Livonia Mall; Livonia, Michigan

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In the suburbs of the Motor City, the mall reigns supreme.  So much so, in fact, that the retail hubs in the Detroit area are located completely within the suburban realm.  There are no major retail draws in the city of Detroit today, which isn’t surprising because Detroit is largely a vastly depressing urban wasteland.  Though urban revival attempts continue, much of the city of Detroit is the most horrific example of rust belt economics and white flight.  As factories moved out of the area, taking tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of jobs with them, the city went fallow.  Today, large swaths of Detroit remain completely abandoned.  Entire city blocks which once had houses and activity have essentially returned to nature as prairie grasses and wilderness has grown up through condemned structures, many of which were arsoned.  Poverty is also an issue in Detroit, as over one-quarter of the city is beneath the poverty line.  

Despite the condition of the city itself, there is a relatively healthy economy in the Detroit metro area suburbs.  In fact, a stark contrast exists as many areas of northern and western Oakland county, along with areas by the St. Clair shores such as the various Grosse Pointes have some of the highest per-capita incomes in the United States. 

Livonia, Michigan is a thoroughly blue collar, middle-class suburb directly west of the city of Detroit.  With a population of about 100,000, Livonia sprang up from the dust during the post-war building boom.  In fact, it ceased growing completely during the 1970s, and has been shrinking ever-so-slightly since as people move farther out to newer and “better” suburbs.

Livonia Mall former Child World/Children's Palace castle in Livonia, MILivonia was home to three enclosed malls until fairly recently.  Wonderland Mall, which was enclosed in 1985, closed in 2003 after a protracted period of failure and was finally demolished in 2006 for a Wal-Mart Supercenter.  Laurel Park Place, which trends upscale, opened in 1989 in far northwestern Livonia along I-275, and is very successful.  Livonia Mall, their third mall, opened in 1964 at 7 Mile Road and Middlebelt.  Anchored by Sears, Kresge and Kroger, the mall grew in pieces over the years and decades.  A southern wing was added anchored by Detroit-based Crowley’s in 1972.  Nine years later in 1981 Mervyn’s arrived with a new northern wing.  K-Mart closed Kresge in 1987 with the rest of the Kresge locations, and soon after a Child World/Children’s Palace opened up in the spot which lasted until the early to mid 1990s.  In 2000, the Crowley’s chain dissolved and became Crowley’s Value City, which is now just Value City and part of the Columbus, Ohio based chain.  In 2006, Mervyns left the north end of the mall as the chain pulled out of Michigan and other regions to focus on their core western and southern markets.  Today, only Sears and Value City remain, with a rather ragged roster of in-line tenants.

In terms of decor and design, Livonia Mall is very dark and outdated inside and out.  It hasn’t actually been remodeled since it opened, so there are many wooden store facades and ancient signage.  A favorite is the Koney Island location near one of the southern entrances, which is clearly a decades-old fixture in the mall and still in operation.  Also, the mall features a unique coffee shop-style restaurant right smack dab in the middle of the mall near the northern end.  The Child World/Children’s Palace distinctive castle design is also still present at the western end of the mall, which was most recently a paintball facility.  Another interesting feature is the way the mall corridor snakes around sears and exits beside it, making the mall significantly larger.  Also, several ancient fountains exist within the mall which are great throwbacks to a bygone era of retail aesthetics.

Livonia Mall directory 2006 in Livonia, MISo what’s killied Livonia Mall?  Aside from the decor issues and outdatedness, which definitely accounts significantly for the loss of traffic, the mall’s roster and offerings cannot compete with the newer mall across town at Laurel Park Place.  In addition, other nearby west suburban malls like Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn and Westland Center in Westland have updated and modernized continuously despite being decades old.  Shoppers continue to flock there, and the competition from all of these, as well as super-regional draws in Troy and Novi are sucking traffic away in droves.  Livonia Mall might sustain itself and avoid the sinking-ship phenomenon, but only if it repositions itself as a successful ancillary to the larger malls. 

In 2006, plans were announced to disenclose the outdated mall and build the ever-popular Lifestyle Center in its place, but they ultimately fell through because negotiations failed with the Sears anchor, which owns its space separate from the mall. 

As of May 2007, the mall is still in operation.  Many of the in-line stores are increasingly local stores and services, rather than traditional national tenants.  Livonia Mall is currently ailing, and our prediction is that the mall will go downhill significantly fast in the near future if rehab isn’t done.  We’ll put this one on death watch for now, but at least we can enjoy the pictures.  

UPDATE 5/27/08: It’s over; Livonia Mall is closing permanently on 5/31/08.  According to one report, most of the mall will be demolished during Summer 2008, aside from Jo-Ann Fabrics and Sears.  What’s to come is anyone’s guess, but we’ll keep you posted.

Livonia Mall in April 2001:

Livonia Mall 2001 directory in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall Coney Island in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall Scent Station in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI  Livonia Mall in Livonia, MILivonia Mall in Livonia, MI 

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in July 2006:

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall former Mervyn's in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall Sears in Livonia, MI 

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall Value City in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI Livonia Mall in Livonia, MI

        

92 Responses to “Livonia Mall; Livonia, Michigan”

  1. I’ve been here once,. and I can say it’s definitely a “ghetto” mall. Definitely not much left — wish you’d gotten a pic of “LaBarro’s” Pizza operating out of a very thinly disguised ex-Sbarro’s.

