Monday, May 21, 2018

Greenville Mall, Greenville, MS (Bonus: Mainstream Mall)

Today's post highlights Washington County, MS, retail.

Our first feature post of the summer is yet another entry to our "Lost Histories of Mid-South Retail" series... and also takes us ever so slightly outside the blog's coverage area, to Washington County, Mississippi. (I still made a county graphic for this post though, considering Washington is just barely excluded from our logo graphic.) Specifically, we're in Greenville, MS, getting ready to explore...

...the best shopping in the south! Or so the above-pictured sign says, anyway :)  The Greenville Mall is a pretty interesting place. For one, it's a smaller mall, given that it's located in the heart of the small-town-laden Mississippi Delta. Yet at the same time, the mall was actually considered to be quite large at the time of its opening back in the 1970s. Indeed, it is much larger than a second mall that also opened in Greenville within six months (!) of Greenville Mall - more on that second mall later in this post, though. Perhaps what's most interesting about the Greenville Mall, however, may simply be the fact that it is still open to this day. Many of these older, smaller malls tend to bleed tenants over the years and ultimately sit abandoned and desolate. But the Greenville Mall is still going (if not going strong).

As you may remember, last year JCPenney announced plans to close 140 of its stores. Five stores in Mississippi were affected; Greenville's JCPenney was one of them. That closure is primarily what spurred my visit to the Greenville Mall in July 2017, but we'll be seeing pictures of the closing JCPenney itself in a separate post. This post features images of the rest of the mall, both inside and out. There's also a bonus feature on that aforementioned second mall in Greenville at the end of the post. Before all that, though, let's first examine some history of the Greenville Mall. (This is a "lost history" post, after all!)

Greenville's newspaper, The Delta Democrat-Times, is (surprisingly) documented very well online, with scores of past editions available on newspaper archive websites. Unfortunately, those websites tend to be available to paying subscribers only... which I am not. Thankfully, however, by some miracle I've had the website glitch on me a few times, allowing me to access the full-page images normally locked behind their paywall. So thanks to that, we're able to take this look at a sweet ad run in the Sunday, August 11th, 1974 paper for the then-only-two-years-old Greenville Mall!

I took advantage of the opportunity to zoom in to the advertisement, taking high-resolution screenshots of pieces of it and then stitching it back together, so to speak, via Microsoft Office. Lucky for us, this ad contains virtually all of the information you'd ever want to know about Greenville Mall: it's the "first and largest enclosed mall in the Mississippi Delta"... it has 35 stores (which are even listed along the left-hand side!) and a huge parking lot circling the property... it's over 300,000 square feet (302,285, to be specific, although that exact figure is from another article I found in my research)... and it celebrated its grand opening on July 26th, 1972 (meaning the mall is turning 46 years old this summer). Because I think it's so cool, here's the full text of the ad, reprinted so you don't have to strain too hard trying to read it from the screengrab:

Proud to be a part of a progressive Greenville and the Delta is one of the largest physical facilities and one of the largest employers in this area: The Greenville Mall. With over 300,000 square feet of enclosed, air conditioned comfort, providing more than 600 jobs for Delta folks--the Greenville Mall is truly the center of the Delta's shopping experience.
Thirty-five (35) independent businesses provide you with the latest in fashion and services for the whole family. From beauty shop to books, from food to fashion--the one-stop shopping place is the Greenville Mall. 
A July 26, 1972 Grand Opening brought the first, the largest, the most luxurious enclosed shopping mall in this part of the South to Greenville, Miss. The Greenville Mall sits on a 32 acre tract with four main entrances and exits on Highway 1 South and Bowman Boulevard. It is capable of conveniently parking over 3500 automobiles as the parking lot extends 360 degrees around the mall. 
Centered around your beautiful Greenville Mall is the obvious theme of high fashion and quality. With over 22,000 square feet of harvest orange nylon carpet and 10,000 square feet of spacious simulated brick tile, the mall captures the rich warmness her customers enjoy and deserve. Live plants and spraying center fountain add an atmosphere of relaxation and natural beauty. 
The Greenville Mall creates a community center for the whole family. Cultural, musical, and public interest activities constantly stream through its mall areas. A Civic Center for public and private use comprises some 5,000 square feet of the Greenville Mall--dedicated for community activities and private functions, where no facility this large existed before.  
We, the Greenville Mall Merchants Association, cordially invite you and your family to "your" Greenville Mall for the Greatest Shopping experience of your life.

