The Galleria; Edina, Minnesota

The Galleria is a 417,000 square-foot, mostly single-level upscale enclosed shopping mall in Edina, Minnesota, an upscale suburb of Minneapolis. Anchored by Gabbert’s furniture, Crate and Barrel, Barnes and Noble, and a Westin Hotel, The Galleria is an upscale complement to a super-regional mall, Southdale Center, which is located across the street.

Oak Park Mall; Austin, Minnesota

Austin, Minnesota is a small city of about 23,000 residents in the southern part of the state.  It is just over 100 miles from the Twin Cities, and 40 miles from Rochester along Interstate 90.  Austin is famous for one thing:  SPAM.  Since 1937, Hormel Foods has been churning out tons of this salty, processed meat product at […]

Southdale Center and Victor Gruen; Edina, Minnesota

This might be the most important one we’ve featured here. Southdale is the mall that started it all, from the man who started it all – Victor Gruen. Sure, there were shopping centers and arcades, bazaars and this and that all over the world predating Southdale, which opened in 1956, but Southdale was the model for everything that came after. Southdale transformed shopping in America, shifting it away from downtowns and into the suburbs. Furthermore, it was built by an eccentric, energetic visionary, Victor Gruen, whose socialist ideals for retail development were infiltrated, bastardized (Gruen’s word!) and changed by American capitalism, giving us the frenetic retail landscape we know today. He had some major help from U.S. Congress, though, who in 1954 passed a bill to stimulate manufacturing in America; instead, it unwittingly created the retail building boom and hastened a cultural change in the built environment as we know it.

Brookdale Center; Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Located in Brooklyn Center, an inner-ring suburb 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Brookdale Center is a behemoth of a mall living on borrowed time. Opened in 1962, Brookdale debuted to a new, sprawling post-war building boom which eventually levelled off as the area became built out. Over time, many original residents serving the mall’s purpose moved up and out to newer and better suburbs, and were slowly replaced by those with a different socioeconomic status. Today, Brookdale is in serious decline, existing as as an ever-dwindling collection of stores inside the husk of a super-regional mall on the precipice of closure.

Mall of America; Bloomington, Minnesota

Here it is. The big kahuna. The head honcho. This is it, for the United States anyway. The 15-year-old Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota is one of the largest single-site retail themed complexes in the whole entire country. A few sites in America offer more retail, such as the King of Prussia Mall in […]

Northbridge Mall; Albert Lea, Minnesota

Opened in 1987, Northbridge Mall was the second enclosed mall for Albert Lea, luring shoppers away from then-20-year-old Skyline Mall across town.  Its anchors are ShopKo, a Green Bay, Wis. based discount retailer similar to Target and Wal-Mart, and Herberger’s, a Minnesota-based mid-tier department store now owned by the Bon-Ton Stores Inc.  Northbridge Mall has about 250,000 […]

Skyline Mall; Albert Lea, Minnesota

We like to root for the retail underdog. Don’t get us wrong, we love all things retail, but we appreciate older, outmoded, and visibly dated centers and hold them with special regards. Perhaps it’s our appreciation of retail history, a throwback to our youths, our dislike for retail homogenization, or even something entirely different altogether. […]

Winona Mall; Winona, Minnesota

Winona Rocks!  Well, at least that’s what someone at the University of Wisconsin was thinking as they scrawled that declaration into several rows of desks in a large chemistry lecture hall there.  Very curious, I thought.  What or who did they mean?  Winona Ryder?  Wynonna Judd?  Maybe it was someone from Winona, Minnesota, who was proud […]

Har Mar Mall; Roseville, Minnesota

Located in Roseville, Minnesota, almost smack dab in the middle of the Twin Cities metro area, Har Mar Mall opened in 1961.  It was designed by the same company which built Apache Plaza in nearby St. Anthony and opened the same year (Apache Plaza failed as a mall and was torn down in 2004).  However, […]