Mike Samons' Commentary

Posted March 6, 2009 (user submitted)

Hi, I am a nostalgic Lima native reporting that this mall was closed as of Dec 26, 2008 except for the Andersons. As I understand it, the balance of the mall will be demolished soon but I'm not clear about the plans for the property between Andersons and the theaters.

My first recollections of this mall involve jumping along the tiles as a 3-year old in the mid-70s so I can relate quite a bit of history. I believe back then there was a even a fountain.

Value City (Cleveland-based, I believed) opened around 1982 and was a big hit given the sour economy of that time, and I stopped in there as recently as 2007 while killing time before a movie. Before Value City there was a similar discount chain store called Kings and before that (as I am told) it was called Wells.

The opposite anchor Andersons opened in the early 90s and followed Burlington Coat Factory. The original anchor was Montgomery Ward until the late 90s, and they had an auto service building in the south parking lot where I spent a lot of time waiting with my folks back in the day.

Youngstown-based Phar-Mor was there through most of the 90s until the company fell into financial problems. In the early 80s there was a store called Century that was a catalog showroom similar to Service Merchandise.

At the northeast corner, in the 80s and early 90s was a fairly popular family restaurant called Parissons (sp?) that later became a place with a bar and live music.

Almost forgot, at the northwest corner next to then-Montgomery Ward was a Pangles grocery, and I always thought it was cool that they had a roller-conveyor to take your groceries outside. (local note: Pangles was the predecessor to the current Lima-area grocery Rays, named for Ray Pangle as I understand)

Other long-time included Thom Mcann shoes, Carnival shoes, a Radio Shack (not surprising), Baskin Robins, and a duplex theater.

It's definitely been sad to see the place go down over the years, but times change and the mall scene in general just isn't what it used to be.

Blake Hutchison's Commentary:

Posted August 4, 2005 (user submitted)

Some malls die because the anchors pull out. Not the case with the American Mall in Lima, Ohio.

The American Mall has always been different from your typical mall. For one thing, it is anchored by a Value City (a Columbus-based discount chain), The Andersons (a hardware/grocery store), and Phar-Mor was a third anchor until 2003.

Lima has two malls, both built in the 1960's. The Lima Mall is just like a regular mall with anchors like JCPenney, Sears, and Macys. The American Mall was more of a working-class mall, with anchors like Value City and Burlington Coat Factory (which closed in 1989 and was replaced by The Andersons about four years later. Value City may be an original anchor, but I'm not sure on that.

I visited this mall in 2002 and it appeared to be about 70-75% occupied. Phar-Mor announced plans to close 80 stores in Ohio later that year, but the Lima store was one of the stores to be spared, at least for a year or so. I believe the entire chain closed in 2003, and this was one of the last stores to close.

At this point, the interior of the mall is nothing more than a way to get from Value City to the Andersons without walking outside. Aside from the anchors, the only remaining stores are GNC, Rogers Jewelers, two mom-and-pop stores that sell urban wear, a specialty window store that never seems to be open, an arcade with five game choices, all circa 1985, and a barber shop that appears to have been here forever.

The only reason this mall hasn't been shuttered is because Value City does such good business here, and they don't have an outside entrance, so you actually have to enter the dark corridors (which feel like a cave in places) to shop in the store. The Andersons does good business in the area, but since there are no stores in the mall near the Andersons, I'm surprised they haven't already shuttered their mall entrances. Regal Cinemas plans to open a 12-screen movie theater with stadium seats in late 2005, which could attract other businesses, so the American Mall may still come back to life.

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