Pierre Moran Mall; Elkhart, Indiana

Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN

Elkhart, Indiana is a cozy medium-sized city of about 50,000 people located all the way at the top of Indiana, right in the middle of the state.  It’s literally right next to South Bend and a little over 100 miles east of Chicago on the Indiana Toll Road (I-80/90).  If you ever played a musical instrument in school, like I did, chances are you have run across the Selmer name.  It’s from here, and so are numerous Recreational Vehicle manufacturers.  So much so, that Elkhart is known as the RV capital of the world. 

If you aren’t yet impressed by now with rows of brass piled side by side with rows of campers, Elkhart probably has something more up your alley.  Pierre Moran Mall was not only weirdly named, but one of the most dated relics of a shopping center in the whole area.  That is, until it failed, closed and was demolished last year (Spring 2006).   

Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, INOpened in 1958 as a strip mall, Pierre Moran Mall was enclosed in the 1970s and became Elkhart’s first real mall.  In early days, the mall featured a W.T. Grant, then later on Chicago-based Carson Pirie Scott and Indianapolis-based Ayr-Way (Discount store of L.S. Ayres), and most recently it had Kroger, Big Lots, CVS, Target, and a Sears.  But by the turn of the century the mall’s age and lack of renovation took its toll, and Target took off for greener pastures south of Elkhart along U.S. 33.  Kroger and Sears agreed to stay, but the 416,000 square foot mall had to go.  In 2004, this new project got a name: Woodland Crossing.  I think The NecroKonicon, which appears to be a lexicon of inside jokes and information relating to this area, says it best: “…as if that will magically make new shoppers flock to the complex to shop with the added convenience of having to walk outside more.”  Apparently by demolishing what was there and renaming it, they’ll trick woo shoppers into coming back.  Though, according to the developer’s site plan, the stores aren’t coming in droves.  Hmm.

So what really killed this mall?  I would argue both competition and lack of support from its management put the nails in the coffin here at Pierre Moran Mall.  South Bend, which is the center of the entire Michiana region, is a mere 15 miles away, and there is a huge concentration of every Big Box store imaginable centered around the University Park Mall in Mishawaka.  Even though Elkhart and Goshen residents complain and would rather have these stores open locally, the stores’ bottom lines don’t support this.  In addition, even local competition aided in sealing Pierre Moran’s fate.  Throughout the past decade or so, many of the newer and more popular chain stores have gravitated south along U.S. 33 between Elkhart and Goshen, which is today a huge strip.  Elkhart’s Concord Mall, which is a great deal more successful than Pierre Moran ever was, is along this corridor, though it too is very dated and in need of some love.  Also, Concord Mall is not far from Pierre Moran; both were on the south side on opposing sides of the U.S. 20 Bypass.  Finally, management is somewhat to blame for allowing Pierre Moran to go fallow, with absolutely no renovation or repositioning efforts from when the mall was enclosed in the 1970s to when it was torn down in 2006.

Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, INCaldor and I first visited Pierre Moran Mall punchdrunk at the end of a long trip through western Michigan in Fall 1998, though we weren’t able to go in due to the lateness of the hour.  I finally returned with digital camera in hand during the Summer of 2001, and snapped these pictures.  I did also manage to make it back at least once since, and as soon as I find those pictures I’ll post them as well.  I also have a few specific questions for the comments.  Who was (is?) Pierre Moran?  What was the specific chronology of the anchor roster?  And, how do locals feel about the new development?  The Internets suggest that people aren’t warming up too quickly. 

Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN

Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, IN

94 thoughts on “Pierre Moran Mall; Elkhart, Indiana”

  1. Wow. That is one ancient looking Target. This is probably one of the stores the company isn’t so proud of… after all Target strives upon its hip standing in the retail world. I’ll bet its been remodeled since.

  2. Ugh, a Big Lots. Sure sign of a dying mall is when a Big Lots is an anchor!

  3. Okay, anchor chronology:

    WT Grant – closed 1970s, became Carson’s
    Carson Pirie Scott – closed 1980s, became Target
    Target – closed 2000s, torn down

    G. L. Perry Dime Store – became Big Lots

    Kline’s Department Store – became US Factory Outlets
    US Factory Outlets – closed 2000s with chain

    Hook’s Drugs – became CVS?
    CVS – moved to parking lot

  4. Oh yeah, and there never was an LS Ayres at Pierre Moran, at least not that I know of.

  5. Huh, someone on Wikipedia thought there was an Ayr-Way there, which was L.S. Ayres’ discount store from 1961-1981. But you are right, it wasn’t a full-line L.S. Ayres.  Also according to Wikipedia, all of the Ayr-Way stores became Targets in 1981.  So maybe that’s how Target got there?  Wikipedia also contradicts itself by saying the Grant’s/Carson’s eventually became Target too.  Maybe someone in the area knows for sure what happened. 

  6. That “someone” who thought that Pierre Moran had an Ayr-Way was me. But I’ve been told by people in the area that PMM never had Ayr Way — it did indeed go Grant’s->Carson’s->Target.

  7. The “B” hanging off of “abuse” is depressing and slightly ironic. (in the first pic)

  8. Nice, nice to see this mall get the labelscar treatment. I’m from the area, although I don’t recall ever visiting the mall, there were 4 malls closer to me, and this mall didn’t have much going for it, and was in a downtrodden and ghetto area.

