Jasper Mall

I watched a documentary on a shopping mall in Alabama that is dying. It’s not a unique story at all. The malls I grew up with are starting to fade away. It’s a sad thing to me.

I came of age in the 1980s and in America, the place to be was the Shopping Mall. We would cruise around, walk around it, and go to the shops inside. No reason and very little money…just hanging out with friends or trying to meet girls. We had to travel to Nashville to see them but we had around 4-5 good size ones that we would visit. Is it the Malls I miss or just being young and cruising around? Probably a little of both.

This mall they are focusing on is in Jasper Alabama and it’s incredibly sad. Knowing these were once vibrant places but Amazon and other online sites have made them obsolete…not to mention the jobs that went with them. As I got older I didn’t really like going in them anymore but I still got a feeling of nostalgia when I think of one.

I would recommend this documentary…it’s not exciting by any means but an interesting story that shows how real people were affected by its dwindling popularity. They try to revive it with different things and to their credit…it’s still open. It was made in 2018 and wiki said they picked that mall because it hadn’t been remodeled since 1981 when it opened.

If you have time to kill and want to watch something different…you could do worse.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

64 thoughts on “Jasper Mall”

  1. Thanks for the viewing recommendation. In the late 1980s I lived and worked in a tiny town, and would drive an hour just to go to the mall. When I was little, we drove from Lawrence, KS to the mall in Topeka, just to buy my Brownie uniform. Now that mall is being demolished. It was definitely nostalgic when I drove by the half-demolished structure a couple weeks ago. Today I almost never go to a mall. They are like relics of the past for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It brought back memories and I enjoyed this sad little doc more than I thought I would. I remember Spencer’s and other places. Now our old malls have Doctor offices in them to save them from closing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My hometown built a big mall in 1969. According to my dad, it was one of the first ones in the state. Holly Hill Mall…how they named it, IDK. It is still functioning. It’s “anchor” stores were Sears on one end and Belk’s on the other. Belk’s is long gone but, has a Dunham Sports in its place. The Sears shut down and that part of the mall was detached, rebuilt & turned into a Publix grocery store.

    I grew up wandering thru that mall. My mom took me to the Belk’s to get my first ear piercings when I was six. Grew up eating at the Chick-fil-A, playing video games at Aladdin’s Castle and buying records at Stereo Village.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_Hill_Mall_and_Business_Center

    https://mallwalkers.net/aladdinscastle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had Rivergate, Hickory Hollow, 100 Oaks, and Harding Mall to pick from…the most popular was Rivergate.
      Yea Sears closed and that put the mall in Clarksville almost out of business….they were anchors to many malls.

      I didn’t go to them until I was a teen…my small town has nothing approaching a mall. The Holy Hill Mall looks like our 100 Oaks that was built in the late 60s early seventies I believe.

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      1. Wow. You had choices!

        As an older teen, then early 20-something, I spent quite a bit of time at Four Seasons in Greensboro (Four Seasons Towne Centre, now). They had a cool nightclub/disco thing called Fifth Seasons. Had a lot of fun there.

        Holly Hill & 100 Oaks are definitely same time frame.

        It was a cool time to be a teen back then.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea me also. I’ve seen Bailey and his friends in the SAME room…text one another. Of course I burned them all after seeing that.

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      3. Oh…the boy is in New York tonight…him and Maria traveled there yesterday….they will be back on Tuesday

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      4. I know…but he is a man…in age anyway…I call him a man/boy…lol. He has a film friend that lives there and he is going to tour them around

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      5. I hope he has safe fun.

        I went to Manhattan in late 1991 for about six hours (corporate travel with free tix). That was when I picked up “the scarf.”

        Six hours was enough. Severe culture shock…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I want to go to Cooperstown…that is it. I never dreamed of going there…now LA is a different story as long as I had guide…which I do…our HR director lives there

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  3. I love videos of dead and dying malls…. The guy who runs the YouTube account Raw & Real Retail sets many of his videos to production music (general, all-purpose music for use by TV stations and filmmakers), another of my passions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like videos of old closed amusement parks from the 70s and 80s…
      I remember watching a video on the mall that was used in The Blues Brothers….they pretty much left it like it was after they shot for over a decade before it was I think destroyed.

      I just checked out Raw & Real Retail…that is pretty cool.

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  4. I actually did see this some time back. Fairly interesting & representative of what’s happening all around N.America. I first became aware of the phenomenon around 2000. I spent like, 3 days of holiday in Niagara Falls, Ontario but decided to cross over (on foot no less!) to NY side & went into this big mall & it was ,’Wow, surrealistic.’ Didn’t see another shopper! There were maybe 8 open stores, cheap off brand clothing ones & maybe a baseball cap one.Probably 50+ empty stores.
    I grew up near one of Canada’s largest & busiest malls, even worked in it for 7 years. At times it was like a Tokyo subway, so crowded. Now, I doubt it is but it’s still open & I hear busy, even without Sears & Eaton’s…2 of 3 of it’s anchors. Still has one big dept. store, probably 150 more stores, mostly chains, huge food court. But the second busiest one in city, with maybe 50 stores & a grocery store as anchor got bulldozed recently to make way for apartments I think…couldn’t keep viable at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that one is still going! Ours are still going because of Vanderbilt and Baptist hospital renting spaces there…that keeps the mall going. As far as retail there isn’t much anymore.
      They were the lifeline to teen’s lives back in the 80s…at least here they were.
      The documentary isn’t exciting or happy but it was real.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Back in the early ’90s, it was very much a big part of my life. I worked in this huge mall, and lived about two blocks away (I specifically chose location so it would be an easy walk), so even on days off I’d often head over there to walk around, say Hi to many people I knew that worked there, maybe window shop etc. I miss the socialization aspect a bit but not the commercialization