Live plants? Spraying center fountain? Simulated brick tile? Harvest orange nylon carpet?! Sign me up!! Not only does the Greenville Mall sound very modern for its time, it also sounds like the Merchants Association took great pride in that fact. Of course, what was modern in the 1970s is what one may call "painfully outdated" today... so you'll likely be relieved to hear that the mall has indeed since been remodeled, removing all traces of that orange carpet and brick tile. Sadly, the live plants and center fountain also disappeared as a result of this renovation. I'm not sure if all this took place at this time or if it occurred at some point earlier, but another article I was able to find describes an extensive remodel that took place in 1996. "The interior badly needed a facelift," the author writes, which would make sense if the 1970s look had been able to survive that long! The article goes on to explain that "some $2 million was spent" on the renovation, adding new retailers like Kirkland's and Zales and ultimately resulting in the mall being "100% leased." Unfortunately, I don't have a list of tenants from the 1996 remodel, nor do I have a list of tenants present-day, but I do have the list from the above 1974 ad, reprinted below (anchor stores underlined):

  • American Handicraft
  • Butler's
  • Ruby's Wig World
  • Colonial Barber Shop
  • Commercial National Bank
  • Dipper Dan
  • Endicott-Johnson
  • Ford Shoes
  • Family Tree
  • The Fair
  • Fifth Avenue Cards
  • Gateway Books
  • Hardee's
  • J.J. Morley's
  • Jewel Box
  • Jr. Junction
  • Karmelkorn
  • The Leader
  • McRae's
  • Ms. Casuals
  • Mangel's
  • Medi-Save
  • Morrisons Cafeteria
  • Music Scene
  • Motherhood Maternity
  • Odd Oz
  • Pearle Vision
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Radio Shack
  • Red Hanger
  • Regis Beauty Shop
  • Roses
  • Shop of John Simmons
  • Sears
  • Tie Castle

Before we move on to the present-day images, here are a couple more newspaper screenshots I was able to get, including a close-up of the Greenville Mall logo. As you can imagine, the 1996 remodel updated the mall's exterior, resulting in a new logo as well. (I'm unsure if this one ever graced the exterior of the mall, however. In the 1970s it may well have been a plain font logo on the structure, if any logo for that matter.) This particular ad appeared in the February 12th, 1976, edition of the Delta Democrat-Times.

When the Greenville Mall opened in 1972, its three anchors were Sears, Rose's (which - yes - did indeed have an apostrophe in its name back then!), and local department store chain McRae's (in fact, this was McRae's sixth-ever location). There was also a Piggly Wiggly, among other stores. I can't speak for most of the inline tenants over the years, but I bring up Piggly Wiggly in particular because it closed not long after the mall opened. Similarly, Roses had vacated the mall by 1976 (just four years later), which is when JCPenney assumed the anchor space, relocating from downtown Greenville. This anchor trio remained intact for a remarkable three decades, when in 2006 McRae's became Belk. Then, the first shoe dropped: Sears gave up the ghost sometime between 2008 and 2012. Part of the Sears space (including the mall entrance) became TJMaxx in August 2012, but the majority of the building remains empty. And as mentioned earlier, JCPenney closed down at the end of July 2017, leaving the mall with only one and a half anchor stores as of this writing.

With that out of the way, let's begin our interior tour of the Greenville Mall! Up first... I couldn't resist including this pay phone :)  The mall actually had a couple of these if I remember correctly, located in the hallways leading from the various mall entrances to the main mall corridor.