    I am fairly sure the anchor history is accurate. I know around 2003-04, the Target was briefly some kind of country music hall. Toward the end of Pierre Moran’s run, they had a lot of Hispanic businesses be tenants. As far as I know (haven’t looked at any old phone books yet), the mall never had many national tenants outside of anchors. For some reason, they had that dumpy Finish Line (was probably around before they exploded, as they are Indiana-based). I have a spreadsheet of store rosters from Michiana area malls (Scottsdale, University Park, Concord, Orchards) if interested. Info on Pierre Moran has been hard to come by.

    Also, check out archive.org versions of http://www.elkhartsucks.com and http://www.pierremoranmall.biz for some more pics and info.

  9. The ugly blue facing was probably just as ugly and cheap looking in the 70s as now. If the Grants dates back to the 50s, it would have been small for a Carsons or target–did it get expanded at some point. Their “Grant City” stores (which came later) would have been more viable for conversion to Carson’s or Target. Hook’s was bought by SuperX (Kroger) in the 80s and subsequently sold to Revco which, of course, became CVS.

    If it’s attracting Rent-A-center and retaining Big Lots, this doesn’t seem like a place with great potential.

  10. Ah, my old hometown’s second-tier mall. Thanks for the link back to my site, btw.

    The blue awning is a recent addition, too – they used to be some ugly puke color, and got that blue slapped on them maybe a decade ago. The awning shown isn’t the actual entrance to the Target; the target had its main entrance on one side of the mall, and a small portal back by its snack bar that fed into the rest of the mall. At least two of the mall’s other entrances had big Target signs, but if you came in that door, you’d have to walk all the way across the mall to get to Target.

    Also, there are probably a few other issues that factor into its demise that I’m too lazy to research. One, I am sure land south on US-33 is cheaper; it’s also not in the city proper, so there might be some tax incentives or breaks if you want to build a big box out there. More room for parking, too. Also factor in that the area around Pierre Moran is pretty scary and right on the edge of the projects, which probably scares more than a few god fearin’ hoosiers into shopping at a Wal-Mart south of town.

    If they were smart, they’d give the land back to the Pottowatami Indians and let them open a casino.

  11. You can just barely make out that ‘classic’ script Sears signage in the first and the second pic in the first teir of images.

    Odd how they didn’t bother to update the exterior signs, yet they’ll throw up their 1984-era logo up on the interior. That’s an inverse of that mall posted here last year where its JCPenney had the current signage outside, but boasted the old ‘Penneys’ for the interior.

    Definitly late 1970s stylings all over the mall interior too. I noticed something else though. The outside has some stores with exterior entrances, creating sort of a hybrid ‘strip / enclosed’ format. I wouldn’t have as many issues as I do with big boxes and their accompanying strip centers if they used this format. Oh well, I can always dream.

  12. D’oh! My mistake. What I mistook for a Sears is a Kroger. Went back and re-read what was posted about the mall. Not often you find Sears stores that only have interior access.

  13. Looks like several generations of Kroger stores. The US Factory Outlets appears to be a 70s super store. Then the greenhouse and now the “brickhouse”. I’ wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Lots started as a Kroger. Some Kroger divisions have been successful in “urban” locations, like Atlanta and Kroger tends to operate very defensively. There must be some retail potential if they were willing to stay and build a new store. If they’re just trying to hold market share with a weak store, they usually don’t make much investment in the stores.

  14. The US Factory Outlets was never a Kroger that I know of, and neither was the Big Lots. I’m guessing that the greenhouse store might have actually been a 1950s era store that got greenhoused at some point. As I stated above, Big Lots was GL Perry’s, and US Factory was Kline’s.

  15. Pretty sure the US Factory Outlets opened in the mid 90s, and the Kroger was always a Kroger, till the day it was torn down when the new one was built. Bobby’s anchor history is pretty much accurate. I have no idea what Kline’s was, probably some local chain, it closed in the mall around 1990. GL Perry was a local dime store chain around northern Indiana and southwest Michigan, they probably had about 20 stores at their peak, mostly in shopping centers/plazas, this is the only mall location I know of. They dwindled in the mid-late 1990s, with the Niles, Michigan store the last to remain, till around 2000.

    I wonder if someone could make a map of the mall area, I could never figure out how it was setup. I know there was an area phone book (The Best Book) in the mid 90s that had maps of all the area malls.

  16. Also, when did the mall get torn down? I think it was done in 2 parts, reading articles, some appears to have been torn down in Fall 05, but some was still standing as of march 06, and as the blog link shows, it was torn a little more in April.

  17. Maple Hill Mall in Kalamazoo also had a GL Perry’s. I wish I had thought of savi9ng the images from the mall’s old website at pierremoranmall.biz, even though their map was REALLY blurry.

  18. I visited this mall in 2003 and 2004.

    The Sears indeed did have exterior entrances. They were on the west side of the store. I do not recall any entrances on the east side of the store.

    There was a mall entrance next to Sears on the west side of the corridor, and entrance opposite Target, and, and the entrance opposite Sears.

  19. That picture with the Target, you could have made it black and white and said it was from the late 60s…I would have believed it.