    Anyway, good pics as always. I hope they never remodel this mall.

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  2. Haha LaBarro’s, I missed that one completely. I hope so too, but they’re gonna have to or else it will probably empty out and shutter like many others.

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  3. That old Child World pic reminds me of the one in Portland, Maine; which later became a Marden’s (now *that’s* a chain that needs an article here). They made absolutely no effort to remove the castle motif.

    http://www.agilitynut.com/p/mardens804.jpg

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  4. My only complaint about this post is that there aren’t more pictures of the Sears – I hear it’s the largest Sears in the chain.

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  5. There are some attractions in downtown Detroit that do really good business, but on a whole I agree that the city is a classic example of white flight and abdonament, shame since there’s alot of history in the city.But that’s another topic.

    Honestly I never heard of Livonia Mall before. The place to go there would be Laurel Park Place, as well as the large Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi (which will probably be the largest mall in Michigan after it’s rennovation). I can see why this mall is dying though, it’s ugly inside and out. Even with a renovation I doubt that this mall will be succesful because there are already bigger ( and better) malls to choose from.

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    chris Reply:

    @DRoman, i shopped at Livonia mall ever since i was able to walk back in 1992. Before that my mom shopped there quite often. i hated to see it go and be replaced wit another carbon copy strip mall like wonderland. 12 oaks is a great mall especially since they expanded it. i now take the 20 min drive from canton as it has better stores for a 20 year old male than the nearby westland mall which is in need of expanding.
    p.s. Great lakes crossings in auburn hills is the largest mall in Michigan at 1 square mile around the entire mall. its huge but unfortunately has no anchors such as penny’s or Macys. its definitely worth the drive

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  6. Very nice pics. I have been hearing about this one for awhile, but it seemed nobody would get pics of it. I live for seeing the retro malls, because so few still do exist. I do sort of beg to differ on “hasn’t been renovated since it opened” considering the decor reminds me of either the early 70’s or early 80’s depending on what you look at. If it hasn’t been renovated since it opened, are you sure you didn’t mean 1974? Okay, enough being anal.

    Indeed, this was one of the examples of one of the more plain 70’s malls that never really did have much going for it except that it was there when there was less competition. Although I would not want to introduce today’s kiosk filled bland treatment, it could really use a lightening and brightening throughout with a lot more color and design. However, without attracting some decent anchors besides Sears, I don’t see how this place has much hope all the way around.

    Lastly, the Mervyn’s there was identical in design to one that opened at Shannon Mall in Atlanta in 1986.

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  7. Damn, what a depressing place. Maybe its next use will be the Flea Market Malll from Mallrats. Still, having a paintball venue as an anchor is a bit unique (I honestly have to admit I haven’t seen that use for an anchor site before.)

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  8. I might have to visit this place; it looks like it won’t last forever in its current state.

    By the way, I find Detroit fascinating! Depressing, yes, but fascinating none the less.

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  9. So, Mervyn’s actually is closed. It is sad. One of the things they COULD do is make it a lifestyle/big box combo with enclosed mall. Sears could expand and become Sears Grand, Mervyn’s could be flattened and replaced with condos, offices, and upscale restaurants, Value City and outparcels could become a Lowe’s or Home Depot, the paintball place could become a grocery store (upper/middle type class grocery), and the movie theater could fully renovate. Then, add maybe a Ross Dress for Less, World Market, and a few other smaller junior anchors.

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  10. Actually, the Paintball place is now another paintball place, called Killer Paintball. Summit Place Mall once had a paintball arena in their old Montgomery Ward, too.

    I’m a bit confused about the Mervyn’s date of construction. I read that the Mervyn’s wing was added in 1981; however, I’ve also read something that says that Mervyn’s opened all of its Michigan stores in 1987. So I’m thinking that either a.) the wing was built in 1981, but it was anchorless until Mervyn’s came; b.) the Mervyn’s store used to be something else; or c.) the wing actually opened in 1987.

    I think the Value City should be demolished and rebuilt. This is the only two-level Value City I know of; the upper level was just a WRECK. Merchandise was just scattered everywhere — it looked like a tornado hit the store.

    It’s not the largest Sears in the chain, just the largest in Michigan.

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  11. Apropos of the discussion of Detroit: What’s really wild in downtown is the old Michigan Central rail terminal, which has a fairly tall building on top. It’s basically a big building (a little too low and horizontal to be a skyscraper, but still very big) in the middle of desolation. Even the South Bronx of the 1980s had nothing like that and it’s been sitting there, empty for a couple decades and began to decline in the 50s because of its isolation and lack of parking. Ironically, it’s technically an unfinished building (it went up in 1913) and is a relative to Grand Central in NYC (same architect). Detroit is unique because it’s full of odd gems like that. So, I’m not surpised that you’d find museum pieces like Livonia Mall, too.

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  12. Here are a couple of comments/questions:

    *When did Sears seal off its mall entrance?

    *As has been discussed, this mall has one massive Sears. To be exact, the Sears is 385,000 sq. ft. Also, Value City is 126,900 sq. ft.

    *According to Wikipedia, this mall–believe it or not–has an 87% occupancy rate. Of course, the vast majority of these stores are not national retailers, but rather B-list tenants.