I don't have a directory graphic to illustrate this, but just picture a straight line between Sears (now TJMaxx) and Belk, with JCPenney along the top middle, and you've got a pretty good idea of what the mall's layout is like. There's really only just the one hallway containing all of the mall's stores.

This shot is looking toward the former Sears anchor, whose mall entrance is now occupied by TJMaxx. You can get a good feel for the interior aesthetic of the mall in this photo; for (likely) not having been altered any since that big 1996 renovation, it's surprisingly clean, and barely feels dated at all (unlike how that harvest orange nylon carpeting would feel if it were still in place today!). The skylights certainly give the interior a boost with all that natural light flowing in, and the thingies (not sure what they truly are, haha!) hanging down from the ceiling are pretty neat, too.

Three tenants (besides TJMaxx) can be seen in this photo, but of them, only The Shoe Dept. is a national chain. For being a small mall soon-to-be missing its central anchor, I was surprised to see that it wasn't yet a dead mall, as most of the storefronts were all filled - albeit with a majority being locally-owned shops, but even then, that's to be expected, even encouraged, in a small-town market.

Here we're looking at JCPenney's mall entrance, located smack in the center of the corridor. The mall's main exterior entrance to the front parking lot is straight down the hallway that's out of view behind me from this vantage point, so when you enter the mall from the main entrance nowadays, your first sight is a vacant department store straight ahead. So that's a bit unfortunate, but as they say, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover!

As I mentioned earlier, I did photograph the JCPenney as well, and I'll feature that documentation in a separate blog post soon.

In this pic you can see Belk's mall entrance; where TJMaxx is on the left, and JCPenney in the center, this is located at the right edge of the mall corridor. I'm unsure if any of the three anchors once had more stylized mall entrances or not... it seems rather unusual to me to have only the department store's logo slapped on a plain white interior façade. That said, I have to say that this does give the place a clean, and consistent, look and feel. It's possible, too, that the department stores did have more traditional entrances back in the day, only for those to be removed in the 1996 remodel.

Hanging out by that truck in front of Belk's entrance, here's a view down the mall corridor. If you can see TJMaxx off in the distance, then you're looking at the entirety of the mall, pal! There appears to be a vacant storefront on my right, but beyond that, stores like local offering Source and national chain Bath and Body Works are visible. Check out that wooden cart as well: unfortunately I wasn't able to photograph it any closer, but on the side facing away from the camera, it's emblazoned with the 1996 Greenville Mall logo (which we'll be seeing once we begin touring the exterior of the mall). Pretty neat!

Kirkland's is located on the Belk side of the corridor, and appears to have a fairly modern storefront as well. Either this is original to its mid-90s opening, or the store does well enough to have warranted this upgrade sometime since then.

Beyond Kirkland's, you can see a shopper walking along. There was actually a quite healthy crowd when I was here, although some of the people were simply mall walkers rather than actual shoppers. There were also no fewer than two security guards, which is why the number of interior pictures I took is on the low side. Malls tend to be strict about enforcing their "no photography" policies, and I didn't want to risk being caught and/or reprimanded.

Rue21 was located on the TJMaxx side of the corridor, and like Kirkland's, appears to have a more recent façade. Unfortunately, as you can see in the image above, Rue21 had closed down before my visit. Like JCPenney (and several other retail chains, for that matter!), Rue21 had a store closure wave last year, and Greenville's store was included in the mix.

The closure was likely fresh at the time of my visit, given that the signage remained up and the entrance wasn't even blocked off! I would assume that either or both of those things has since changed, but I can't be sure, as I haven't been back to the mall.

This photo takes a look inside a vacant storefront, but I think this is not actually Rue21. Instead, if I remember correctly, this is a store next door to the former Rue21 on the right. I don't know what it was originally. As a matter of fact, I don't know what many of the stores in this mall once operated as... but if you can tell from the façades shown in these images, please feel free to let me know in the comments to this post! I know one storefront was a RadioShack, and another was a Regis Salon, but that's about it.

Across from Rue21 is this rather sizable Rainbow store. This could have been a junior anchor or simply a large in-line tenant back in the day, but again, if either of those were indeed the case, I unfortunately don't know what store it would have been.

