Fremont Mall; Fremont, Nebraska

Fremont Mall JCPenney in Fremont, NE

Fremont Mall opened in 1967 along East 23rd Street (Route 30) on the north side of Fremont, Nebraska.  The enclosed mall isn’t very large at 227,000 square feet and serves the immediate Fremont area, drawing from an entirely local population.  It is currently anchored by JCPenney and Gordman’s (A discount, uptrend big boxer much like Marshalls), with a recent addition by Hy Vee supermarket, a regional grocer based in Des Moines, Iowa.  Fremont Mall is owned by Dial Properties, a midwest real-estate developer located in Omaha.  Their site also contains a detailed profile of the mall’s site plan and demographics.

Both competition and proximity to Omaha keep Fremont Mall small and tidy.  In fact, it’s somewhat surprising it makes it at all. The demographics of the Fremont Mall’s trade area and its proximity to the comparatively large Omaha metro area give hints as to why the mall isn’t larger.  Fremont only has a population of 25,000 people and is fast becoming a bedroom community to greater Omaha.  Downtown Omaha is almost 40 miles away; however, the western Omaha suburbs are less than 20 miles away.  In addition, competition from the malls and retail strips in western Omaha clearly draw shoppers from the Fremont area who are seeking more value and variety than what is available locally.  

Fremont Mall is organized as a straight shot hallway between anchors Gordmans and JCPenney.  There are spaces for approximately 20 in-line stores between the anchors, and the space is approximately 75 percent leased.  Despite the mall’s size, national and regional chains such as Bath and Body Works, The Buckle, Maurices, Claire’s, and Radio Shack complement local retailers in the mall.  There is also a 4-screen movie theater.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the mall to me personally is the logo still used by JCPenney.  According to various sources, JCPenney switched from the logo you see here to their current logo in the early 1970s.  So, since this mall opened in 1967, that probably means the “Penney’s” logo used here is original, which is pretty cool.  This older logo was also in use recently at the Southroads Mall in Omaha and the Memorial Mall in Sheboygan, WI; however, both of those locations have closed within the past few years.  As another personal aside, I think the older “Penney’s” logo is aesthetically better (and more striking) than their current one.  The dark letters with the neon background make the turquoise P stand out and it looks great.

I took the pictures featured here on a very hot day in April 2002.  Feel free to leave comments if you have more to add about Fremont Mall, and let us know if the Penney’s logo is still in use. 

Fremont Mall JCPenney in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE

Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE

Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE Fremont Mall in Fremont, NE

Fremont Mall sign in Fremont, NE

48 Responses to “Fremont Mall; Fremont, Nebraska”

  1. The black-front store in picture Fremont mall 09.jpg was a Stage department store; it may have been something else originally.

    [Reply]

  2. Yeah, it definitely was Stage. Their store shells are pretty obvious; also, the development company website still lists them as a mini-anchor on their site plan.

    [Reply]

  3. Well, that had to be a treat for your eyes, Prangeway. A JCPenney, seemingly updated inside and out (including the logos) but yet, you go into the enclosed mall….suprise!

    I really bet this was a case of error on the company’s part. Usually they remodel their stores inside and out, but I guess they jumped ahead and assumed this mall was completely dead (which, judging by the pics here, it doesn’t look THAT bad, considering it’s so small.). Thus they didn’t bother with dismantling the interior mall sign.

    Their error was your gain here and that of the blog’s followers. Loved seeing a clear shot of that old ‘Penneys’ signage again. I wholeheartedly agree with your personal statement.

    Many 1965-1971 era stores were updated throughout the 1980s to replace signage and expand clothing departments into former ‘hard goods’ areas of larger stores. Others, as you stated with the case of Sheboygan WI, were simply shuttered.

    The mall interior itself here reminds me alot of some of the small malls I’ve visited over my life, most of which are gone or have been ‘big-boxed’ and turned inside-out, eliminating the interior hallway.

    [Reply]

    Nathan Davis Reply:

    @Matt, I’m shocked that they still kept that old Penney’s sign up! Wow!!! How many malls today still have that old Penney’s sign? I don’t think many do. And I think the last time they used that logo was probably back in 1970 or ’71. That would be cool if they go back to that logo in the near future because I love that JCPenney sign! I think the JCP one was a complete failure. Then the reverted back to the “JCPenney” sign. Who knows if they may go back to this one.

    FYI The old Penney’s store at Monroeville Mall had the same logo; and that mall was built in 1969. I still like the old Penney’s store better than the new one. I mean the new one is nice; but it’s just too small. Besides the original Penney’s store was featured in scenes from the original Dawn Of The Dead.

