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Old 05-08-2014, 01:29 PM
9,233 posts, read 19,295,509 times
Reputation: 22252


I recently stopped in Oxford Valley Mall and was appalled at how it's gone so far downhill!

I used to work there in college, and for a while after college (in the 90s) at The Gap, and it was a popular mall with all the popular stores. At the time, it was more a "typical" mall, and didn't necessarily have the more upscale stores. But we Bucks County people could go to Willow Grove mall or to shops in a small borough like Newtown if we wanted to find those. Later around 2000, Oxford Valley did start getting a few nicer retailers in there, like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, etc.

I'm not a big shopper, and since at least 2005, I've done most of my shopping online. But if I need to go to a store in-person, that's pretty much "my" mall. Now it's more than half empty. There is no Gap (I thought it was the law that every mall had to have the Gap!) The one anchor store that used to be Strawbridges and then Boscov's is still empty. Sears is failing. The Macy's store, which used to be nice, is now a trashy dump with clothes all over the floor. Lots of crappy stores have moved in--like countless dollar stores and cheapy-teeny-bopper stores with low quality clothes.

I'm trying to figure out the reason for the mall's demise.

Of course there's the nation-wide economic downturn of recent years. But why just this mall? Neshaminy Mall is nearby, and used to be considered a step below Oxford Valley, and I don't think they are failing. I haven't been inside Neshaminy in a while, but there sure seem to be lots of new stores and restaurants opening up all around the mall; so it must be thriving.

It could be that yes, a lot of people now shop online. I do most of my shopping online, but I've always hated stores. But that can't be what's caused the mall to go downhill. Lots of people I know still LOVE shopping and talk about doing "retail therapy." You'd think all the local "shop-aholics" could keep the place in business.

It's not that the surrounding area is going downhill socioeconomically. There are still upper-middle-class and even affluent towns nearby, and this is still their closest mall. There are still people like me who are not wealthy, but don't necessarily want to shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Kohl's, who might still want better quality clothes that might last for years, and who don't want to drive all the way to Willow Grove or KoP.

The whole Oxford Valley business area seems to be failing--lots of restaurants outside and around the mall closing. One store across the street stood empty until it was bought by a Salvation Army thrift store! Then again, if you drive by around dinner time on a Saturday, all the chain "casual dining" restaurants have lines out the door and 1/2 hour wait for a table.

I just don't get it. Maybe the rent is too high. Maybe all the landlords are in financial trouble themselves, so they jacked up the rents to be too high to be marketable.

I'm not seeing more crime (it would be listed in the newspaper police blotter sections for Middletown Twp), so it's not crime that drove people away like at Franklin Mills.

Anyway, it's sad to see the place go downhill, and it'll be even sadder to see when it finally closes for good. I spent most of my 20s there--working, going to the bars & restaurants all around there, making friends with other people my age who all worked in the mall during or just after college before we got jobs in the real world. It's kind of like that song "Come Dancing" by the Kinks--it kind of makes me cry.

Anyone else see how bad it's gotten?
Anyone know the reasons why this happened?
Anyone else saddened by it, like I am?
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:00 PM
Location: New York City
5,923 posts, read 5,334,930 times
Reputation: 3052
I really don't know anything about the Oxford Valley Mall, but the same could be said for Granite Run Mall in Media. The area surrounding the mall is generally upper middle class, so you would think upscale retailers would thrive there. But it took went downhill over the past decade and was recently sold to a division of Toll Brothers where it will eventually be partially or fully demolished to make way for a town center type setup.

For Granite Run there was just too much competition nearby. Glen Mills is full of upscale retailers in a much nicer setting, Philadelphia is not that far and neither is King of Prussia, so when wealthy people shop elsewhere those retailers will follow, then in comes the dollar bins and the lower crowd that shops at them. It confuses me as well, when the area is very nice but there is a big elephant like that in the middle of it.