Heading outdoors, here is our first look at the exterior of the mall. (Please pardon the sun glare!) What you're looking at here is Sears. But wait, you're probably thinking, didn't the Sears *close*?! You're absolutely right - it did! So I should clarify that what you're seeing here is a Sears Hometown store. This opened up in a portion of the former Sears space right next door to TJMaxx at some point after the larger Sears department store itself vacated the property.

Here are some views of the side of the former Sears building, including the former Merchandise Pick-Up area. Sears sits on the left side of the mall, so unfortunately, due to the layout of the property and its cross-streets, this vacant building directly faces Bowman Boulevard. (Meanwhile, on the other end of the mall, the still-open Belk faces a residential street. Go figure.)

JCPenney may have had a prime location interior-wise, given that - as noted previously - it was straight ahead from the main front entrance to the mall. But that also means that JCPenney's exterior entrance got perhaps the worst location of the three anchors, opening into the rear parking lot. Where the former Sears faces Bowman Boulevard and Belk a residential street, there's nothing but undeveloped land beyond the now-former JCPenney!

Also pictured above is one of the two rear entrances into the mall. The one shown features a Greenville Mall sign above it (showcasing that aforementioned 1996 logo), while the other goes unsigned and is thus very easily overlooked.

Moving on, here's a look at the Belk exterior, along the right side of the entire mall structure. I don't know if Belk added those blue panels themselves or if those were left over from McRae's (which also had a blue color scheme), but either way, I quite like them! I dig the river rock above the entrances, too. This is definitely my favorite exterior style of the three mall anchors.

Along the front of the mall, Garfield's Restaurant and Pub has its own exterior entrance...

...right next to the main mall entrance, as can be seen in the above two photos. This entrance opens up front and center into the front parking lot facing Highway 1 South, which explains its grandeur. In addition to the separate Garfield's entrance and the Greenville Mall logo, JCPenney had a secondary sign up here as well, to make sure you knew it was in the mall (since, as noted, you can't really see it from either cross-street!).

Unsatisfied with my previous exterior images (due in large part to the sun glare in many of them), I returned to the mall the next day for some additional photos, which is what you'll be seeing for the remainder of this post.

Shown above is the space directly to the left of the main mall entrance, facing the front parking lot. The space is operating today as Extreme Fitness, though of course, that isn't what it has always been! I don't know what this store was originally, but it definitely looks to have been a junior anchor of some sort. I don't remember this having an entrance into the mall interior, either. I'm going to guess this was the short-lived Piggly Wiggly, but again, I have no confirmation either way on that.

Here are a few more shots of the front mall entrance, this time in better lighting, including the secondary JCPenney signage, the main Greenville Mall sign, and the Garfield's exterior entrance. It's possible that the Garfield's space was a restaurant in the past, but if so, I don't know what it would have been. (What else is new, haha!)

Sorry for so much "I don't knows," but there's honestly not much history on this mall that I was able to find online. Again... that's why this is a "lost history" post! If you have any information of your own to share, I'd love to read it either in the comments below or in my inbox at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com, please and thank you!)

Jumping out into the parking lot now, we see this Trustmark Bank, occupying an outparcel to the mall along Highway 1 South. This may not have always been a Trustmark, but at least the exterior looks to have remained unchanged since the bank opened. It's a pretty funky design... I like it!

Returning to the exterior tour of the mall now, here are a few views of Piccadilly Cafeteria, which, like Garfield's, has its own exterior and interior entrances. It is located right next door to Belk in the main mall corridor, so given that information, you can get a feel for just how relatively small the mall corridor really is what with the last photo showing the distance between Piccadilly and the main mall entrance. I would assume that Piccadilly is operating out of the former Morrisons Cafeteria space; Morrisons was an original tenant of the mall. Unfortunately, Piccadilly has closed in the time since these pictures were taken.