    [Reply]

  4. This site is amazing. Not only did you guys unearth old Kmart stores with the red and green logos, you found what could possibly be the only ’60s Penneys sign still attached to a mall entrance. You made my night!

    I wish the electified nostalgia could have fully stretched the exterior of that store, but the funky brown and white color scheme is still pretty sweet, even with the updated logo.

    Speaking of which, I’m a fan of both JCPenney logos. The ’60s model is the most distinctive, but the 1971 logo is a classic as well. it seems a little “old-hat” because we’ve have seen it for 35 years, but it was and is reasonably fresh and contemporary.

    [Reply]

  5. Unfortunately, JCPenney’s replaced their sign and have the new logo in it’s place.

    Yes, the dark fronted space in center court was a Stage. Originally it was Phillips.

    Two of the vacant spaces next to Maurices have been taken and made into one large space which has been leased by Amy’s Hallmark (opening Friday, August 25th). The space at the end of the mall (east past JCP) has been leased to square tires Total Car Care. Which leaves one small space and that large Stage space open.

    I have some other information that I am sure the writer of this article would be interested in. email me.

    [Reply]

  6. OMG… that low roof gives me claustrophobia… and no skylights. It looks like they took an old Wal-Mart and made it a mall. It’s too bed it is so univiting because they have some decent stores.
    Scott

    [Reply]

  7. Man this reminds me of the town I work in, Carroll, Iowa.

    I’ve always compared Carroll to Kearney, NE, Beatrice, NE, and Spencer, Iowa. They all have that strange feeling to me I can’t explain it really. Anyways, them towns usually have a Schweser’s (A clothing store in the NE/IA area….they don’t have a website), Buckle, Maurice’s, Christopher & Banks, JC Penney, Hallmark, and a Brown Shoe Fit Co. A majority of these cities have these in malls, but Carroll doesn’t. The Buckle in Carroll and Storm Lake, Iowa are the two remaining standalone stores within their chain as said by an employee there. Maurice’s has both an exterior and interior entrance, better looking than most (this mall here looks like a ghetto entrance lol) and I dunno I just like to blog about stuff like this forgive me lol. The JC Penney logo was neat even tho they took it down. To the main webmaster, can I have permission to start a forum about the Westgate Mall in Carroll? I’ll take pics and everything and describe it! And if anyone wants to talk to me my email is Nkbush@wccta.net! Talk to you later!

    [Reply]

  8. Finally, found a picture of the old Buckle logo. Anyone know if that mall still uses that sign? I actually really like it, that 80s neon look. How far back did The Buckle use that logo?

    Their location at the Orchards Mall in Benton Harbor, Michigan still uses that above “neon blue” logo as of March 2007.

    [Reply]

  9. To boomshakla: They had that same The Buckle logo at Metro North Mall, in KC, MO – although, The Buckle closed in mid-2006. The rest I’ve seen have the newer ones

    [Reply]

  10. Thanks for telling me. I also see that the Crossroads Center in Waterloo, Iowa has a picture of that old logo featured here. I haven’t caught up with looking at all these great articles/pics.

    Don’t want to get too caught up here, but when I saw that logo in the Benton Harbor, MI mall (Orchards) a few weeks ago, I did a double-take as I almost didn’t recognize it compared to their newer logo (and they also have another one in between this that was really dirt/earthtone color and scribbled, there’s a pic of it here). It looks so much sleeker and doesn’t fit their current store models/ambiences very well

    [Reply]

  11. My nearest mall (Forest Mall, Fond Du Lac WI)….their Buckle store still has the old late 80s/early 90s logo seen in the pics on this

    If they don’t pull out, I think it’ll be redone soon because it’s been there and looked the same since 1994 when they opened. It sorely needs the newest store prototype. All other Buckle stores around me in larger cities have all had their stores updated or will be getting updates this year.

    [Reply]

  12. Anybody know what the Gordman’s used to be?

    [Reply]

  13. Gordman’s used to be called 1/2 Price Store. Before that there was a store called TEMPO.

    [Reply]

  14. We are getting a Schweser’s in Centerville, Iowa. I had never heard of it, but found your blog while researching it. If anyone has any info. on them I would be really interested, as I see they have no website. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  15. Fremont, NE is the hometown of Schwesers. It is a department store with primarily women’s clothing. They also have some jewelry and purses. A lot of the older ladies really like it. The main store also carries childrens clothing, but I’m not sure if your store will or not. They have reasonably priced clothing that is very nice. They also have some nice professional attire at the main store.
    They DO NOT carry the “trendy” stuff like what the GAP, Buckle, etc. might have for younger people.
    Women aged 50 and up like the store a lot around here.

