Justin Brickner's Commentary

Posted February 27, 2008 (user submitted)

The Tiffin City Mall was opened on Wednesday September 17, 1980. The stores in the original mall included Hobby Center Toys, B. Dalton Books, Kinney Shoes, Jo Ann Fabrics, Rite Aid, Petries, Zale Jewelers, Nobil Shoes, House of Cards, Musicland, Osterman Jewelers, Carousel Snack Bar, and Play Palace.

Anchor stores were K-Mart and JC Penny. Stores later opened were Ponderosa, Baskin Robbins, Fashion Bug, and Peanut Shack. Around the same time in October a quad cinema was opened.

The mall hasn't changed much in the 28 years since its opening. Decor is the same simple 1980's benches and wall coverings. The mall has been kept in relatively good shape.

This mall was built by Developers Diversified Reality based out of Cleveland Ohio. DDR is the same firm who owns the mall to this day. You would think since the same owner has owned the mall for such a long time it would be doing better.

Well, not exactly. Our poor mall has always had this kind of hardship since it's opening.. Mostly due to slow economic growth in our small town of 55,000 has not helped this mall out any. Also since Findlay is 25 miles away, most people take their shopping to their mall which is far superior to ours.

I remember the Toy store was one of the first stores to go. That space was later occupied by Big Lots. Closed, and re-opened as several different retail stores since then. It now remains vacant, leased short term by a local college as a training facility.

Then other's started dropping off. I don't even remember Rite Aid, must not have been there long. I believe Dalton Books became Sue's Hallmark, which is now closed. Nobil Shoes closed eventually, and was re-opened years later as Shoe Beliee.

Musicland was later called Sam Goody, and then closed in 2003. The larger section Rite Aid was in later joined with the empty Sam Goody and another vacant unit to become East of Chicago Pizza.

Jo Ann fabrics was open sometime into the late 90s, was closed, then later opened as Dollar General. K-mart was of course closed shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy, and remained vacant for a few years.

Ponderosa was open until about 2001, and then closed. Several years later, was re-opened as a Mexican restaurant. The current restaurant owners changed nothing on the inside, can clearly tell it was an 80's Ponderosa.

The Quad cinema was later leased by Regal Cinema's. Then later turned over to Marquee Cinema's.

DDR has been making strides to improve mall traffic. In 2005 DDR demolished the K-mart anchor. And built a brand new 8 Cinema Theatre, state of the art, stadium seating, and all the best stuff. The theatre was first owned by Marquee Cinema's, a small franchise who owns theatre's in the Midwest.

But in March of 2006 Marquee moved in the dead of night and closed up. They didn't notify DDR or the general public, the theatre sat vacant for several months before a new tenant was found.

Fortunately, DDR persuaded Cinemark Theatres to move in, which is the largest theatre chain in the country. The theatre is the only part of the mall packed, and is what saved it from becoming a true dead mall.

So, slowly the stores inside the mall are dropping off. When DDR built the theatre, they did not connect an inside entrance to the mall. The builders made mistakes laying the footprint of the building, and had to tear down and rebuild. Needless to say, DDR lost the possible tenants who were supposed to move in the two vacant restaurant units in front of the theatre complex.

Rumor was the vacant units in front of the theatre were supposed to either an Applebee's or similar restaurant. The stores that recently moved out either went out of business, or moved to the newer modern mini-malls scattered around town.

JC Penny and Regis Salon are the only original stores in the mall. JC Penny or Regis hasn't changed since 1980. Radio Shack has been in the mall since the 80s however.

Another large unit which I believe was several smaller stores turned into a Telemarketing Firm. What a waste of retail space in a mall.

On the mall map an Available out parcel is shown; though I don't believe it was ever occupied. The future expansion was never built either; a large empty corridor leads to where it should be.

This mall is in deed need of an overhaul, un-fortunately this area is too blue collar to support the nicer stores. However, this town is starting to become a booming college town. We have two universities, which support our economy decently. If the mall could target stores that are not in Findlay, or stores beneficial to the public the mall would bounce back.

Links - Photos of the mall taken by Justin Brickner
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