Here are a couple of Belk exterior shots, this time looking at the front of the store rather than its right side as we saw a little bit earlier in this post. Again: I love the river rock and the blue panels! They interact really well with the light brick behind it all.

The main reason I didn't get any pictures of the right side of the Belk building was because I passed a patrolling security guard halfway down that wall. We were going opposite directions, so once I passed him, I figured I was in the clear and proceeded to take these photos of the rear of the mall. What I didn't think about was the fact that if we met up halfway on the Belk side of the mall, and if one of us was doing a clockwise loop around the structure and the other a counterclockwise loop, we would end up meeting again on the Sears side of the mall... which no one really has any reason to be on, seeing as how the building is abandoned. But more on that in a moment.

The top photo in this duo looks down the rear of the mall from approximately the location of JCPenney's entrance, with Belk off in the distance. You can also see that secondary Greenville Mall entrance shown once before earlier in this post. The bottom image, meanwhile, looks out past the JCPenney parking lot into the aforementioned field it faces. I don't think they're visible in this image, but believe it or not, JCPenney had some "store closing" yard signs lining this empty land! Yeah... as if that's going to help get customers for your liquidation :P

A couple more shots of the JCPenney itself. I should have considered this beforehand, but didn't think about it... since the sun glare was on the front side of the mall when I visited the previous evening, logic has it that it was going to be my enemy on this rear side of the mall on my second visit the next morning!

These two photos take a look at the back of the former Sears building. In the first pic, the Sears is only visible on the right of the shot; to its left is that unsigned mall entrance I mentioned earlier. (Like I said: very easy to overlook, if you don't know it's there!) The second pic, meantime, shows Sears's loading dock. If you look closely at the door to the left of the truck area, you'll see that TJMaxx actually has a sticker proclaiming this as their own receiving area.

These final two shots from the rear of the mall show, in order, one more overview of the back of the property and its parking lot (with the JCPenney façade clearly visible), and what I can only assume are some old shopping cart corrals sitting disused on the sidewalk of the former Sears building.

Circling around the side of the former Sears, I was able to get these two views before once again encountering the security guard I discussed earlier. You can even see him approaching me if you zoom in through the windows in the top photo.

This was my first time getting "caught" doing retail photography, and I'm a person who worries a lot anyway (much to my chagrin), so I was pretty nervous. He began by asking me my name, which I was taken aback by, seeing as how that wasn't the question I was expecting. (I was expecting more along the lines of "What the heck are you doing?".) Once I hesitantly responded, he did indeed ask me what I was doing, and I was able to get out that I'm simply into retail and photography. He seemed okay with that explanation and in turn began to half-explain himself, half-question me further by mentioning that there had apparently been some illicit activity around the area lately. I assured him I was not a part of that, and we parted ways. Overall, I was pretty pleased with how the encounter went, between his demeanor not being overly accusatory and him not asking me to stop or ordering me to leave the property or delete my photos (or anything worse).

I want to be clear that I'm not intending to be rude to this man, as he was simply doing his job, or indeed any other security guards (unless they're deliberately being jerks, which is another story)... but I just don't understand why retail photography is so frowned upon. I can't speak for everyone, but I know many of us don't mean any harm. In fact, the very last thing that I want to do is cause any trouble to anyone else or myself. I'm simply interested in preserving this stuff through photographic documentation (and long-winded blog posts and descriptions :P ). I wish there was a way to get others to understand that. But I digress...

Anyway, since the kind security guard did not explicitly ask me to stop taking pictures and/or delete the ones I had already taken, I decided to carry on with my exterior tour - albeit only after making sure we were once again on opposite sides of the mall, just to be safe! Pictured here is the Sears Hometown store, located in a portion of the former Sears department store. This, too, has since closed.

My final two up-close shots of the mall are these views of the Sears-to-TJMaxx conversion result (which I was determined to photograph, since I neglected to do so the previous afternoon). I think it turned out rather nice, and is definitely one of the most modern retail façades in Greenville now!