  20. i went to this mall twice i also do have some photos but thay dont show much different than what you have. i think this mall bigest problems is its location it was not that easy to find and i got lost, looking for it. the concord mall was much easar to find and also has a lot better ancor stores what i cant figer out is why when wards closed at concord, sears did not move there .it wood have been a lot better for them but who can figer out sears.

  21. I’ve lived just outside of Elkhart all my life, and no one I knew ever went to this mall. It was always considered the ‘ghetto’ mall and was largely ignored. Concord Mall on the other hand is one of my favorite malls, and according to their website they’re building a new food court and on my last visit there was a lot of subway signage so it’ll be interesting to see if that ever gets going.

    If Michiana Native would like to email me that spreadsheet of the store rosters of the Michiana mall (greenindy88@yahoo.com) i’d owe you one.

  22. I totally second your comment 100%, Jonah N., about Pierre Moran. The exterior of this mall just makes me wanna nearly puke, too, but the interior is another story(a nicely preserved 70’s-era mall, I’d guess from the late-70s, if I had to guess what part of the 1970s it became enclosed).

    I’d love to know what that U.S. Factory Outlet store used to be, before that opened in the 1990s. Does anyone know what it used to be?

    And wow, I thought the former Target in Richmond, IN(the mid-sized town my brother goes to college in, inbetween Indianapolis and Dayton, OH) was a very small and dingy store, but the Pierre Moran/Elkhart location must’ve taken the cake even more for being dingy!

    It sure didn’t seem like this mall ever saw many national chains operating inside the mall, if ever(other than the anchor stores being national, a la Target + Kroger). It seems like this’d be the type of mall to get an On Cue store(such as what Sam Goody opened up in very tiny malls in place of a Sam Goody store, a la the one at the mall(forget the name) this blog recently talked about in Sturgeon Bay, WI)….

  23. I lived in the Michiana area for several years, so I can provide you the scoop on some of the stores pertaining to Pierre Moran Mall.

    In the mid-Seventies, the mall had among its tenants Thom McAn, Gallenkamp shoes, So-Fro Fabrics, Motherhood Maternity, Orange Bowl, Parklane Hoisery, Bresler’s Ice Cream, Karmelkorn shoppe, S&S Pet Stop, Amy fashions, Harmony House of Music/Suspended Chord, Pants Port, Mr. Smorgasboard, Top Value Stamps, and even a branch of the Elkhart Public Library.

    Ziesel’s, a local department store, was the first tenant in the Kline’s department store space. When Ziesel’s closed up shop, Kline’s took it over, only to be supplanted by U.S. Factory Outlets.

    Some stores relocated to Concord Mall, while others shuttered their doors.
    It was “Grant City” – Carsons – Target for the progression for that anchor space. In fact, the mall initially tried but failed to get L.S Ayres to open a store in the mall, which is why Grant City took up residence there.

    Ironically, Carsons was acquired by the Bon-Ton chain, which also owns the Elder-Beerman chain, which in turn has a store in Concord Mall.

  24. I’d like to add a quick correction, BEFORE there was Target in the Target spot, was a Service Merchandise. It didn’t last very long, it came after Carson Pirie scott left and was SM, then sat empty for a year or two before Target came @ 1985. I distinctly remember this because my parents always dragged me to the crap malls, never to the big malls like UP and Glenbrook where all the cool people got to go…anyway, I remember hating SM because they didn’t carry a cool toy section…

    I also remember, in the Sear’s wing, there was the hallmark, Newell’s (old lady clothing) Fashion bug, 5-10-15-20 place, store for teens, and a costume jewelry store called Trendy.

  25. Actually if I recall correctly, those weren’t the only vacancies. I remember they had a REALLY blurred map (purple on blue, impossible to read); from what I could tell , about 2/3 the mall was actually vacant then.

  26. That’s actually an impressive roster of stores that Pierre Moran had in the 70s. But also consider that Concord was taking shape and there was no University Park yet, so it must have been a slow, hard fall. I wonder how many storefronts Pierre Moran had, obviously, the mall is in the 400-450K sq. ft range, with quite a few larger stores (Big Lots/Kroger (does that count in the footage?)/Sears/US Factory/Target), it had, I’ll guess, 30-40 storefronts outside of anchors?

    It strikes me funny that the Elkhart malls were allegedly far more superior in the 80s or so than today. I don’t think Concord is in all that bad of shape. I know Concord has fell somewhat in the last few decades, but I wish I could see a store directory from like the late 80s or so, just to compare with today. I get the impression that Concord was fairly strong throughout the 80s, but Scottsdale was tumbling fast I’ve sent that Michiana malls excel file around, so I have some clues, I’m just curious. Did either of the Elkhart malls ever have any of those 80s chain teen clothing stores owned by Merry-Go-Round or Edision Brothers? I know Concord had a Chess King.

    And I’ve never heard of Service Merchandise in Pierre Moran, it makes sense tho. Carsons must have been there maybe 5 years tops.

  27. I’d say 50 stores or so, I seem to recall a handful of tiny stores though. This would probably include the 10 or so storefronts in the “front” of the mall (the part that was originally a strip).

  28. I am fairly certain that there was no mall/interior entrance to the Kroger. I think that the Kroger in the pics was built in the 70s/80s and added on to the mall complex, and there may have been another Kroger location in that area even before that.

