Sometimes instead of being redeveloped into strip malls and “Lifestyle Centers”, enclosed malls are simply forgotten, passed over like so much fruit cake in December. The reasons for this are varied, but mostly have to do with the fact that the area the mall lies in is no longer viable for retail, or at least the kind of retail that spawns big box and expansive strip malls.
Dort Mall, along Dort Highway on the south side of Flint, is one of these malls. Dort Mall opened as the Flint area’s first enclosed mall, in 1963, on the site of the former Dort Drive-In Theatre. In its earlier days, it was originally anchored by a Yankee store and possibly Cunningham’s and A&P. Yankee was later bought out by Zody’s, and after Zody’s disappeared it became Sears Outlet. The Sears Outlet closed somewhat recently and was split into Perani’s Hockey World, Bargain Hunterz thrift store, and a bingo hall. The north end of the mall currently houses a Big Lots which does not have access into the indoor portion of the mall. Also worth mention is the giant “Muffler man” type statue on the south end of the mall. Could this be Farmer Jack in a former Farmer Jack location?
The indoor part of Dort Mall isn’t spartan or barren by any means, like many dead malls. Today, the mall is filled with Americana like old gas station signs, advertisements and paraphernalia from General Motors products, and signs galore. However, only a couple shops exist within the mall which do not have outdoor entrances, notably one which exclusively sells T-shirts. Only a few people go inside Dort Mall today, and I don’t imagine all the old signs are that much of a draw. I took these pictures of Dort Mall in August 2005.