I make it sound like I was all unfazed about the security guard encounter, but in reality I was still very shaky, so I made sure to make a beeline deeper into the parking lot away from the mall for the remainder of my time on the property :P  Hence, these progressively-further-away views of both the mall in general and the TJMaxx in particular.

Ironically, I normally always make sure I have a "shopping buddy" with me whenever I'm taking photos, just so I'm not alone should I "get caught" (a phrase I still don't care much for, as it makes it sound like we're doing something bad)... but on this day, of course, I was by myself walking around the property! I didn't even have a car; I was waiting on a ride to pick me up. Just my luck, haha!

Once I found myself comfortably at the edge of the parking lot (along Highway 1 South), I grabbed these photos of the McDonald's that sits at the very corner of the property at Highway 1's intersection with Bowman Boulevard. You can see that this is an "eyebrow" McDonald's (I believe this build style is officially known as "Forever Young" within the chain), but it's not an older location that was remodeled: rather, this was built new on the former home of the mall's Sears Auto Center once both it and its accompanying department store were liquidated and closed down.

As a matter of fact, you might remember having seen this McDonald's on the blog once before, in this post! It is one of three McDonald's restaurants in Greenville, although for a spell, the one at Highways 1 and 82 was closed (and even found itself demolished) before eventually being rebuilt a year or two ago. I think this Greenville Mall McDonald's may have been intended as a replacement for that location after it was demolished, but I can't say that for sure.

The newer McDonald's on the property joins this longstanding Hardee's outparcel, which has been here for many more years. In fact, Hardee's is listed as an original tenant of the mall in that full-page ad shown back at the top of this post, but I'm not 100% certain they were always located on an outparcel - they could very well have been an inline tenant to begin with, instead. Regardless, this outparcel building has been here for a fair share of time as well, and - likely not coincidentally - was remodeled from the chain's older logo* around the same time as the neighboring McDonald's set up shop.

(* - This older logo, not this one. Although if you haven't seen yet, that second logo has now made a comeback - and I can't wait to see it go up on some restaurants soon!)

My final two photos from the Greenville Mall show the mall's tall roadside sign facing drivers on Highway 1 South, as well as (once again) the Trustmark Bank outparcel, with its funky architecture. The roadside sign is looking pretty good for its age, considering I believe it, too, dates back to the 1996 remodel! The Belk and TJMaxx logos on the sign, however, are definitely newer: Google Street View shows they were added sometime after Sears's closure, and that the changeable letter board used to be higher up on the sign where the logos are now. JCPenney, it seems, never shelled out the money to get their logo on the sign, even though that space in the middle was clearly left open for them. But ultimately, that seems to have been for the best, seeing as how JCPenney would wind up closing...

As I've noted several times now, photos of the JCPenney liquidation are to come soon in a separate blog post. But first, before I wrap this post up... I promised y'all a brief history of the "other" mall in Greenville. Yes indeed, in addition to the Greenville Mall, just a few miles north along Highway 1 South there was yet another shopping center: Mainstream Mall. I honestly don't know how this happened (certainly in this day and age city planners wouldn't allow this, or at the very least the developers themselves would find out about each other's plans and adjust accordingly), but Mainstream Mall managed to open right up the street from Greenville Mall, and only a month later to boot! Here's the text from the August 9th, 1972, Delta Democrat-Times; and be sure to keep in mind that the Greenville Mall opened on July 26th, 1972:

Mainstream Mall schedules openings 
Mainstream Mall, Greenville's newest shopping mall, will be ready for business Thursday with the opening of nine shops ranging from drugs to women's apparel to gourmet foods. On Aug. 17, five additional businesses will open with the remainder of the mall's tenants set for opening between that date and Sept. 17. "We're anxious to let the people of the Mid-Delta see just what the Mainstream Mall has to offer," Norman B. Gillis Jr. of McComb, mall developer, said. "And that is why so many of our 30 shops are opening Thursday." 
Mainstream Mall's "Grand Celebration" is scheduled for the week of Sept. 18 at the center located at Miss. 1 and U.S. 82. Getting a head start on all the rest of the mall businesses, Otasco opened Aug. 3 under the management of W. C. Brannon. George Beadles of Lawrence, Kan., will serve as assistant manager of the home and auto supply store. This third Greenville Otasco store will employ eight persons and occupies 11,950 square feet. 
First National Bank's Mainstream Mall branch is also open for customers, but its grand opening is scheduled to coincide with the mall's. The newest member of its banking family, the branch is headed by Grace Van Norman, assistant vice president, and employs seven persons. 
TG&Y, a 20,000-square-foot variety store out of Oklahoma, will employ approximately 40 persons. Ben Shires is manager with co-manager Walter Naron and assistant manager Tom Malley. TG&Y has more than 800 stores across the country. 
Max's Shoes, another local business, occupies 2,200 square feet of Mainstream Mall as a family shoe store. Managed by Charlie Lum, the store adds a touch of the "psychedelic" to the high-ceilinged mall and is the second Max's Shoes to open in Greenville. 
Regent Shop, owned by United Shoe Stores of Shreveport, La., offers a complete line of ladies shoes, women's apparel, and accessories. "One of our most extensive lines is in the area of women's hose where we have a tremendous variety of styles and sizes," manager Jimmy Dorough said. 
Jolie Boutique is a new shop with local ownership. "Our new shop will cater to the woman with discriminating tastes in fashion," Mrs. Faye Trotter, owner, said. The shop will employ five persons and occupy 3,000 square feet. 
Young Elite, formerly at another Greenville location, will offer apparel for infants through prep boys and teen girls, according to Mrs. Corrie Tavenner, co-owner. The 3,000-square-foot shop will employ five persons. 
Leedean's Dress Shop, owned by Mrs. Hazle Hester, will specialize in women's apparel from junior's sizes through styles for the "contemporary woman." Formerly occupying a site in the Arcade Building, Leedean's will employ four persons. 
Featuring maternity and infant wear, the Stork and Tot Shop will employ five persons. Mrs. Imogene Stewart is the owner of the specialty shop. 
Merle Norman Studio offers a complete cosmetic center for Greenville area ladies, according to Mrs. Diamond Brown, manager. The shop will employ two persons. 
The Yellow Canary, a long-established Greenville gift shop, will feature such items as imported brass, silk and dried flowers, and gifts, as well as a gourmet food section. Operated by Mrs. J. D. Stark, the shop will employ four persons. 
Jimmy Hathcock's Trend House has been open for several weeks in the area between Kent's and the A&P Food Store, but Hatchcock will begin this week with his opening celebration. The furniture and appliance store employs six persons and extends over a 12,000-square-foot area in the Mainstream Mall complex. 
The four stores opening Aug. 17 are L'Nita's, Tonos Jewelry, Shainberg's, The Fair, and Eckerd's Discount Drugs. L'Nita's, specializing in women's ready-to-wear, is owned by Mrs. Onita Kellems and Mrs. Louise Taylor. The shop will employ two persons in its 1,500-square-foot area. 
Tonos Jewelry is owned by Joe Tonos of Leland and will be managed by Jimmy Horton. The jewelry and bridal center features china, silverware, and crystal. Five persons will be employed in the 1,500 square foot store. 
Shainberg's, part of a national department store chain, will employ 15 persons in its 10,500 square feet of floor space. Manager Dennis Moore, originally from Dyersburg, Tenn., came to Greenville from Kosciusko. 
The Fair will open its second Greenville women's specialty shop in the Mainstream Mall. [The text of the article becomes unintelligible at this point, but also mentions Jenkins Pet Shop, Mainstream Music, Riverside Hardware, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, Dobbins Paint, W.T. Grant, Eckerd's Discount Drugs, Hallmark House, and Gulf South Galleries.]