  29. Damn, I always forget that Scottsdale Mall in the greater South Bend-Elkhart-Goshen area used to exist! I just looked at the entry for Scottsdale on deadmalls.com and was wondering, what occurred with the site that mall stood on? Was it redeveloped into a strip mall or some other type of shopping center, or for a different purpose(i.e. houses/townhomes, etc.)?

  30. Scottsdale got torn in 2004/5, and they pretty much have turned it into a outdoor shopping center/plaza called Erskine Village. I haven’t been to it yet, but I know it has a SuperTarget, Lowe’s, Walmart, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, a few holdovers from the mall, like EBGames, Chik-Fil-A, Radio Shack and Claire’s. Bunch of restaurants like ColdStone, Panera, Hacienda and the like. I think Circuit City might go in soon, and there’s probably more room to boot. Glad to see business on that side of town, but I still think the mall could have been saved if they had got less stingy on finding a replacement anchor. But that’s for another day.

    I did take some photos of Scottsdale in late 2003, and if I can figure a way to transfer them from my old hard drive to my laptop, I will send them away and hope they can be featured here sometime.

  31. I should’ve figured that Scottsdale was turned into a shopping center, it’s just beforehand, I could find very little about what became of Scottsdale Mall post-demolition. Thanks for profiling what succeeded that mall, though it’s still sad to me that Scottsdale couldn’t have been saved.

  32. One of the last times I was in Pierre Moran Mall (other than to go to the license branch) was when target was getting ready to move out. I have fond memories of this mall, from the GL Perry’s, to the Card and Book store, to the Video Movie Centre (when video rental memberships were a luxury at $49.99 for a lifetime membership).

    I like the layout of the Woodland Crossings, but I am surprised how slowly stores are to go in there. The new Kroger is pretty nice.

  33. I also must add that in the early 90s, they did do a little renovating inside the mall. They added several new seating areas, a small indoor fountain, and new ceiling textures (mostig around the new seating areas). So it didn’t stay *completely* the same since the 70s.

  34. QUOTE: “Did either of the Elkhart malls ever have any of those 80s chain teen clothing stores owned by Merry-Go-Round or Edision Brothers? I know Concord had a Chess King.”

    Not Really. Pierre Moran only had Fashion Bug and the $5-20 store. Concord used to have County Seat, Foxmoor, Deb (still there last I knew) Sycamore, Chess King, and a locally owned store, ( I don’t recall the name) near the MCL Cafeteria that used to sell popular brands like Quiksilver, Big Johnson, Sex Wax, and Bum Equipment. There was a LOT of older women’s clothing stores that are no longer there too.

  35. Thanks for posting that info, a big help to this spreadsheet I’m working on about area malls. Another lead told me about that surf shop by MCL as well. Pretty sure Deb is still there, I know Sycamore closed around 95-96. I’m too lazy/cheap, or maybe smart 🙂 to go to a library or such to find out this info for myself.

  36. I had posted some sort of store directory for Erskine Village, and I flubbed a little. There’s another plaza nearby that has the Wal-Mart and Lowes called Erskine Commons. That’s not on the former mall site, but around the intersection of Ireland & Michigan/IN-933.

    Other stores at Erskine Village (former Scottsdale Mall site) include a Cici’s Pizza, DSW Shoe Warehouse and a Texas Roadhouse.

  37. Wow…I grew up in the Elkhart/Goshen area and left in 1999. It’s amazing what happened in that time; I haven’t been back there since ’05. I knew Scottsdale was going under (I always liked their elevators!) but not PMM. That mall is part of my history. It always got a bum rap. It was almost as nice on the inside as Concord.

    I definitely remember G.L. Perry’s (there was one in Goshen too). I think part of what became Big Lots was Ladies’ Designer Outlet, or something like that.

    However, PMM’s men’s room had a bad reputation…those who remember will know what I’m talking about and for a while led to a branch of the Elkhart PD being placed in the mall across from the restrooms.

    I agree that University Park Mall was probably the “killer” for the smaller malls…go on Grape Road and you can find almost anything you need, but be prepared to deal with traffic. It’s probably worse than when I was last there in ’05.

    I’d STILL rather go to PMM than Wal-Mart! It was an injustice that the Midway Drive-In got torn down to put a stupid Wal-Mart in.

  38. Sears had entrances on every side of the store-north south east and west.The east one is no longer in use and one of the old north entrances is also not in use. That bright blue roof was a dark brown originally I believe–and they had flat indian head signs at the mall entrances that had neon lighting around the outside of them.(sort of reddish in color) Before the 90’s renovation there were big carved wooden indians in the central court area where the fountain would later be. G.L. Perry’s also had an additional rear entrance.
    It was really nice then—Concord Mall was pretty trendy in the day too–unusual architecture in some of the stores–some as I recall even had doors that you actually had to open to get in. Some had stone or brick or wood on the outside. Milady Shop was one that you had to step down into. Newmans had a loft area accessed by a large staircase. I have been in this space — recently,it has been closed forever, and the orange shag carpet circa 1970-something is still there.

  39. I used to live north of the Elkhart area, and my memory of the mall was when the Palm sunday tornado hit that area back in 1963. I believe just outside of the malls main auto entrance there is a concrete bridge on the main road going north into Elkhart, and south into Dunlap.
    During that tornado many peoples lives where saved by hiding under that bridge. It’s been many years since I have been there but that memory is still burned in my memory forever.
    Sorry to hear the old mall is just history now.