    *Speaking about the sad state of retail in Detroit, I’d like to mention the former Hudson’s flagship store in downtown. As many of you know, this Hudson’s store (back when it existed) was the second largest store in the entire country (if not the world), as well as the tallest. It closed in 1983 (which was about a decade before most downtown department stores closed) and was imploded in 1998, to make room for a parking garage, all in the name of “progress.” Anyway, I’d love to read any memories you have about that store or about downtown Detroit’s other long gone department stores.

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    chris Reply:

    @Max, if u like shopping in downtown Detroit then check out Woodward ave. after being away on a trip for 2 months i returned to find Woodward lined with quite a few new shops and to my amazement the old Kresge building has a restaurant and shopping in it. there are many more historical things being brought back to detroit. well its 2 am so email me for more info.
    triplec92@gmail.com

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  13. One more thing that I forgot to add: I never knew that 1987 was the year that Kmart closed the Kresge chain. What became of most of these locations? Were any of these stores able to be used as Kmart stores, or were these buildings too small for that, thereby meaning that other smaller chains were the only ones who could occupy those spaces?

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  14. To answer some of Max’s questions:

    *Sears had two mall entrances; the closed-off one is at the back (by the green portion of the mall map). The other main entrance is still open. I’m not sure when the back entrance closed.

    * I doubt that any Kresge stores were big enough to convert to Kmart. Kresge usually ran 20K to 30K square feet, and while I have seen some 30-40K Kmarts, I doubt any were ex-Kresge. Many Kresges were sold to McCrory, too.

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    chris Reply:

    @bobby, the Kmart on ford and middlebelt was one of the original Kresge stores and still has wood floors underneath the new Kmart floor.

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    chris Reply:

    @chris, i should mention the kmart is in garden city mi

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  15. Kresge opened very few stores after 1962 (when K-Mart opened). In fact, they closed a great many stores in waves through the 60s, starting in ’62.The few post-1962 variety stores they did open tended to be large (probably about 40K sf), much like those that Woolworth built in the 60s, but they built many fewer of them than Woolworth and they tended to be in first class malls, which made them unlikely to have become K-Marts. I believe that Woodfield Mall had one of the very last Kresge stores. McCrory bought some of the stores, but many were simply closed and eventually taken on by other retailers. The Cleveland stores (where McCrory only had one store), for example, went to no single buyer, although some became D&K stores, a small scale discount chain. The downtown DC store was part of a downtown redevelopment project that came to fruition in the 90s. The last of the Kresge stores tended to be in relatively strong retail strips or in downtown areas, so they tended to find other uses.

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  16. In April 1987, K mart announced that it was selling 76 domestic stores under the banner of Kresge or Jupiter to the McCrory corporation. (Jupiter stores served as discount outlets for the Kresge division.) These stores were located in Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and were rebranded as McCrory stores. This left only 10 Kresge stores in the South and Midwest. Bernard Fauber, the then chairman of K mart said at the time “Although the Kresge division has been profitable, it doesn’t fit into our corporate growth plans and asset redeployment program.” McCrory chairman said “the addition of these stores will extend our reach and establish presence in the Detroit market and enhance our presence in areas such as MD, PA and CT.” This sale did not include the 52 Kresge stores in Canada. K mart said it would have wanted to sell the other 10 stores but it could not at the time due to lease obligations.
    This sale of Kresge stores to McCrory was an acknowledgement of a relationship coming full circle between the two corporate names as both Mr. Kresge and Mr. McCrory opened their first store together in Memphis, TN in 1897. It was followed quickly with a store in downtown Detroit. Two years later their partnership ended.
    Also it is to be noted that Woolworth also tried to acquire the same 76 stores but the negotiations fell through.

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  17. Some interesting traits and what looks to be a pretty ordinary indoor mall. The redish tile selection is oddly justified, off-kilter clash against the otherwise brighter decor and those ceilings are kind of eerily dramatic as if some gnome is lurking above watching shoppers. A little too vivid there, perhaps…

    Nice find on that largely in tact Child World. Furthermore, I hope you made way over to Fairlane Town Center (another magnificent 1970s Taubman mall). That mall was seemingly a marvel, darling in its day.

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  18. I’d like to add one more bit about Child World and its unmistakable store design rivalry with Toys “R” Us. Ever since the late 1970s (and up until around 1989), Toys “R” Us had their own “toy castle” facade; you know the brown roof with the multi-colored rainbow stripes along the front. Sadly, many of those stores remodeled to bland, rectangular white favored fronts around Child World’s demise in 1992 (?) but there are still a few left in small pockets around the country.

    Any idea who claimed this model first? To be biased, I think Toys “R” Us pulled it off much better.

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  19. Interesting comment I read above, since I was under the impression, from what I’ve heard, that the Sears at Woodfield Mall(in Schaumburg, IL) was the biggest Sears store within that chain. Are you sure the Livonia Mall location is bigger than the Woodfield location?

    And, is it safe for me to assume that what looks like what once was the mall entrance to this Sears store here is sealed off? I was trying to figure this out, but was a little confused seeing the interior pic of this mall’s Sears.

    My comments and questions aside, it’s sad that this mall looks to be a goner within the next few years, a la Wonderland Mall(which I had previously read about on other sites, including deadmalls.com). Save of course, unless the mall owners do some sort of drastic renovations, or lure a very attractive tenant into the mall VERY QUICKLY(Bass Pro Shops, or Cabela’s is the type of retailer that comes to mind), to inject some desperately-needed life into this place. That said, I’d still hate to see this mall go, since it’s an interesting relic and throwback to older-era malls.