...Much of that article didn't really give us in 2018 any useful information, but my main point in including it was again to reiterate that Mainstream Mall opened mere weeks after Greenville Mall! That's pretty amazing, when you think about it. Anyway, W.T. Grant, for all intents and purposes, seems to have been the sole anchor of the Mainstream Mall. Grant's, of course, went bankrupt and closed all of its stores nationwide just four years later in 1976. One source I found claims that Mainstream Mall lasted all of three years, but another ad I came across begs to differ: it is dated July 13th, 1977, and announces the openings of a slew of new tenants, not least of which is Wal-Mart (which I assume took over the former Grant's space). Wal-Mart would later move further south down Highway 1 - closer to Greenville Mall, in fact - and I would guess it was at that point that Mainstream Mall finally bit the dust. In any case, for those interested, here's the list of tenants from that 1977 ad (with the new tenants for that year underlined):

  • Wal-Mart
  • Dutch Country Family Restaurant
  • Gee Gee's Health Food Store
  • Executive Sales and Marketing Consultants
  • Greenville Shoe Machine
  • Household Finance Corp.
  • United Insurance Co. of America
  • Ventura's Restaurant
  • Happy Daze
  • Snelling and Snelling Personnel
  • A&P Tea Company
  • Audio Services
  • Associates Capital
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Edgar Baker, Accountant
  • Dr. Joe Bennett, D.D.S.
  • BH Trucking Company
  • Book World
  • Central Security and Detective Agency
  • Ceramic Hideaway
  • Contempo Beauty Salon
  • Kent Champion, Accountant
  • Dr. Herman Crowder, Orthodontist
  • Betty Deaton
  • DeAngelo Barber Shop
  • Delta Beauty College
  • Eckerd Drugs
  • Executive Sales Marketing Consultants
  • First National Bank
  • Forty Love Tennis Shoppe
  • Gaines Automotive Center
  • Greenville Bowling Lanes
  • John Glenn Personnel
  • Greenville Art Gallery
  • Independent Life Insurance Company
  • Janous, Fields, and Associates, Engineers
  • Jenkins' Pet Shop
  • Kent's Dollar Store
  • W.L. Kent, Accountant
  • Kwikopy
  • Dr. R.B. King, D.D.S.
  • Leedean's
  • Mainstream Music
  • Mainstream Products
  • Max's Shoes
  • Charles Marctibonks, Accountant
  • Merle Norman Cosmetics
  • Olan Mills
  • Tommy Mills, Architect
  • Monroe Calculator
  • McDonald's
  • Gene Nestler, Accountant
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Otasco
  • Dr. John Portero, Podiatrist
  • Quick Clean Car Wash
  • Rack and Cue
  • Reid-McGee Mortgage Company
  • Retzer and Retzer
  • Revelation Book Store
  • Riverside Hardware
  • Rosella's Laundry
  • Hair Unlimited
  • Sherman's Sports Parlor
  • Trend House
  • Tonos Jewelers
  • Trolter Towing
  • Union National Life Insurance Company
  • Dr. Joe Walker, D.D.S.
  • West Department Store

If you needed dental or tax work done, or maybe wanted to buy some insurance, sounds like Mainstream Mall was the place to go, haha! In all seriousness, that tenant list does admittedly seem much larger than that of the Greenville Mall... but again, Mainstream Mall only had one anchor store compared to Greenville Mall's three, and, of course, Greenville Mall has outlasted Mainstream Mall by a long shot.

The Mainstream Mall property today is apparently dubbed "Delta Plaza Shopping Center," and much of it is in a state of abandonment and disrepair. At this link you'll find a 2013 real estate listing for the property, including a site plan. A portion of the structure has been demolished, and the rest of the main mall building sits empty (to my knowledge), but some of its auxiliary buildings still have tenants, such as the former freestanding Eckerd (which is now a CVS) and the Delta Beauty College (which is still open, believe it or not!).

I think that pretty well wraps things up for this post. Sorry it was so long, but I figured that extra part about the Mainstream Mall was too interesting not to include! Hopefully this will help shed some light on the past- and present-day states of both malls in Greenville, and as always, if you have any additional information or photographs to share, please don't hesitate to do so either in the comments below or via the blog's email address. Be sure to stay tuned for the Greenville Mall JCPenney Liquidation post sometime in the near future, and until then, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell