Steinbach Unearthed!

November 1994 shot of Steinbach's inside Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Michael, one of our readers, sent us some historic 1986 and 1994 photos of the soon-to-be-demolished Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, just outside of Atlantic City, (as well as two shots of the now-horrifying River Roads Mall in Jennings, MO). All three shots are pretty cool, but I’m especially excited about the unearthing of the photo above–a shot of the departed Asbury Park-based department store chain Steinbach, memories of which seem to have disappeared almost completely right along with the chain in 1999. I never even got to go inside of one of these, but I remember they had some very mysterious New England locations (like Concord, NH, South Burlington, VT and Waterford, CT) that mystefied me even then.

This actually is a good time to share a photo set that I took of the former Steinbach store in Waterford, CT, just over the border from neighboring New London on US1. These shots were taken in early March 2007, and are of the former “Waterfall Place,” a very strange old strip mall-enclosed mall hybrid that once hosted Steinbach as its main anchor, along with a very small enclosed mall on its second level. Today, the long-vacant Steinbach has been redeveloped with a Sav-A-Lot food store on the first level and a Planet Fitness on the second floor, although its plaza is as curious as ever despite attempts to renovate. The second level of the Steinbach building, which once housed a small enclosed mall connecting from the strip mall, over the Steinbach store, and then down a set of stairs into the back/side entrance of Steinbach, has been cleaned up and reopened to the public, so today it’s possible to get inside and witness a truly strange piece of retail. It also sports a location of Rhode Island-based Benny’s Home & Auto Stores, whose survival continues to beat the odds, and which we wrote about last August. Check it out:

Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT

Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT

Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT

Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT

Inside the second level:

Inside the former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT Inside the former Steinbach at Waterfall Place in Waterford, CT

25 Responses to “Steinbach Unearthed!”

  1. Google sure doesn’t seem to acknowledge this place’s existence…

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  2. Caldor, what a find!

    Regarding the Benny’s in this shopping center, it appears as if it was a former A&P (that was actually recently built; the reason why a such a recently built store would have closed is because A&P closed most of its New England stores in 2003). Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Also, I always wondered why Steinbach stores tended to be rather small in size. (This is also the case with The Bon-Ton as well.) The reason why I find this odd is because most mid-range department stores (including Boscov’s, Dillard’s, Macy’s, and most of the defunct chains that Macy’s replaced) are among the largest stores at the mall.

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  3. Some of their stores were really small. A good example of this was in the Pyramid Mall in Ithaca, where the store was maybe 25,000 square feet at most, and was nothing more than an extended storefront along one of the corridors (between the Cafe Square and J. C. Penney’s) store with no dedicated external entrance. When the store closed, in the mid 80′s it was converted into 3 stores and 2 or 3 movie theater screening rooms.

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  4. I remember Steinbach well…some of the stores were small, especially in NJ, specifically the store in the now defunct Manalapan Mall. The 1 level Steinbach and the small wing attached was supposed to be the 1st stage of the mall followed by a Macy’s Sears and JCPenney…however, the expansion never happened, the Freehold Raceway Mall was built and Manalapan Mall is now a power strip center with Target and Wegman’s. When the Newark-based Orbach’s closed, Steinbach took over those stores and was present in two of NJ’s most profitable malls, Woodbridge Center and Willowbrook Mall. When the chain closed down, those two locations became Lord and Taylor, but the smaller mall locations (Seaview Square, Bergen Mall, Manalapan Mall) became Value City.

    A true blast from the past.

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  5. IIRC, Seaview Square was a pretty large store for Steinbach’s. It may not have been truly profitable, but it’s a pretty big store. The store at Brick Plaza in Brick (my home town) was much smaller, and did a veritable ton of business.

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  6. I remember the Seaview Square Steinbach vividly…it was one of the nicer ones in the chain and was always fairly modern-looking than the others.

    On Seaview Square, it was very sad to see this place de-malled. I attribute it to the following:

    - its location-while at a busy traffic circle, it has very little visibility from route 35 and can be easily missed from route 18. It was visible, slightly, from route 66, but no traffic signs gave a good heads up on the turnoff (“Shopping Center” is very vague and I always thought if the visibility stinks, put the name of the shopping center on the sign)

    - Its REIT: They were unable to successfully market the mall as an alternative to Monmouth Mall and as a result, it could not attract big name leases. Because of this, people had little reason to come here. The mall could have easily been expanded and fully leased if the REIT put some time into the place.

    - Movie theater as an outparcel: There used to be a small movie theater along the route 66 entrance, near the current locations of Applebees and WJLK. When malls have movie theaters as outparcels and not attached to the malls, there will be little reason or want for customers to visit the mall…Monmouth Mall, GS Plaza, and basically every mall that has a movie theater attached to it has realized this potential.

    -Lack of dining options: A few fast food places and a food court with little access (only from the 2nd floor and they could have put a mall entrance in it to give it more visibility). To my memory, there were no sit down restaurants either….during this time Monmouth Mall had 4 or 5.

    I miss the old Seaview Square, before the 1990s renovation…even before the Center Court remodel of the late 1980s. The mall was classic and had a character to it that Monmouth Mall was missing.

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  7. Does anyone know where I can find vintage photos of the Talking Christmas Tree at the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor,NJ and also photos of the Space Port arcade in Shore Mall and also does anyone know the name of the old pizza place in the Sears Town Mall,this was before it was called Shore Mall?

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  8. I loved the store in Waterford.

    and that Shopping Center just recently got renovated thats why it looks so new the Benny’s been there for ages

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  9. I am looking for vintage photos of the following department stores in the Atlantic County NJ area and they are:Mr.Big,Two Guys(West Atlantic City),Robert Hall,S & H Green Stamp Store,Woolworth 5/10.

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    Dolores Busnardo Reply:

    @Edward Crean Jr,

    Did you ever get a photo of Mr. Big? I’m trying to locate the manager of the Mr. Big store in Bridgeton NJ . His name is Jack McDonald or McDonnell. He manager the store approx. 1958 – 1964. Would be grateful for any information. Thanks, DB

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    Edward Crean Jr Reply:

    @Dolores Busnardo, No i am still searching for photos of Mr.Big

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  10. I loved Seaview Square Mall. It was the closest to my house being I lived in Neptune. The Steinbachs was a gorgeous store, but lacked character and charm of the beautiful clasically styled grand one in Downtown Asbury Park that relocated here.

    Seaview had a doomed fate from the beginning. My Mom’s Cousin went to the grand opening of the Mall, and a man was stabbed in the Steinbach Parking lot. He staggered into the Stienbach store for help when he then colapsed, right at her feet near the escalator. I don’t recall if he passed away or was dead at the scene. But..what a beginning! Whew!

    This did nat keep me away from this mall. I loved this Mall, loved it’s size. And had great anchors. Sears, Sterns and Steinbachs,

    I loved the Food court in this mall. All your places to eat located together. Monouth Mall was older, so it had not adapted this concept yet. Seaview was the 1st time I EVER heard of a Chick-fil-a. Monmouth Mall never had one (does now however in the New Food Court it built). My favorite Scicilian Pizza was served by a great lil pizzaria that I unfortunately can’t recall the name of. I would make trips into that mall many a day after school just to grab a slice from there!

    Seaview had a great McCrory’s and a great Aladin’s Castle arcade. And Seaview had a lot of stores that weren’t so frequent in malls. It had an EXCELLENT Record Shop on the lower level called Record World (a TSS Record Shop? Been too long to remember if that’s correct), where I bought LOTS of my music at. And upstairs was a Listening Booth record shop as well! Next door to Record World was a great hobby type store where I got many art supplies for highschool.

    Gizmos was a restaurant you could sit down and eat at, and it had an arcade too! Bonaza restaurant was also upstirs which was also a sit down and eat near Sears. Gizmo’s had a tie in with Warner Bros. Lots of Looney Tunes imagery and mascots.

    At Christmas they had the Talking Reindeer. I rememeber telling them I wanteed to find Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinati fame) under my tree christmas morning, and they did not respond! LOL

    Mom would always run in and get things for the house at a store called Karen’s Kurtains. It was upstairs not too far from McCrory and Aladin’s Castle in the Steinbach wing.

    There was a cool Rock N Roll/Musical Instrument shop downstairs in the Sears wing. It was near Rite Aid and across from Some bank near the escalator that was on a corner with a walk through bee hive for the entrance. And it had one of the 1st MAC machines I remember.

    I loved the huge theatre that was out in front of the mall. It preceeeeded the mall by quite a few years. It was not built specifically to go with this mall. It was renamed to go along with the mall. Later it became a multi-plex, but before then, it had one HUGE screen! It was the best place to see Star Wars or any loud action movie! This is what I missa bout movie going. These new multi-plexes have smaller screens.

    There was another smaller mall built to the east of this mall. It contained Acme (a grocery store). and a drug store of some kind as well. I don’t think the few other retail spots were ever filled. It was built at the same time. I think that buliding survived the demolishing of Seaview and the properties redevelopement. But I have no idea what occupies it.

    I sure would love to see this mall honored on this site with some photos. I would love to see some then and now images to compare. I do look at it every now and then using Google earth and compare from my memory. But photos would be so appreciated!

    If Labelscar does creat section dedicated to this missed mall, I would love to have this blog moved to it’s page.

    I ask all of you to please share your Seaview Quare Mall Memories with us!

    Thanks!

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  11. I know exactly the pizza place you are talking about @ seaview center court cosimos that pizza suxed I always had the runs after eating that lol but to be back on topic the steinbach store there we always went to one of my aunts even worked there in the late 80′s

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  12. The Pizza sucked there? It may have changed owners or managers being I do not recall it ever being called Cosimos. I frequented Seaview from the day it opened till I moved from the area in 1984. I visited once in 1994 when back in Jersey for a visit and the Pizza place as I remember it was not there at that time at all. The mall was pretty close to vacant in my 94 visit. So, it looks like you were getting different pizza there altogether.

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  13. Is this mall demolished?

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  14. We had a Steinbachs in the Newburgh Mall, Newburgh NY..late 80s to early 90s. Shopped for Bongo jeans, Lauren colonge and Swatch watches there! Ahh the memories! I agree, it’s hard to find any information on this store.

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  15. Yes, Seaview Square Mall was sadly demolished with the exception of the Sears and Steinbach anchor buildings.

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  16. That upstairs part of Waterfall was gimped even in the late ’70′s – I went up there a few times when my mother was shopping in the Howland’s and I recall it being pretty empty.

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  17. This is a picture I took of the Manalapan Mall location as it looks today.

    [IMG]http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo114/Acallforaction/Archived%20Manalapan%20Mall%20Photos/100_8351.jpg[/IMG]

    It’s going out of business. The Value City company declared bankruptcy recently. The fate of the building is unknown

    Inside is very plain, the back is walled off and the bathroom area remains unchanged from the old mall. The day they demolish the building is the day the Manalapan Mall truly dies, as it lived on through Value City, MM’s last remaining store.

    [IMG]http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo114/Acallforaction/Archived%20Manalapan%20Mall%20Photos/100_8381.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo114/Acallforaction/Archived%20Manalapan%20Mall%20Photos/100_8380.jpg[/IMG]

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  18. YAY!!! Someone else remembered the talking Reindeer! I used to L-O-V-E that mall!! I think Gizmos was before my time. I’m 30, and I may just not remember it. I do know there was a hot dog stand and pizza and chick fil A and TCBY and I forget what else. I used to love Mcrory’s and Spencer gifts. I remember going in there once when I was like 9 and they had like a pair of plastic boobs in the window! OMG! I couldn’t stop laughing for days! From then on my mom would steer me clear of that window display, because they were always there!

    It got kinda ghetto ish towards the end. Lots of knock off shoe stores and cheap clothing. Discount book stores, and a car detailing store, with all those fancy things for cars. I remember this one foreign guy ran a collectible store, and for the grand opening he was walking around the store handing out like little puff pastries and WINE to little kids!

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  19. The pizza place in the Seaview Square mall food court was Rizzo’s! At least that was the name of it in the mall’s heyday, it may have changed ownership and its name later on.

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  20. The Waterford location used to be a Howland’s, which I seem to recall also had a location at the Norwichtown Mall, which closed when Steinbach took it over.

    I remember the shopping bags said Howland Steinbach for a couple of years, and then Howland Steinbach Hothschild–I don’t know if those were the names of the chain or all the store brands owned by the parent company. But it took awhile for the sign at Waterfall Center to become Steinbach.

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  21. What was the name of the small restaurant that was located over top of Steinbach,i have been trying to think of the name for a long time and came up with nothing???

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  22. Hi, I worked as a buyer for Howland-Steinbach in the 80′s, at the corporate office in Elmsford NY.
    What a great group of people, both in store-line and corporate!
    Any former colleagues remember those days?
    -Anita

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  23. Steinbach really takes me back. I remember shopping there as a kid at the now long gone Orange Plaza Mall in Middletown, NY. if you search Orange Plaza Commercial c1990 on You Tube- about 20 seconds in it has a shot of the old Steinbach there (and some great shots of old school stores, like the Hickory Farms). I remember when Steinbach moved to the Galleria at Crystal Run across the street – always thought it was odd as it was the only anchor with one level and they had the hardest time filling the second floor – it was a Home Image by Lechmere and then a MCO (Macy’s Close Out). It’s now an H&M and the Steinbach is a Dick’s. They also had a really small one as the third anchor at the Newburgh Mall which became an Old Navy.

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