    [Reply]

  16. yes the buckle neon sign is still there but the pennys sign is gone..
    they changed a lot of things in the theater new carpet, added more theater now has more movies..
    put a new sign outside,,
    has a hallmark store now..
    and some nice small touches to it..

    [Reply]

  17. Ah yes, TEMPO. I wasn’t around for it, but my mother told me that our town used to have one of those. It was a discount store chain. I’m not sure when they folded, but our store closed in the late 1970s.

    [Reply]

  18. My mother works in the Fremont Nebraska JCPenney, and I lived in Fremont and surrounding area from 1972 to 1996, so I can provide more information about that store and its mall, if you would like.

    Long ago, the mall had a Walgreens with a restaurant! Also a TG&Y (I remember the CRAZY going-out-of-business sale). Schwesers had a small boutique store called Gladrags. Maurices used to be just a single-sized store, but now is double-sized. The change from 1/2 Price Store to Gordman’s was just a name change (Richman Gordman always owned it). There is a small side hallway that used to have a Regis Hair Studio.

    [Reply]

    karen jackson Reply:

    @Jayne, who was your mother? i used to work there too.

    [Reply]

  19. I have family that grew up in Fremont. We have pictures of my Grandma in a fashion show there when it first opened in the 60’s.

    [Reply]

  20. how sad that Penney’s dropped their vintage logo! They suck! I dont like the new logos, I liked that older one! It’s cute

    [Reply]

    Nathan Davis Reply:

    @Ed, I like the old one too! It sucks that they have to replace the old “Penney’s” logo in all the old shopping centers and malls that date back to the mid to late 60’s with the newer “JCPenney” logo. Well who knows by the rate of it they may go back to that soon.

    [Reply]

  21. There is a Schweser’s store in my hometown of Atchison, Kansas, two hours south of Omaha. It resides in a former Stage store location. I’ve never visited Fremont Mall but many years ago wasn’t it owned by Melvin Simon & Associates, now Simon Property Group? Also – does anyone remember when The Buckle was called “Brass Buckle?”

    [Reply]

  22. I can add my perspective from having worked for the mall management in he summer of 1977 (after 2 years at local Midland Lutheran College). I can affirm Scott’s posting that at that time the mall was owned by Melvin Simon, since that is who issued my paychecks. That is an indication of how busy the mall was. It was a bustling place then. Busy all day long. It is good to see how nice the interior looks. When I worked there, the floor of the mall was painted concrete. I was quite familiar with that floor because the last 1 1/2 month of that summer I worked nights cleaning the mall, which included mopping and buffing that floor.
    I can affirm the sparse parking lot because I was in Fremont for a day or so last summer and saw what the photos showed.
    My brother has lived in Omaha for 30 years and he has told me that the first thing that hurt the mall’s business was the opening of a WalMart about 2 miles east on Highway 30 near where the new 2 lane bypass was built. Unfortunately most of the in-line tenants between the anchors moved the the strip center with the WalMart, leading to the sleepy state it is in. I think the mall has never quite recovered because that 2 lane bypass highway is now improved to 4 lane interstate standards and all of the many retail centers of West Omaha are only 30 minutes away.
    Part of what kept the mall busy 30 years ago was the business from all of the small town within 20 miles of Fremont. I think most of those people now jump on that interstate-like bypass and are in West Omaha instead.

    [Reply]

  23. Randomly found this website..interesting. I am a current Fremont NE resident. I have never heard so many nice things said about our Mall. I would imagine that the reason that the signs have not changed is because J.C Penny’s probably doesnt know that this store is still open:) I rarely see any customers in there and have heard it is on the chopping block every year.
    Part of the reason some of the smaller stores left is because of the outrageous rent the Mall requires. You could build a new building with the amount they charge. (Walgreens) actually did build a new building. As soon as the Nebraska Sports (sporting goods) decides to leave, or goes out of business,…the mall will be closed. The movie theater cant keep the mall running by iteself.
    Neat photos though.

    [Reply]

  24. As a lifelong Fremont resident, it is interesting to see all of the comments here. It seems to me that business has been picking up at the Fremont mall the last few years. I don’t think that Nebraska sports will be pulling out of the mall soon, they are headquartered in Fremont.