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  20. Also forgot to say that it’s very interesting that the Children’s Palace/Child World store motif was never renovated or removed, since the store closed over a decade ago. I think it’s quite cool how a paintball place occupied this space for a brief period, too! (and am I correct in guessing the paintball place is now gone, or is it still open?)

    And never mind my question about the interior mall entrance for this Sears, since I missed Bobby’s post(somehow!) about the interior entrances for the Sears, when I first skimmed through the comments.

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  21. Again, the Sears at Livonia is only the largest Sears IN MICHIGAN.

    The paintball place is open under a different name, it’s Killer Paintball now.

    I doubt Bass Pro or Cabela’s would come to the mall, since both have stores less than an hour from Livonia. They’d need more of a discount anchor, like maybe National Wholesale Liquidators (think a super-sized Big Lots) or an AJ Wright. Steve & Barry’s might also be a good addition.

    I was also thinking Elder-Beerman, but then again, there’s already a Parisian at Laurel Park, so I don’t know if Bon-Ton would want that kind of overlap or not.

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  22. I missed that “Sears tower” (exterior signage). It’s got the ’84 red logo. Cool!

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  23. Would Sportsman’s Warehouse (A low rent version of Gander Mountain/Cabela’s) go in here?

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  24. Detroit’s “tale of two cities” relationship with its suburbs has always fascinated and disturbed me. For all the racism claims that are still lobbed in the direction of the South, I’ve seen far more of it the further north I’ve gone. New Jersey and New York were both far more segregated than anywhere I’ve been in Maryland (including Baltimore and PG County), and Massachusetts and Connecticut even more so, but the worst segregation I’ve seen by far was Michigan. The post-apocalyptic state of Detroit in particular, in combination with the upper-middle-class myopia found in most of its suburbs, is just…wow. And so while inner-ring suburban decay has become pretty endemic to American cities as a whole, it seems especially eyebrow-raising in Detroit. I’ve been through Livonia before. It’s just outside the city, and a pretty scary-looking part of the city at that. And even though most of the inner Detroit suburbs are lily-white, the studied avoidance of anything that approaches the city line is morbidly fascinating to me. From what I’ve seen, most of the malls that skirt the edges of the city are either dead or struggling for a foothold; even the iconic Northland has suffered greatly as of late. If most of the money in those areas had migrated to the outer suburbs, as is often the case, I could see the consequent migration in shopping patterns. But In general, the ‘burbs that contain said dead and struggling malls are holding their own if not thriving, and the malls themselves are large enough to support their target audience with little in the way of expansion or renovation. Livonia is well above the mean for Michigan and even compared to neighboring (and mostly affluent) Oakland County, so it seems odd that not one but two malls on a pretty heavily traveled stretch of road would fail so miserably. As much as I’d like to wonder what fear keeps people away from places like Livonia Mall, I’ve seen enough of the state and its people to have a pretty solid grasp of the answer.

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  25. When I was a teen in the late 60’s and early 70’s Livonia’s two malls, Wonderland and Livonia Mall were pretty hopping places. At that time, Wonderland was beginning its decline as people preferred to go to Westland and Livonia Malls. I did enjoy the photos on the site as they reminded me of a time long since passed.

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  26. OK, I see what you mean about this Sears now. I just didn’t mean you were just talking about Sears stores ONLY in Michigan……(big difference, than if you were talking about overall, within that entire chain)

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  27. Amazing that that Child World store has been left completely untouched since it closed in 1992. Truly a retail relic. I can’t imagine it’ll be around much longer…once the paintball place leaves, it’ll probably be history.

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  28. Just a couple of quick notes. I recently found this blog, and I must say it is fantastic!

    I spent much of my youth at Livonia Mall. Mervyn’s was added along with this wing of the mall in 1987. I remember the grand opening for it. It was a big deal as the mall got its only expansion then along with a complete renovation.

    Children’s Palace was added sometime around 1989/90. This is why a- Children’s Palace is in a such an odd location. It is down a short hallway (the only other store in the hallway was the Pub in your picture, the other sid ehas always had those drapes, its just a wall on the other side of thestores in the Mervyn’s wing) and then to the right. If you were in the mall, you wouldn’t even know it was there. This is probably one reason that the space was never filled with another retailer. It was extremely hidden. This is also when the mall added those newer looking facades to the back that says “Livonia Mall.” At the same time, a Bakers Square restaurant was added in the outlot.

    The old Kresge’s was in the center of the mall between what is now Sears and Value City but that was coverted to other stores well before Children’s Palace was constructed. I believe Jo-Ann Fabrics took over the Kresge’s for a time IIRC.

    Also of note, Livonia Mall is extremely similar to Macomb Mall. The inside is virtually the exact same (except for some details as Macomb never had fountains)as both were developed by Schostak. Ironically, they also built Laurel Park Place! Schostak also owns Wonderland, but they sold off Livonia Mall in the late 1990s.

    And finally, to end the Sears debate, Oakland Mall’s Sears is actually the largest. At the time, that the Oakland store opened, it was the largest mall based Sears store in the country.

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  29. The Value City at Macomb Mall is also two floors (ex-Crowleys store). It also suffers from horrible layout and seemingly dumping merchandise to be sold. Good prices though. The store at Universal Mall is one level (also ex-Crowley’s). Is Value City located in any malls that aren’t dying slowly or on life support?

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  30. Macomb Mall is by no means on life support, it looks rather healthy (at least to me).