  40. Recently, I got some scans from a few old editions of the Directory of Major Malls which have clued me in on some former stores in the area malls. Pierre Moran had assorted chain stores in the mid/late 1980s, but being fairly close to Concord, I don’t think too many chains (if any) had stores in both. It stayed fairly occupied for the most part, probably until the late 1990s. They had space for about 50 stores.

  41. #
    boomshakla said,

    on November 29th, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Thanks for posting that info, a big help to this spreadsheet I’m working on about area malls. Another lead told me about that surf shop by MCL as well. Pretty sure Deb is still there, I know Sycamore closed around 95-96. I’m too lazy/cheap, or maybe smart 🙂 to go to a library or such to find out this info for myself.

    If you need more help with store directory info from either PMM or Concord, let me know I’d be happy to help, my memory is pretty sharp when it comes to this stuff….can’t remember what I did last week but I can still tell you useless info about mall layouts…like why did Concord have a walden books and then a book world right across from each other? (where BBW is now..)I remember quite a bit of Scottsdale too, and in 2002-2003 I moved back in the area and spent a lot of time at the Hacienda there after work and did a lot of walking around taking mental notes…I think Concord and PMM are the sharpest in my mind though…

  42. What memories of Elkhart’s 1st mall. I have drive past the new Woodland Crossing aka Pierre Moran Mall and I think it was a huge mistake tearing the mall down. If they had taken that money to update the mall and lwoer the rent to BRING IN tenants, it woudl be better than the big empty spaces they have there now. What a waste!!!

    By the way…..Grants was never in the Target building. Grants was where G.L. Perry and Big Lots presently is. I also rememeber Leather Banana, Gunderman’s Gold Coins, and a game arcade in addition to what has already been mentioned.

    Does anyone remember BEFORE the mall came to be when it was just a shopping strip? I remember a dress shop called Three Sisters and (I think) Deb Dress Shop. That liquor store was there since the begining to, I believe. Oh! And Top Value stamp redemption center….wow, what memories!

    Sears is the only place worth going to over there now.

  43. Believe it or not, my first job was helping to opened that Target Store, back in 1985. I made $3.40 per hour, which was 5 cents above minimum wage. Wow. Flashback.

  44. wow, just found this and very saddened.

    My grandfather and uncles were the people who originally built this mall back in the late 50s. I remember taking rides with my grandfather as a kid out the mall from Chicago. Infact I was there for the target store openned Sen McCartney mentioned in his post. They didn’t have a managment firm or anything like that as they ran it themselves until it they sold it.

    My grandfather loved that mall until he sold it back in the mid 80s.He used to drive weekly rain, shine, or snow to oversee it. Years later, I had friends from Elkhart, IN who told me what’d been done since it was sold.

    That and now this is really quite sad.

  45. So what stores have opened in the new strip shopping center, besides the fact that (it seems) Sears kept its PMM store? Correct me if I’m wrong in thinking there’s still a Sears store on that site in some form, and that a Kroger and Wal-Mart moved in. Very depressing to think the latter moved in….

  46. My 1st job was at that Kroger in the picture. I went to Pierre Moran Middle School, and used to walk to the mall everyday after school. Flashback

  47. i hate to admit this,but i sorta miss pierre moran mall,i lived in the area all my life(im 34,by the way)and i have some fond memories of the mall.i have enjoyed reading all the posts above about pmm.some stores not mentioned were, the play palace(arcade),the popcorn shoppe(best vanilla coke ever)gondermen card and coins(bought my first “ninja star” there when i was 10yrs,lol)world records and tapes(great headbanger store)cookie hut(home of the BIG COOKIE)payless shoe (right next door to the finish line).before it closed,they had a lot of pro wrestling events held in the middle of the mall,and some concerts.

  48. Another visit to some ancient memories…

    My closest tie to PMM was the record shop that was there from 1985-1996, World Records & Tapes. It had come from Goshen, where they had to close because some of the more nutcase types of religious people almost shut down their business. For a while it was a Karma. I knew the owner, Mike Smith, but it’s been probably more than 15 years since I’ve seen him. A good part of my teens/20s belonged to World Records.

    I remember PMM frequently had flea markets, usually with the same vendors selling the same stuff. One table had a sign saying it was ran by “One Pleasant Lady And One Old Grouch.”

    Fashion Bug…back in the ’80s I had a very brief fling with one of the salesgirls. How time passes. There were some hot chicks who worked at PMM businesses.

    I remember the video arcade, with a really odd guy named Vic who was the manager/attendant. They had some of the cool old video and pinball games, but half the time they didn’t work!

    I haven’t been back to Elkhart since ’05 and probably will never return, so I haven’t seen the “Woodland Commons” thing…but I do have old memories of PMM.

  49. The Surf shop in Concord Mall was called Pitstop USA. PMM thrived in the 70’s and 80’s, but Concord had more of a modern appeal and had more bigger chains. PMM had a restaurant on the west end called The Meeting Place which turned into an Alley Oop’s. Both had movie theatres – PMM was Holiday Theatres [located where the Hollywood Video is now] and Concord’s was called Concord Cinema (both had just two theatres in each of them). PMM started to slowly fall around 1987 and then in the 90’s was just a place to have your license renewed and to go to Target.

  50. Pierre Moran Mall holds so many memories for me. I remember as a child screaming my head off in bloody fear of the wooden indian stautes they use to have placed in random locations. The arcade(play palace) was my place to hang out for most of teens and 20’s (waste of life I know). There was so many odd people that used to hang out in that mall from open to close like “screaming sam” who used to walk thru the mall staring at the celing half the time and scream obsenities at the top of lungs. Another was “walking bill” who walked laps around the mall from open to close and only stopped to get popcorn and ice tea at the target snack bar.He was a strange little duck,he had some goofy walking strides that you couldn’t help but laugh at. The one that caused the most stir was “baby jack” who was a morbidly obese middel aged man who wore the same clothes every day for years! He was either stalking preteen girls or falling asleep on the benches or irritating mall vendors by blowing cigarette smoke in thier stores for laughs. PMM was doomed from the start by a poor location and a dated interior that for the most part stayed the same from it opening in 1971. Management had some great ideas to renovate the mall but never followed thru. Little by little the mom-n-pop stores left in the early 90’s and when Target left in 99 that was the straw that broke the camels back. PMM never recovered and was changed back into a strip mall(Woodland Crossing) that is just as vacant now as it was enclosed.Concord Mall is not much better and is slowly becoming another PMM.

  51. i grew up walking distance from PMM and i’m thinking of leasing a spot for a very very cheap price hopefully because of the large number of vacancies… any body think im crazy… i know its in the same spot but man it looks soooo much better than the old PMM..

  52. Local Guy, that is a crazy idea. PMM didn’t survive as a enclosed mall,turning it into a strip mall was an even worse idea! Who wants to walk outside and shop in freezing cold temps and espeically that part of town?!? PMM was screwed from the begining in 1971 when they built the low income housing projects down the road. That area was actually at one time one of the more upscale parts of elkhart in the 50s-60s. Save your money and look somewhere else for your store

  53. I like change and progress, however somethings can make a person sad as they think back.
    I lived in Elkhart in the late 70’s.
    Two things come to mind when I think about this mall.
    Having our first family photo taken there. My oldest was less than a year old.
    And being talked into buying him a train set for Christmas (he’s was only 4 months old at the time) by a fellow co-worker..”Every boy need a train set”.
    I will always remember Mike B.

  54. Wow. I was in this mall back in early 2002 and ate at some cool 1950s era diner place (Alley Oops?) with my parents and a family friend. After i ate, i explored the mall and was suprised at how dated it was. LOL, I almost thought i went back to 1982! The mall reminded me of the Southtown Mall in Fort Wayne which by then was pretty much done for and closed.

  55. I believe PMM originally started as an open air shopping center with Ziesel’s, Sears and Kroger as anchors. Sears and Kroger remained at PMM until the end. Ziesel’s became Carson Pirie Scott and later Kline’s Department Store. Target was added onto the mall sometime in the 1980’s. Alley Oop’s Diner was in the mall along with a Hallmark store, Leather Banana, Coin & Stamp store, $5-$10-$15-$20 Women’s clothing store, a funky record store that sold Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts and a women’s shoe store. GLPerry was part of the mall but I don’t know if it was an original tenant.

  56. I was 1 1/2 when the PS tornado attacked our trailer in the Midway MH park(we were VERY lucky). I remember the Midway drive-in. I played with all the toys on open display at Sears at Christmas. I bought my first camera at Grants. Carousel Card and Books had a great selection of magazines. Kline’s was a old dept store from Goshen. Newell’s was also from Goshen, I went to school with one of the Newell kids. I think I spent more time at Concord Mall though. They had Ward’s, Penney’s, Robertson’s, Osco Drug (with an open gun rack), Grinnell’s Music, Musicland, and Soundmasters. Haven’t been to PMM for 25+yrs. I don’t recall that it was ever busy.

  57. @Goshen Dave,

    I vaguely remember the Midway drive-in. I DO remember in the mid to early 1980’s it was one of the only public structures on the north side of Goshen / south side of Elkhart/Dunlap. Kline’s department store wasn’t just an Goshen/Elkhart thing … they were based out of Michigan (Ann Arbor maybe?) and had locations in Indiana and Michigan. Nice department store as far as small towns are concerned. During the SWATCH craze of the ’80’s Kline’s had special prices on the weekends … $35 for a SWATCH.

    So there was a Newell’s in Pierre Moran? I am trying to remember the name of the shoe store across from Carousel Card and Books, in the Sears corridor. I think there was also a location of this shoe store in downtown Elkhart or Goshen. The Target at PMM was the first Target in Elkhart County and seemed to be the only busy store in the mall on any given day in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

    I miss G.L. Perry’s.

  58. I also worked at the Kline’s Department store for a short time. I did displays with a gal named Gigi, and remember when a hand form used to promote umbrellas and scarves lost one of it supporting lines and swooped down on the remaining line, gently lifting off the wig of one of the sales ladies in the department. Just imagine a flying hand swiping an old lady’s wig! Now THAT was funny!