    I’d also like to add that part of the original movie theater used to be a bar. Tom Tom lounge, I believe. It’s been gone since before I could drink, but I definitely remember it being there.

    A lot of the reason some of the stores left is because the rent was being charged the same as an Omaha mall, and the business doesn’t warrant that amount.

    Used to be a nice bookstore that I enjoyed, and the Gladrags store just relocated to the other side of the hall and reopened as Schweisers. That location was a Bugle Boy store for awhile.

    Gordmans has been there for as long as I remember (used to be called Half Price Store, the whole chain changed names), Radio Shack, The Buckle (used to be called Brass Buckle), and Maurices, too. Claire’s, Bath and Body, and GNC have been there for quite awhile…at least 10 years I would say.

    Not a terrible mall, but would have a lot more if Fremont were the same size but farther from Omaha.

    Thanks for listening

    [Reply]

    Nicole Reply:

    @Heather, What was the bookstore that was in the mall?

    [Reply]

    Krakenzmama Reply:

    @Nicole, it was called Read All About It, it was a small chain bookstore

    [Reply]

  25. For what it’s worth….found another 60s-era Penney’s sign on Google Street View…it’s at a downtown store in Great Bend, Kansas:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Great+Bend,+KS&sll=36.727173,-97.065217&sspn=0.008479,0.019312&ie=UTF8&ll=38.36656,-98.762927&spn=0.016588,0.038624&z=15&layer=c&cbll=38.366575,-98.762792&panoid=1bSJ7OWIIYMYvRGT5DlvZQ&cbp=12,324.6679516001955,,0,-1.0570925857413862

    There are newer signs on the other sides of the building.

    [Reply]

    Nathan Davis Reply:

    @JP, Unfortunately they have since updated it to the current one.

    [Reply]

  26. This mall reminds me very much of the South Park Mall in Spencer, Iowa. Approximately 200 miles away from Fremont, this mall in a small regional town of twelve thousand, with the nearest city with 50,000 people is at least 100 miles away, this town’s mall is fairly decent, with a number of stores to keep shoppers satisfied. Anchored with Dunham’s Discount Sports and JCPenney (ShopKo was the other anchor until it closed in the early 2000s), and remodeled in 2007, it makes for a somewhat decent shopping experience…

    I got my tour of this mall on my Flickr photostream if you wanna check it out…here it is:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21241102@N00/sets/72157613460233507/

    Hope you enjoy it and I appreciate your comments!! And any info on the mall would be great, also. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  27. That mall’s JCPenney is really retro. It has all of the 60’s style carpet and wall treatments. Tempo was a mid-sized retail chain that spanned across the entire midwest. A nearby town Columbus had one in the 30 Center Mall from 1964-1981. It was later replaced by Pamida. Beatrice, NE also had a Tempo in its Indian Creek Mall.

    [Reply]

  28. I bet people don’t go to that mall anymore because they can just go to the malls in west omaha like oakview or westroads, or village point.

    But you should do one on crossroads mall in omaha. I went there so many times when I was little with my parents. I have fond memories of that mall. Now the mall is slowly dying away. Stores have left and many places are vacant. The food court has no more restaurants, except for an Imperial Palace and some low key ny chicken place. The entire upstairs north wing has no stores there & is deserted. A target was put in where a Younkers was, but that didn’t boost the mall, and now the Dillards went so I dont know what will happen. The stores are all discount cheap stores and there isn’t much traffic there. Now people go to westroads mall.

    [Reply]

  29. The mall needs to close down. Whats the point going to the mall when theres stuff on the internet to buy alot cheaper. I shop at tj max since they have all the name brand stuff that old people and the younger people will like

    [Reply]

  30. I agree with (the Janitor from scrubs),
    Crossroads is dying.
    They still have a few shoe stores, Sears, Victoria Secret, a Nail shop, Like 3 kinda big urban clothes stores, claires, some mom and pop stores and the target that janitor talked about but thats pretty much it.
    all of the the food court is dead,
    and even Old Navy and lady foot locker within the last 2 months packed up and left.
    It really sucks cause I don’t want to travel all the way to westroads and oakview.
    And talking about westroads reminds me of the murders that sadly happened the other year in von maur (God help the love ones of the victims). Sadly that scared alot of people away from shopping in that mall. so now alot of people now go to Oak view which is not a good mall the layout is all wrong! and don’t even talk about mall of the bluffs…
    gotta go….
    hope crossroads isn’t history..

