Timothy Gulics's Commentary

Posted July 9, 2007 (user submitted)

Flemington Mall sat prominently between Route 202 and 31 in beautiful Flemington New Jersey. In my childhood, 1982 and on, the mall was host to two anchors - a Jamesway (which was a department store similar to a K-Mart with men's, women's and children's fashions, electronics, toys, etc.) and an Orr's (which was, to my recollection, primarily focused on women's fashion and something all kids wisely avoided!). The mall also featured a third anchor of sorts, a Grand Union grocery store, though it did not connect to the mall interior. I've many fond memories of Flemington Pizza, a corner cafe that served ice cream, Frozen Coke, and short-order items like fries and such, the Supercade arcade (a very scary place in truth, it being a dark and dank arcade frequented by 'the older kids'), Poor Richard's Book Shop, tuxedo rentals, a Rite Aid pharmacy (it had two entrances, one in-mall and one from the outside) and smaller stores (a pet store, a hair salon, etc.).

A nearby Pizza Hut and Pearl Vision Centre may have been outparcels of the mall, or on their own property. I'm not sure, but both businesses are alive to this day (7/2007) accessible from Rt 202 or a back entrance on Rt 31. A Ponderosa restaurant may have also been a mall outparcel, being on the overall mall property and situated on Rt 31.

Jamesway began closing stores across New Jersey in the early to mid 90's, and Flemington Mall suffered as a result. Businesses began closing, the arcade cleared out, the mall fell into disrepair. Ponderosa pulled out, coinciding with a decline of their presence throughout the state. The mall's roof began to leak and tenants fled, disappearing seemingly overnight. Only Grand Union persisted past the mall's "death."

A small revitalization came in the late late 90's when Burlington Coat Factory moved into the old Jamesway anchor. The mall interior remained closed, however, and Burlington opened a new exterior entrance for itself. The Ponderosa was converted into a florist that saw some success.

Grand Union eventually closed its doors, feeling competition from a remodeled Shop Rite nearby and other large grocers in the area, leaving Burlington all by its lonesome.

The mall was razed in the early 2000's, save for the Burlington building, making way for a brand new 'strip mall' configuration featuring a Kohl's, Borders, Michael's craft store, and some smaller businesses (Verizon store, Cold Stone Creamery, a Chili's restaurant).

The former Ponderosa, then florist, closed and briefly became a liquor store before acting as a clearance center for the nearby Flemington Department Store (further down Rt 31, across from the Fairgrounds) before finally moving in 2006. The building is empty now.

Even with Jamesway still in business throughout the 90's, this mall would have likely died (albeit a more gradual, painful death) due to the stronger shopping outlets in the area, the big cheese being Liberty Village Premium Outlets. Liberty Village is still going strong, the new "Flemington Mall" is also very active, and there is talk of building a new Big Box "mall" featuring WalMart where the Fairgrounds used to be.

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