  59. Does anyone have pictures of any of the old stores?

    The mall was four blocks from my childhood home. My first job was at O’Connell’s in 1971, a restaurant which later became the Meeting Place and then Alley Oops. Later I taught guitar and bass at Harmony House of Music, and worked at Suspended Chord. They were both owned by Jim Neher. Harmony House was a musical instrument store on the right near the front entrance, past the jeweler, Orange Bowl and the hobby shop. Suspended Chord, a record store, moved around the mall. It was once next to Karmelkorn, in the corner next to Grant’s, and in the former Mr. Smorgasbord. Two old friends managed the Tie Hut and Pants Port. Yes, W.T. Grant’s was originally in the “Pierre Moran Shopping Center” where G.L Perry was and Big Lots is now. Grant’s was indeed in the large store that became Carson Pirie Scott and Target in the mall.

  60. Some of these posts were a real blast from the past. I grew up shopping these malls in the 80’s and early 90’s and remember most of the stores that were mentioned. Pierre Moran had The Finish Line which was right inside the main entrance (and really the only reason a kid would go in there). This was early 90’s before the internet, so if you wanted a pair of fresh Jordan VI’s it was your only option. It wasn’t long before MC Sporting goods opened down on US33 near Goshen to give you a good second option on popular kicks. MC is a real disappointment now. I was in there a few years ago and the wall that used to have floor to ceiling shoes was now nothing. I’m not sure they even sell shoes anymore. The old standby was always Concord Mall though. Chess King had all the trendy clothes in the early 90’s. Bum Equipment, 8 Ball Jackets, and Skidz pants. Wow. Pitstop USA had the popular Big Johnson and Coed Naked shirts that my parents never let me wear. I think I still have some $19 cassette tapes I bought at Super Sounds near the front. There was a short lived store called Dudes Jeans that sold Guess jeans for $100 a pair. Had to have ’em. I could go on and on. I’ll post more memories later.

  61. @Chris B.,

    Grants was absolutely in the space later occupied by Target. Used to ride my bicycle there daily during the summer – buy 45 rpm records for 67 cents each! ; )

  62. I remember when the only Ziesel’s was on main street in downtown Elkhart. Main street used to be where everything happened, no malls, just good ole downtown Elkhart. We’d go with our mom and she’d do all her shopping on main street, and we’d eat at the diner inside of Kreskies(sp) 5&10.

    When I was old enough to drive cursing main street, and going to the dances was the highlight of the weekend.

  63. I grew up in this little crappy town. East of this mall was Hathorne Elementary. The most ghetto’s school in the city. The school I grew up in. Elkhart hasn’t done shit but become one of the poorest cities in America.

    People need to improve their own lives before trying to blame the ghetto for ruining their demographic. People still shop in this area and that’s why these stores are still operating.

    I remember going to this mall plenty of times to get just sit in the center and make fun of alll the people that came through. Just because they changed the name doesn’t mean that the consumers will buy from your stores.

    You want to bring business in to Woodland Estates?? Then put some reputable stores where we can buy from. Yeah the $5 large pizzas are nice but bring us GUIcchi and toy r us. And all the big names. I believe we’re bigger than south bend in numbers. Maybe not size but I shouldn’t have to drive a half an hour when we can produce much better than South Bend fucking Indiana.

  64. anybody remember the name of the shoe store that was accross the street from PMM? It wasn’t Payless, but it was like that, only cheaper. Its driving me nuts!

  65. Living only a few blocks away from Woodland trails as it is known now and become strip malls which are as empty as the mall before it was demolished. Some of the anchor stores that were there that I remember are Sears and Krogers super market which are the only two remaining anchor stores. Target left in the early 2000s opening a larger store in the Dunlap/Goshen area.

  66. @Pam Nelson, actually pam it was pay less shoes which is now a cricket wireless vendor.

  67. @D Menges, I actually found out from some of my friends it was Picway. Then it was a Payless. I haven’t been that way in years, so I’ll have to take your word on what it is now. Thanks for your response!

  68. @Alphagarcia, Wow you have to be one of the most negative persons I ever heard. You put down, put down, and then talk about how YOU made fun of the people who passed by you at the mall.

    You need to stay right where you are, you and Elkhart deserve each other.

    Gucci,and Toys R Us is that you concept of what will help Elkhart improve? Lord you are so Ghetto.

  69. @XISMZERO,

    I know this is really old but I’ll reply anyway. That pic that shows the Target sign isn’t even where Target was. That was an entrance into the mall. Target itself was around the corner. I’m guessing they put the sign there because that side faced the main road.

    I fondly remember eating at Alley Oops at this mall. A 50s style diner that had some of the best food I’ve ever had! But we would stop, eat there, and then leave here to go to UP Mall instead of staying at this mall.

  70. I was probably in middle school the first time I stepped inside this mall, and even then I knew how bad it was! But, it was close to the dentist’s office and my mom just had to drag me in there for one thing or another when we were done.

    It wasn’t all bad though. Even though the decor was woefully outdated, it was all clean and it didn’t feel “gross” like some unkempt malls can feel. Plus, once I got older and started going out on my own with friends we’d go to Alley Oops and hope we didn’t see any of our teaches there, which we inevitably did. It never failed!

    It’s too bad that they tore it down, only to see little success with a strip mall in its place. At least where the Scottsdale Mall stood the stores are thriving, which is a bit of consolation.

  71. Pierre Moran was the first French settler to the region and also has one of the three area middle schools named after him along with a park, swimming facilities, etc.

  72. Was looking up a old friend, when i came across this site.I grew up in this area, went to Pierre Moran junior high.Lived just a few blocks from the old mall.I didn’t even know they tore it down, seeing that i haven’t been there in 15 yrs. This mall gave me some of my best memories, from holding my moms hand, to holding my own kids hands, walking threw from store to store. I don’t remember it being getto but of coarse I’m not a snob. I just remember hanging out with family and friends. Speaking of friends the one I’m looking for is Amy Niece, I haven’t seen her sense 1988 we were best friends and was hoping to see how her life turned out if any one knows her. Tell her Marcie says hi, and she can find me on facebook

  73. U.S. Factory Outlets was originally a Ziesels. That was a Elkhart based department store on Main St. Downtown. They put a satelite store at PM Mall whem it opened. Eventually it closed that area became a Klines store, a satelite from a Goshen department store. Then the U.S. Factory Outlet.

  74. @Tom M., Hansel’s was the name of the shoe store.

  75. A few other stores at PMM from the early to mid 80’s would be The Double Dip ice cream parlor, Allegator Alley (gymnastic/fitness clothing), The Meeting Place (an eatery, the tennent prior to Ally Oops), Hansel’s (an upscale shoe store), Wixon’s Bridal Shop, The Candy Jar (a large stand-alone booth located close to the center of the mall), and I am thinking Fox Jewelers. My mom worked full-time at The Play Palace from about 1983 to 1990 or so. My brother and I spent nearly every day running that mall and trying not to get into too much trouble. I worked at The Double Dip, The Candy Jar, and Holiday Theater in the late 1980’s early 90’s. For many years it was a great place with fantastic store owners, but even as a 15 year old I could tell that PMM’s days were numbered. Thanks to the person wanting more info! I enjoyed reading the posts and remembering a great part of my life!

  76. I purchased a Kneeling santa over jesus in the 1980s at pierre moran mall it was ceramic and two pieces. I neither remember the store nor the maker of this piece
    my ex wife “stole”it from me and I despertly wish to find one like it. where could I find the names of stores at this mall in the 80s or any information that may lead me to this piece?

  77. Does anyone know where I can go to get a list of all the stores that have been in the Concord Mall?

  78. It’s nice to hear and see all these comments, thoughts, and stories. My Grandfather was the founder and was always committed to make the mall great. There was no management team–just him, my uncles, and people hand picked locally to run.

    I remember the big cookie and the arcade when they had it. After he got Target and Kroger, he sold it. He decision he always regretted. He even wanted to back out but the bank never allowed it. Some management firm of malls out of New York took over and from what friends tell me it was never the same.

    Recently we donated what we had left about the mall to the historical society in Elkhart. They had anything we had left.

  79. Yeah, I remember going clothes shopping as a kid at the downtown store and at the store at Pierre Moran. My memory of the downtown location is pretty dim.

  80. Does anyone remember Skinner the Printer at the PMM? I believe the logo was a frog. My friend’s mother dated him and he would let us hang out there all the time. This was when BMX was sweeping the nation and he would print up all kinds of customized shirts, including the “shirt in a can”, which I often gave as birthday gifts to friends. Great memories all, thanks for sharing.

  81. Yeah! I remember getting all sorts of t-shirts there, and I remember the BMX craze as well. There was a BMX track on the north side near Bud’s Carpet Barn.

  82. For many years a man named Jim Gonderman had an absolutely enormous coin and stamp shop in the wing opposite the Grants/Carsons/Target anchor, on the way to the bathrooms, in a spot that had previously housed a store called The Wicker Shoppe. I hung out at Gonderman’s extensively and spent most of my discretionary funds there in the late 70s and early 80s, buying things like Confederate money that I could never afford at today’s prices. Gonderman eventually sold the shop to someone named Cook, opened up a smaller shop nearby, and later got convicted and served time on counterfeiting and cocaine charges. Seems to me he died in the nineties some time. The shop sponsored a softball team, and records of its scores will still come up in a Google search for “Gonderman Coin”.
    I also remember a few small stores at the outside of PMM that weren’t accessible from the inside, and which were probably legacy stores from before the shopping center was enclosed — a liquor store, for one (seems to me the owner kept a Great Dane in the shop with him?), and a spot that was Associates Insurance in the mid-seventies.
    I also remember that, no, the Kroger wasn’t accessible from the mall proper, but was an attached building. GL Perry was in a separate building across one of the streets or access roads bordering the mall.
    And does anyone else remember an appliance and hobby store called The Chaparral, and a center-court free-standing fireplace store called King Koal’s Korner? I actually still have a business card from the latter (those being something else that I collect).

  83. Oh how I loved reading these comments ! I worked at the Sears for a year during high school. There was a Fashion Bug next to the Skinner the Printer shop. Across the Cookie Jar, sorta kaddie corner was a (in the mid 90s any way) a really strange CD store with the rudest staff on the planet. Towards the main entrance (where that ugly blue overhang was) there was a small DMV office with an auto insurance place next to it…this was about 96 or 97.

    I had happy memories of the place. In the empty corridor space in front of the Sears was a retired gentlemen who had 3 tables and sold knick knacks for many years. Always called me Sunshine and waved when I came to work. Across from his ‘booth’ area was a book store–something with Carousel in the name. It was a nice, a Hallmark store knock off type place.

    Thanks, all, for these comments. What grea

  84. @Steven, yes, for awhile they moved to Main Street

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