    But as far as not-dead malls anchored by Value City, here’re a couple more:

    Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, MD (former Gee Bee)

    Beltway Plaza, Greenbelt, MD (former Caldor; this mall is kind of B-class but definitely not dead)

    Eastpoint Mall, Baltimore, MD (former Hocshchild Kohn’s)

    There’re just a few.

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  31. Doesn’t that shot with the Mervyn’s and the “waffle-type” ceilings look like the food court in Northwest Plaza.

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  32. I mean, it does! Ya know, looking at Koney Island Inn and Scent Station makes me wonder if Livonia Mall might be reinvented as a local mall consisting of local retailers selling items serving every side of the niche rainbow. Of course, a minor remodel might make it a bit more inviting…

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  33. I have visited the Detroit area since the 50’s as a kid with my parents from southern Ontario. My first visit with Santa was on the upper floors of the massive Hudsons store downtown Detroit. The area was wall to wall with shoppers in those days. Very nearby was the old Crowleys department store and Sams Discount store. Kresges and upscale clothiers lined Woodward Avenue. I believe long ago there was even a Saks store up on Grand Circus. Livonia Mall and Macomb Mall in NE Detroit were built at the same time and both had huge Sears stores and Crowleys were added later. I remember going to Northland when it was all outdoors. Then they added Eastland, Southland and Westland. JCPenney was late to enter the Detroit mall scene and added on to a number of older malls in the 70’s and 80’s. Mervyns came later. Fairlaine Town Center and Lakeside Mall were build very close together (date-wise) and Twelve Oaks added later by Taubmann. Somerset mall was once half the size it is now, but was always luxurious with the original side housing Saks and Bonwit Teller.

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  34. Value City Department Store is closing there store in the mall,
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080204/BIZ/802040396
    The city of Livonia/ Mayor Jack Kirksey wants to tear down and redevelped the mall. After March the only anchor left in the Livonia Mall will be Sears.

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  35. I just saw a notice on the Livonia Mall Post Office that it would close in mid-March or mid-April for “reconstruction” of Livonia Mall.

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  36. This mall has a lot of weird stores per their mall directory. Anyone know what “Evil Petting Zoo Workshop” is?

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  37. I live about 2 miles from this mall, and have shopped at this Sears within the last month.
    It is a nice Sears but an old building with a dilapidated shell.

    There is a playhouse for the performing arts which I think may be the “Evil Petting Zoo Workshop” mentioned above.

    I have a friend who said she went to this mall about two months ago at around 1PM on a Saturday. She said she could see tables being taken down from a trading card show that are sometimes set up in malls in the main isles. She was confused at the fact they were tearing down at 1PM and asked one of the vendors, they told her that because of a lack of patrons, it was a waste of time to stay, so they left.

    What a depressing thing indeed.

    I remember this mall having so many people passing through that people were elbow to elbow, although the last time I walked in the mall with my kids, they told me shhhh I was talking to loud.

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  38. I grew up going to Livonia Mall in the late 60s and 1970s. We also shopped at Westland a lot, though not at Wonderland so much since that was an outdoor mall then and really didn’t have nicer stores like Hudson’s at Westland. I also remember when Twelve Oaks was built.

    Looking at the photos, Livonia Mall has definitely been remodeled at some point. The floor tiles and ceilings are different. Also, the metal sculpture from the main fountain is gone.

    When I was little, Livonia Mall used to have very elaborate Christmas displays, scenes with large, moving figures. They pretty covered the mall from Crowley’s to Kresge’s. And yeah, Kresge’s was in the center of the mall in the portion that joined Sears to Crowley’s. I could be wrong, but I think there was a Sanders in that area as well where we used to get ice cream.

    I was shocked to see the Cinema is still open. Wow! And very saddened to hear how the mall has gone downhill. It used to have a lot of traffic, even with Westland. One of my favorite places as a kid was the restaurant at Hudson’s at Westland, where I’d get a hotdog, Coke, crayons, coloring book and a bag of Lay’s in a white shopping bag with circus animals on it. Also, I think someone mentioned Westland doesn’t have a fountain, but it used to right outside Hudson’s on the first floor.

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  39. Our family started going to the mall when it opened. Prior to this, the closest Sear’s stores to us were at Grand River & Oakman in Detroit or Dix & Southfield in Lincoln Park.

    Yes, the mall was remodeled, sometime around when the Mervyn’s wing was added. The original concrete-beam ceiling was painted the dark teal you can see in some of the pictures, and all the latticework and angled drywall suspended ceiling was added. This made the mall much darker and closed-in than the original design. Floor tiles were added, covering the original terrazzo surface. I never cared for the new look at all.

    There was a Sander’s in the mall, it was across from Kresge’s. I had many the hot fudge sundae there in my younger days.

    When I was a wee lad, I made my first-ever call on a Touch-Tone phone from the pay phone kiosk that used to be near the fountain outside Sear’s.

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  40. Livonia Mall’s time is up! Demolition will begin this summer.
    http://deadmalls.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/livonia/#more-48

    There are still about two dozen retailers left. What will happen to them? And will anyone ever take a picture of LaBarro’s Pizza?