    [Reply]

  31. I was thinking about all the stores that used to be in the mall last night. I remembered Tempo and TG&Y also. had forgotten about Phillips. Remember the Tom Tom Lounge? How bout when Pearl vision was there and Aladins Castle, Tober’s and the Walgreens restaurant? Any other stores people remember?

    [Reply]

    julie Reply:

    @jl, the Cibo House with the french fries and gravy!
    I loved Phillips becuse mom would buy us stuff with the green stamps!
    Gladrags was there, SIir Knight, Hollys Hallmark where we hybg all the time and bought the candle thiings that you would drip on the back of envelopes to seal then presss your cool impression in it using a brass stamper!
    Loved the Walgreens Restraunt! The lady who wore a ton of makeup there in the makeup department is still working there!!! Same make up is still on!

    [Reply]

  32. The back of the JC Pennys still has the old sign I do believe! I’ll go check it out tomorrow!

    [Reply]

    Allan Reply:

    @julie, You actually are correct about this one! I looked on Google Street View all the way north on Yager Rd.(County Road 46), north of 23rd Street. Thanks for mentioning this one, and here’s a Google Street View link for everyone:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=jcpenney+fremont+ne&hl=en&ll=41.453527,-96.482867&spn=0.003015,0.013937&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=58.467737,114.169922&hq=jcpenney&hnear=Fremont,+Dodge,+Nebraska&t=h&fll=41.450945,-96.484938&fspn=0.006859,0.013937&z=17&layer=c&cbll=41.453524,-96.482864&panoid=2qZumzLhCV_b_LfkLYW2nA&cbp=11,237.78,,0,3.81

    [Reply]

  33. @jl: There was also a Tober’s store in my hometown of Atchison, KS…two hours south. I never knew there were any others!

    [Reply]

  34. I grew up in Fremont, and worked at the mall 1981-1983 at the Half Price Store, which is now Gordman’s.

    At one time there was a babershop (Jerry’s) which later became an ice cream place and finally a video game room (Aladdins)…TG&Y was originally a similar place called Scotts. The was a Zales Jeweler’s across from the Walgreen’s restaurant…where the theater is now was Phillip’s which was a better quality place. There was fashion store called Tober’s down by the Penny’s and also a Singer sewing machine store…Fiest Sate bank was there.

    King’s Food host was on the west side of the lot and Sambo’s was where the village Inn is now.

    [Reply]

  35. Was Phillips located in the middle of the mall? Was it clothing?

    [Reply]

  36. Oh and I do remember The Brass Buckle…..now I think they call it The Buckle. They had the best jeans back in the 70’s!! That’s when the mall had a lot of great stores. Even remember the Tom Tom lounge in the back…..and Walgreens was up front witha restaurant. Those were the days.

    [Reply]

  37. Phillips was in the middle on the north side, it had clothing mostly, but it did have housewares and a small toy department.

    [Reply]

  38. Hey all…

    I visited the Fremont Mall on Sunday and thought I’d share pictures I took of it. Though the pictures I have look very similar, some things have changed like the sign by Business US 30, and some of the storefronts. I really wish they would have left that vintage JCPenney logo alone…that would have been awesome to see in person! At least we have pictures!

    Here’s my Flickr set and all comments are welcome! Thank you!

    Nathan

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fourstarcashiernathan/sets/72157630055136025/

    [Reply]

  39. I used to operate the kiddie train at the mall during Christmas time in the mid eighties. I would bring a book to read because the job could get a little boring, well anyway I would get to reading and forget about the kids on the train until a mother would tap on the side of my booth and politely ask just exactly how long does this ride go? I would look up and see all these forlorn little passengers, some on the verge of tears others
    About to panic, I guess they had been going for a while, got their money’s worth.

    [Reply]

  40. A few updates on the Fremont Mall: GNC now occupies the space that was originally Jerry’s Barber Shop, a nail place is where Regis Salon was (also an original tenant). The theater has expanded into the original Phillips Dept. Store space (later The Stage) with 4 more screens. Hallmark left and has since returned to the Mall. Radio Shack has moved to a location farther East on 23rd St. The spot that was originally Zale’s Jewelers, later Read All About It bookstore, sits vacant. Gordman’s (1/2 Price Store) was sold by the Gordman family to a national chain. There is only one restaurant in the mall, Imperial Palace (Chinese), very good food but it is very exposed to the mall “hall” so feels like a fishbowl. Schweser’s has a sign that says going out of business. Oh, and there’s a Claire’s, but where isn’t there a Claire’s?

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply


eight − = 1