and some have been
replaced by urban style shops. There is now a Teen Center and welness facility
classrooms sponsored by the local hospital. McRae's and JCPenney are still
there, but very small, cramped, messy, and almost impossible in which to shop.
There is question [that they will leave] since the anchors' leases will soon be up. McRae's was also
recently purchased from SAKS, Inc. by Belk. So, who knows.
Grass grows in the nearly vacant parking lot. The mall manager was once a security guard in the mall.
The mall could easily become a success story if the owners would simply take
away the dark square tiles, the wood timber beams, and update the facade. It's
not dangerous, but simply not fun. Take the image of a Sawmill and that's what
you've got. The mall was built on the site of Laurel's once largest sawmill.
Stores once in the mall are now along a major highway through town, located
near a new Wal-Mart Supercenter and Lowe's.
sawmillsquare.com - Mall's website