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I miss the socialization also…I did hang with friends and that made it great.
        What I miss is those shops like Spencers and clothes places where you could but unusual shirts and such.

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    1. Most malls here are dying but businesses like Wal-Mart (which I hate) have killed the local mom and pop places around wherever they go… so that sounds familiar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Music stores are somewhat the same although I bought an electric 12 string off of Ebay….I got lucky…but yea that makes sense.

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  5. Malls still were a pretty big thing in the US when I came to this country as a grad student in 1983. Candidly, their emergence and growth seemingly everywhere put many mom and pop stores out of business. Now, it appears they’re suffering the same fate, thanks to Amazon and other online retailers. There’s a bit of irony here. That said, while online shopping undoubtedly is convenient, something gets lost when you don’t go to stores any longer to buy stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do like physically picking out something when I buy it but those days….except for grocery stores are gone and grocery stores have almost turned into delivering only.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YES!!! yes we do and it is annoying to me! Too many selections.
        Oh Christian…on a side note…I hate asking you to do this…you may not like it but I actually posted about a newer band on Wednesday. I was going to ask if you heard of them since you go over many new bands before I posted it. Have you heard of a band called Builders and The Butchers?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry, Max, I’ve done a less-than-stellar job to keep up with reading. I love how that tune sounds. You’re right, very Dylanesque – very cool!

        And, to answer your question, nope, I had not heard of Builders and Butchers – what a name. Now you’ve made me curious!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t you dare apologize! I do the same thing…the ONLY reason I directed you back at this one was because it is rare that I post one that is this new lol. If it would have been a Stones or Beatles post I wouldn’t have thought about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks Christian…like I said…if it would have been an older post I wouldn’t have said a thing…but new bands and it’s rare I have them or blues artists…I think of you immediately.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. We have one just like it here. They tore down our priceless old downtown to build a modern mall. It didn’t last more than 20 years or so, then they tore it down and left a ghost town. The “new” mall is out in the burbs, and it’s a ghost town. The anchor stores are pretty much all gone. There’s progress for you. I remember going there some back in the day. You’re right, online shopping has been the death of the mall, at least in small towns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was sickening how many charming old downtowns were bulldozed to built malls, which now stand empty. That happened even in downtown Palm Springs, but thankfully, the lousy vacant mall was demolished, the old street patterns restored, and new pedestrian-friendly buildings constructed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They are trying to rebuild our downtown but gearing it towards tourists that are coming in increasing #s in the summertime. The new housing downtown is prices way way out of any “townie’s” price range.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Like many things in life and throughout history, trends and how we live continue to change and evolve. I remember as a teen in the early 70s going to the exciting new Eastridge Mall in San Jose. It was absolutely massive and incredibly popular. Huge malls went up all over the country, and they were packed. But I think too many were built, and their novelty eventually wore off as people tired of them, instead preferring more walkable, pedestrian-friendly downtowns and restored small towns with character that became more desirable (I’m a former urban planner). Also, the thousands of Wal-Marts, Costcos and Sam’s Clubs, where people could buy almost anything at a lower price, were yet another nail in the coffin for malls. But what troubles me most about the demise of so many malls is the incredible waste of all those huge structures. Some have been refurbished for use as offices, warehouse distribution centers or even housing, but most are just torn down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff for that… that is a different perspective. I know when Wal-Marts come in…the mom and pops close down and then the Wal-Mart building sits there long after they are gone.
      The Mall was the happening place for my teen years…it was like a separate city in them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Max! I saw this one last summer! Loved it! A slow but fascinating look at the death of the kind of mall I grew up with in the 80s. This particular mall is still hanging in there, but the empty hallways, gated stores, and economic deterioration are tough to witness. These are good people in a gigantic shell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was slow but I guess so was the demise of the Mall. I grew up in the 80s as well…and this was it on a Friday and Saturday night. Our malls in Nashville are still open…at least most…they house doctors offices from Vanderbilt and Baptist so at least they found a use for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My old mall in Littleton, CO was torn down and replaced by this new style call “Italian Plaza,” which incorporates outdoor shops with apartments above. It’s not the same. I miss my old mall 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea I know what you mean…sometimes I want to go to a store and see and feel the object before buying it. We do have one giant ass mall…called Opry Mills…it’s over a million square feet…it’s still going strong.

        Liked by 1 person

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