In general malls are dying, unless it is a regional destination like King of Prussia that in general caters to the very wealthy, but your average town mall is dying out, and being replaced by the the walkable town centers and downtown shopping districts.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:08 PM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
2,377 posts, read 2,652,870 times
Reputation: 1487
This seems like an Obama / Bush issue. All malls across america went down hill in between what seems to be the period you're talking about.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:26 PM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
8,702 posts, read 12,162,448 times
Reputation: 3578
Malls across the US are declining as suburbs are also becoming less appealing to Millennial s. Shopping is becoming more of a trend in Downtown areas and online and malls are feeling the affect of that. While the Philly area still has some great malls, malls on the decline is a common thing around the country, and is certainly not something unique to Bucks County or the Philadelphia area.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:42 PM
50 posts, read 72,453 times
Reputation: 48
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
This seems like an Obama / Bush issue. All malls across america went down hill in between what seems to be the period you're talking about.
Thanks, Obama
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:43 PM
9,233 posts, read 19,295,509 times
Reputation: 22252
It just seems weird that some malls still seem to be doing very well, while others are ghost towns full of discount stores.

Again, I'm not a "shopper" like lots of women, but if I'm forced to go shopping for something, like if I need an outfit for some event, I'd much rather go to a place where I can be indoors and go from store to store with a roof over my head, no rain, climate control. I see all these outdoor shopping centers now that are replacing the malls, but I can't figure out why people prefer those to malls. You have to walk outside, in the rain, excessive heat, wind, cold, to go from one store to another. No food court, no place to sit down.

God, in my teens (and pre-teens) the mall was the best place to hang out with friends and meet other kids your age. I can't see that happening in an outdoor shopping center. Where do teens hang? No wonder they're all getting into trouble, freebasing bath salts & whatnot

I can't imagine wanting to go into a city to go shopping over a local mall! Yech! Drive into the city, fight horrible traffic, pay like $25 to park, and pay higher prices just because of where the store is located. Then try to get out before nightfall and get safely to your car, then fight horrible traffic home. Maybe for some special occasion/outing it's fun to shop in NYC or Center City Philly, but to just get an outfit? Hell no.

And I just thought of something else. Where will all the old people do their power-walking? That started to become HUGE in the late 90s, and now there are even more old people, with the baby boom cohort aging & all. They can't possibly all be walking outside. Where I live, fall and spring are tolerable, but summer is deathly humid and winter is miserable.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:49 PM
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,909 posts, read 12,653,474 times
Reputation: 2634
If you don't reinvest people will avoid you. Citizens dont want to walk around in a dingy 50 year old mall.

The Malls that were built in the 60's + 70's are outdated , neglected and just about obsolete. They have a certain pall about them that actually helps taint an attractive area like the Granite Run has done to Glen Riddle/Media/Middletown.Of course there are occasional exceptions like King of Prussia where the mall does work.

The Granite Run Mall is in a more affluent area than Oxford Valley and KOP and its been disowned by the area residences but does seem to attract populace from a lower socio economic class. The area of the Granite Run Mall should be filled with new apartments,housing,retail but its like stuck in some type of weird time warp that resists modernization and change. IMO the mall is helping to persuade reinvestment in the area.

Cherry Hill just built a new Outdoor Town Center on Rt 70 that is absolutely thriving and has spurred new residential townhomes and apartments. That could be happening in Oxford Valley and Media but it ultimately comes down to the REITs that owns the malls .
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:39 PM
Location: The City
22,358 posts, read 32,670,765 times
Reputation: 7786
I am pretty sure the Oxford Valley Mall was in a scene in the Day After Tomorrow actually

Anyone remember the food place called Choo-Choo there - was replaced by a rain forrest Cafe then who knows Haven't been inside this mall in probably 20 years.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:48 PM
Location: Philly
9,958 posts, read 14,264,335 times
Reputation: 2724
you cant make money off power walking oldheads and kids freebasing in the food court. online shopping is killing brick and mortar. were overmalled. id say uniqlo is a good example of which malls are thriving. theyre opening three stores, kop, center city , willow grove. exton malls anchor tenant is main line health. why go to a food court when west chester is nearby ?
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:14 PM
Location: Philadelphia
1,042 posts, read 1,259,296 times
Reputation: 471
"Power walking oldheads." LOL!
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