Jan's Commentary

Posted April 24, 2011 (user submitted)

Mountaineer Mall has even more vacancy now, but it has somewhat transitioned to a second-class mall. There's a call center where the Montgomery Ward's used to be, the Gabriel's is gone, the General Glass Home Center is struggling since the two Lowe's opened in town and the food court now consists of a struggling indie pizza place, coffee shop and hot dog stand, plus one Subway. Absent the call center with its' hungry workers, the food places would likely close.

There is, however, the Senior Monongalians community center, which is a big draw now that the Mountain Line bus includes it as a stop, a dance studio, a modest daycare and a trio of small, indie gyms, one for ladies, one mixed martial-arts and one co-ed traditional. The Goodwill also remains, next to a small Chinese buffet that takes catering to the call center daily, and there is also one real gem -opposite the Goodwill, a small thrift and antiques store called 'Lucky's Closet' sells donated, homemade and branded items to benefit the local no-kill animal shelter. Fans of thrift-store hunting and antiques really enjoy Lucky's, especially with Goodwill right next door for a full day of adventurous hunting.

The split-level, ramped grade of the mall and senior center still makes it a popular haunt for area grandmas, who have been noticed racing on their mobility scooters in the wide, sparsely peopled halls. (Teenagers would catch hell for most of the stuff the old dears get up to, even if there was more security evident. It's hilarious to observe.) Call-center employees also tend to walk laps and eat lunch there, and while vacancy is high, the Mountaineer Mall seems headed more toward 'gently repurposed' than completely dead -especially when various local charities hold events there. It is also a fine place to find free game-day parking for the WVU football games, since the Mountain Line bus to the stadium is only $3.

Laura Shelton's Commentary

Posted July 9, 2007 (user submitted)

Mountaineer Mall opened up in 1975 to much fanfare; it was the first mall built in Morgantown, WV, home of West Virginia University. The mall had its heyday during the 1970s and early to mid '80s. Throughout the years, many other stores moved in and out, such as Jo Ann's House of Nuts, JoAnn Fabrics, Sam Goody, Mountain Snow, to name a few. Although a small compact mall, for northcentral West Virginia, the mall held countless hours of shopping and entertainment, and business boomed.

In order to keep up with other growing malls in the area (as well as to keep shoppers in Morgantown instead of letting them travel to nearby Pittsburgh to multi level malls), Mountaineer Mall added an addition in 1987 which was brighter, roomier, and far more attractive than the rather dim décor that the rest of the mall possessed. I was young when this addition opened; what I remember being in the new addition originally (and not limited to) was Stone and Thomas (as an extra anchor), another jeweler, Claire's, Foot Locker, a Mediterranean restaurant, a Cinnabon knockoff, one of those "Everything One Price" type stores, Great American Cookie Company, I Can't Believe It's Not Yogurt, Doktor (sp?) pet store, and other stores that I cannot remember. When the addition opened, it seemed as though everyone in town came to the mall to see Mickey Mouse unveil the new level.

However, for whatever reason, the new addition could not maintain stores, and emptied quickly. No original tenants are there today. And with the opening of Morgantown Mall in 1991, the mall began to die. JCPenney's shut its doors and moved to the new mall, same with Lerner's, the Gap, and others. The only original tenant in the mall still there is GNC, and besides Goodwill and Elder Beerman, there are no real "big name" draws. Walmart operated in the mall for 13-14 years and then closed, and with it, it seems everyone else is following suit. Suddenly, even the local shops are pulling out and the rumors are flying…some say a new store is coming and revitalization will take place, others say the mall will turn into office space (it already holds a telemarketing center). Only time will tell what will happen to the place that was once (and for some, still is) a dear place in the heart of real Mountaineers.

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