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.