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  41. Livonia Mall’s last day was May 31st and on the day before it’s closing, a contractor was installing the fencing to prepare for the demo day. This mall had flourished under the management of a woman named Jean Hildebrandt. It was in the mid 90’s and after her retirement that this mall had started to decline. Part of the reason for the loss of shoppers was due to the type of stores that the new management was leasing too in order to keep their tenant occupancy rate up. At first, mall ownership was cranking up the lease rates for several years in a row and were losing longtime tenant’s until, occupancy had dropped off so drastically that they ended up lowering the rent and pretty much turning the mall into a spin off of Northland Mall.
    Until about the mid 90’s, Livonia Mall had been doing well up against Laurel Park and Twelve Oaks. It was the lousy management that couldn’t seem to get it right that helped in the malls demise.

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned a few of the other stores that use to occupy the mall. Hughes & Hatcher, Cunningham’s Drug Store, Winklemans, Farmer Jack Grocery store in the front that eventually became a CVS and the Chathams Grocery store that use to be in back where, JoAnn’s Fabrics is located now.

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  42. I think you are mistaken about the Farmer Jack and Chathams.

    Chathams was located across the street to the East in a place that was later to become a meat market named Fresh Choice, a KidsRUs and now Hokey World store.
    Farmer Jack used to be across the street to the South, up to the beginning of 2008 when A&P announced it was closing its Michigan based Farmer Jack stores.

    Although a Kresge store was located in the mall, it closed in the late 80’s, and solely branched out to what we now know as K-Mart, in which one was located two miles to the West, and did have a Farmer Jack attached to it.

    There was also a Orange Julius, Sanders, and a Big Boy restaurant located in the mall. KB Toys came in and out two times, and Spencer’s Gifts gave it a whirl for about a minute. Fanny Farmer candies lasted for a really long time, and a cool bar/eatery call Jonathan B Pub was in there for a while too.
    Of course this is only the tip of the ice burg.

    The last day the mall was open to the public, my daughter and her friend went in and walked around and took a bunch of pictures, she said there wasn’t anyone else in there except a couple of workers tearing out some wires.
    She said the lights were pretty much off, just enough to see, and all stores were closed. Walking through was creepy and it was so quiet it was like walking in a gymnasium she said.

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  43. LivoniaGuy, is it possible you could post any of the pictures you took?

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  44. Wow. how sad. I was there Oct of 2007, How bad it looked then—I left Michigan almost 17 years ago. I came back in 04 and the mall seemed to be doing o.k.—— How things change.

    Take photos to let the next gen see what we had

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  45. my god, it’s been awhile since I went to Livonia mall. my dad used to live about 3 blocks away and I would walk there (before I had my car) lol I just cant believe that it is going to be torn town (or has it already)….I can remember going to the mall as a child getting my picture taken with santa. the last time I went here was back in 96…..I thought the demolition of Wonderland mall was bad but now hearing about livonia mall….I would have never thought…well I only thought it was a matter of time before it would go down in history. god I need to get back there sometime and go around to recapture my youth before everything I have known gets torn down.

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  46. Livonia Guy,
    There was a Farmer Jack at the front of the mall in the 1970s. The space later became ACME Sporting Goods, then Arbor Drugs and then CVS. The memories I had at the mall growing up and also working there for three years. I walked around the mall earlier this year and was overtaken by the empty depressed feeling that now occupied the mall.

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  47. What a shame….I was there from the late 60’s to themiddle 70’s.

    This was the place to be…Sears toyland was the best, the sporting good section was a hunters dream. remember… thrift monday’s at sears. the mall had the best hobby shop ever. The I rember going to see Nick the Barber.at the barber shop….I remember they had about 9 barbers working all the time.

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  48. Does anyone remember the name of a store that was on the same side as and I think close to Big Boys? This was probably late 70’s to real early 80’s. It sold different kinds of treats. When you walked in, there were display cases on the right where you could pick what you wanted and at the end of the counter in turned to the right. I remember the back counter display case sold these rolled cracker things that were filled w/ different flavors of soft cheeses. They were so good. I always thought it was a Swiss Colony but I’m not sure and no one in my family can remember the name.

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  49. I grew up one block Northwest of “the Mall” (that’s what us kids called it) thru the 70’s up to the mid 80’s. Chatham’s was indeed on the North side of the Mall before it moved across Middlebelt road. I remember walking there (both locations) with my Dad late at night. I think a Comerica bank (my first account) occupied a portion of that location at the Mall for some time.

    To michele: The “treat” store near Big Boy’s may have been Saunder’s. But I recall a mirror image of the layout you describe. However, I think they closed (remodeled?) for a brief period. Maybe they flipped the layout.

    There was a pre-Mervyn’s freshening (late 70’s?) when the GAP and that weird food court was added. I would have guessed that Kresge’s closed around this time and was briefly replaced with a … I’d swear a Woolworth’s. Whatever it was, it didn’t last long. Not sure what occupied that spot longer-term.

    I also recall, almost in front of Kresge’s: Hot Sam the Pretzel Man.

    Wasn’t there a “diner” in Sears, first floor, Southeast corner??? Always seemed odd to me. I never went in there, but I remember seeing old people drinking coffee as I rode on my bike outside by the windows.

    The vacant land to the North and West was very interesting and a fun place to play (paved over when Mervyn’s was added). There were foundations of old buildings (home/barn), and an old gnarly Mulberry tree along the trail (former driveway?) that would extend “Melvin” road to the South of “St. Martins”. The open area was great for playing baseball.

    The wooded area was full of great trails and amazing hills for bike riding. It was generally known as “Suicide Hill”. There were many large bowl-shaped areas and one very tall point (the “Suicide Hill”) from which you could see most of the Mall parking lot over tree tops. Now it is in the parking lot. I even remember pheasants roosting there.

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  50. The Woolworth’s was a “Woolworth’s Express” It had a much smaller footprint than the Kressge’s.

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  51. the mall is still standing believe it or not. looks like demolition has been put on hold.

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  52. i remember my Daddy first went to Livonia Mall … It was in 1966 or 67 when he moved from Ohio to Michigan. He says that there was a Hudson’s at the mall… Was there a real Hudson’s at the mall, or was it at Westland? Yes, and Westland was so beautyfull back in the 60’s… A small suburban shopping center in the suburb of Nankin Township (now Westland). It had a 4-story Hudson’s, a small Kresge, and a Kroger supermarket. It expanded demolishing the Kroger and buliding a new JC Penny wing, the Kresge closed and became F.Y.E. and 2 or 3 other smaller stores. Livonia Mall was so cool too… It was an outdoor mall build by Jack Shenkman and developed by Shostack. Shostack sold the mall in the 90’s or 2005. LIvonia Mall had a GameStop, a Mrs. Fields, a KB Toys, a A&W Root Beer place, and the mall was so good! I think the A&W Root Beer place in Livonia Mall moved to Westland.

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  53. As of February 2nd, the mall demolition has started. Sears and Joann fabrics will still remain. They have the portion of the mall attached to Sears about gone now. And the Bakers Square restaurant is now closed.

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  54. According to this article in the Detroit News, the demolition of Livonia Mall has finally begun.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090210/BIZ/902100371/1409/METRO

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  55. Does anyone know where the dress shop, just outside of Sears in the Mall interior, went? They had lots of long formal dresses.

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    TenPoundHammer (Bobby) Reply:

    @Betty, it was Foxmoor.

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  56. WOW, someone forwarded this link to me recently so I could see a place I grew in as a small boy and teenager. The pictures reminded me of times I would run around the mall while my mother and grandmother watched me. I still have pictures of my brother and me visiting Santa Clause in the mall. Later on, I took my first date there to see a movie and have a burger. I no longer live in the state, but do miss those memories.

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  57. This coming July, Joann fabrics will close it’s doors at this location for good. They do not want to invest in modernizing this location.

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  58. Kurt, Hudson’s was at Westland. It lives on as Macy’s.

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  59. I lived in Livonia, Mi. for only 4 years and 3 months, my sons borned in Dearborn, Mi, so is difficult to me and it´s very sad. I miss so much for all the things we lived in Livonia, I hope we can back some day again.

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  60. all torn down within the last couple of weeks–so please save the photos
    sign for LIVONIA MARKET PLACE up but no exact details on what will go there
    thanks for the photos anf info

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  61. We have lived in Livonia for 24 years now, and I used to enjoy shopping @ Livonia Mall when my kids were little. It had all the stores that I like, Mervyns, Sears and the toy store. The mall wasn’t too big and all one level. It is kinda of strange now driving by, the mall is gone and being able to see the condo’s behind it. I am hoping that they put something decent up there. One thing they are talking about is putting a Walmart there. UGH!!!! We don’t need (nor want) another Walmart. There is one @ Plymouth and Middlebelt. What would be nice is a Lowes. Would also like to see a Old Navy.
    I grew up in Westland, and used to shop @ Westland mall (and still do). They had a big fountain outside Hudson’s, first time they turn it on the water shot too high, hit the ceiling and made marks in it. As kids we like to play on the goose with the golden egg. That now sits outside of the mall. I remember Kresge’s having a basement. You went downstairs and that is where they sold fabric. Also there was a grocery store (Kroger?) at end of mall. They had a metal railing up so you couldn’t take carts into mall. The mall also had a drug store @ one time, later became a steak house cafe like. Hugh’s & Hatchers was 2 floors also, they had a pond on the basement level outside. We love Sanders that was in the mall also.
    Looking forward to what becomes of Livonia Mall. I hope there are some nice places to eat, like @ Wonderland Mall. We just don’t want a Walmart.

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  62. there was never a gamestop nor fye at livonia mall; it was at westland

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  63. There was a F.Y.E and GameStop at Livonia Mall too. I remember walking by the F.Y.E store and purchasing a VHS there and there was a GameStop too. I remember walking by the selections of video games for sale.

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  64. i want a wall-e mart and cinema at the new mall. and a large macys would be nice too

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  65. WTF is “Wall-E Mart”? And one Macy’s is enough (the one at Westland and Fairlane)!

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  66. Hey Betty

    Did you end up finding out what that dress store relocated at?
    I have been trying to find it for months

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  67. Betty
    I FOUND IT!!!!!
    its called kims G and J in redford!!

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    Mary Reply:

    @Amal, where is it? Do you have an address? I’ve looked for it and can’t find it listed.

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  68. Man, looking at those pics takes me back. I grew up in the Westland/Livonia area and spent a lot of time at Livonia Mall as a kid and teenager. I bought my first real hockey jersey at the sports store that was next to the Big Boy. I can’t count how many times I’ve eaten at Koney’s growing up. So many memories of that place. My first girlfriend and I eating at the A&W, helping some random girl who saw me wearing a Pearl Jam t-shirt find a song by them she was looking for, going to the movies, all of that.

    The last time I remember being there was around Christmas of ’96. That place was packed with people. I moved out of state for a few years after that, and when I came back all I heard was how ghetto The Mall had become. I worked at the Toys ‘R Us across the street from there in the late 90’s, but never went back in for some reason. Now I wish I had.

