The nation is littered with places where two malls sprung up right next to each other — the post that sat at the top of the Labelscar homepage for *cough* uhh *cough* four months, the one right in front of this one, is an example — and in only rare case are both dominant. In general, one is the good one, and the other is the also-ran, making occasional strides towards being a legitimate peer by snagging a hot new anchor or having a more up-to-date renovation. The Moorestown Mall, which lives in the shadow of the amazing Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey, is one of these also-ran malls.
Moorestown Mall was opened in 1963 by PREIT, just 3 miles east of the Cherry Hill Mall on state route 38 in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. A large, sprawling one-level enclosed center, the original anchor stores in the Moorestown Mall were Wanamaker’s, Gimbel’s, Woolworths, and Sears. For obvious reasons, only Sears remains today, and the mall has had somewhat of a revolving door of anchors throughout the years:
- Gimbels became Stern’s in 1986, after owner Brown & Williamson sold off the chain. Stern’s remained at the mall for a short four years before leaving. The store was converted to “Ports of the World,” a new concept by Boscov’s ownership to covertly enter the Philadelphia market without anybody noticing (for some reason?). This silly experiment lasted very little time, and the store was converted to Boscov’s not long later.
- Woolworth lasted in the mall in their junior-anchor space until their demise; the space later became a Vans Skate Park (one of the many attempts to draw more crowds to the mall with a destinational retailer) before failing and being turned into a Foot Locker and ultimately a Black Diamond Mountain Sports.
- Wanamaker’s was absorbed into the Hecht’s nameplate in 1995, and the Hecht’s was ultimately converted to a Strawbridge’s (since this is the Philadelphia region, after all, so Hecht’s was somewhat of an anomaly here). This store was later torn down to make room for a new Strawbridge’s store and was converted to Macy’s in 2006.
I am sorry to say that the Moorestown Mall has always been the ugly stepsister in our family of local malls. Built in 1963 and only a few short miles from the Cherry Hill Mall, our mall has always suffered in comparison. When we moved to town in the early ’90s, the mall was a post-fire ghost town. There were rainy, wintry days when the “wooden playground” was not an option. I figured out pretty quickly that the mall was a great place to let the boys run. There was so little foot traffic that I could just let them rip and watch them as they ran towards Macy’s.