    It’s a shame now when I drive through my old hood and see places like Livonia and Wonderland Mall gone. At least Westland Mall is still around and seems to be doing well. I guess if I ever get the need to reminisce about my childhood I can always go there.

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  69. I worked at United Shirt 13 yrs.1979-1992 when they folded.when it was on the corner and when it moved where Baker shoes was, then went to Winkelmans.I use to play at the field that had a big red barn on it .before the mall was built now im aging myself.We moved my parents that is in 1953 so i remember the mall very well.I was there during the renevations and the add ons .It so sadened me to see this corner change so much .yes there was a Chatams then it moved accross the street then it was a bank then the Gap.farmer jack was in the front where cvs is.Value city distroyed that mall degraded it something terrible.Jean Heildebrant passed so did Donna and Jan the office sec.So sad.;(

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  70. Yeh RIP Livonia Mall… I used to run that place.. i worked at the Time Zone arcade near the rear entrance.. man i miss that place alot… i worked there from 2002 – 2008.

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  71. I used to take my son to Koney Island Inn everytime we visited, especially after a haircut at Eugenios (now the Barber Post) at 8 Mile & Middlebelt. Koney Island had the best Cheese Omelets and Rice Pudding, and the Koney’s wern’t too bad either. Loved the people running the place. Sure wish I knew if they ever opened up anywhere else? Or what happened to them. I guess the past is always hard to give up. If anyone knows if the Koney Island opened up elsewhere-thank you. Also, could not forget the Sports Memorbilia shop and the Pet Store.

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    Todd Reply:

    @Bill, Koney Island Inn is BACK it’s at the new Livonia Marketplace (formally the Livonia mall) and the same owner from when it was in the Mall…been there many times and still as good as it was from the days it was in the mall.

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  72. I remember The Child’s World. It is a shame that it went bankrupt in 1993. It could not compete with Toys “R” Us.

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  73. I lived just down the road @ 7-Mile and Inkster. I worked as a projectionist from 94′ to 97′. I also worked at NuVision for about a year before it became Pearle Vision and I left to take over the Wonderland mall store.

    The mall was always busy until Value City came in. That was the death knell for the “Mall”. Value City drew more people in from the city. I think this scared away a lot of the suburban customers.

    You slowly saw the larger franchises go away and smaller Mom and pop stores opened up. For a while it had a pretty interesting assortment of stores but those stores always came and went quickly.

    One of the neatest things about working there was exploring all of the rooms and behind the screens. There was a ton of stuff that had been there since the place first opened. Fun stuff exploring.

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  74. I live on the road @ 7 Mile and Inkster. I have from 94 ‘to 97′ projectionist. I also worked for about a year before I left to take over Peel Vision and Wonderland Shopping Centre Shop NuVision. Value City Shopping Centre has been busy in. That was the death knell for the “mall.” Value City has attracted more people to urban studies. I think that scared off many customers in rural areas
    http://www.2010christianlouboutin.com

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  75. There was a F.Y.E and GameStop at Livonia Mall too. I remember walking by the F.Y.E store and purchasing a VHS there and there was a GameStop too. I remember walking by the selections of video games for sale.

    http://www.wto-sell.com

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    Bobby P. Reply:

    @taozi, Actually, f.y.e. (formerly Record Town) and GameStop were among the last chain stores left. I know when I was there four years ago just after the closure of Mervyns, the chain tenants left were f.y.e., GameStop, GNC, Mrs. Field’s, Foxmoor, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Foot Locker, Claire’s and Dollar Tree. Among those, f.y.e. and Claire’s were the first to go.

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    Misty Reply:

    @Bobby P., Don’t forget H & R Block! I know they were still standing until the end.

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  76. when i drove past that place it looking really nice from when they first started to re build it! ill have to go there

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    Borisav Reply:

    @briana, Shut up. It is ugly now, lots of childhood loss.

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  77. There’s a Walmart (Supercenter) there now, one of the smaller new prototypes with only one entrance but a full grocery selection.

    The Walmart is less than half the size of Sears. :P

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  78. When did Crowley’s Value City drop the Crowley’s name?

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  79. Now “Livonia MarketPlace” featuring Wal-mart, Sears, Koney Island Inn, GamePlay (formally Game Headz), Dots, math tutor, Great Clips, Radio Shack and a Version Store … with more building space yet to be leased or known tenants yet to move in.

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  80. What store is being constructed near Walmart?

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  81. The new Kohl’s store is scheduled to open on March 7:

    http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20120126/NEWS10/201260567

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  82. Crowley’s (Crowley-Milner Co.) was also the high-rise department store across Farmer Street from the Joseph L Hudson Co store in Detroit. (Continuity: Dayton-Hudson is the parent of Target.) I did most of my clothes shopping at the Livonia Mall Crowley’s. I remember the Sears (Sears-Roebuck) store had a cafeteria on the Middlebelt Rd side. It was mostly mall employees who ate there, I think, but it may have been open to the public. I knew a woman who worked there. The mall added a salad bar in the ’70s when salad bars first became a craze. I live in Arizona now, which is 20 years behind the rest of the country, and the Fiesta Mall in Mesa is going through the same throes as the Livonia mall has experienced, with competition from mega-malls and loss of anchor stores (from 4 to 1), plus decaying, abandoned surroundings.

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