Shore Mall; Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic City), New Jersey

Shore Mall sign in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

This past weekend, I accomplished something semi-remarkable: With a swing through Southern New Jersey, I visited every mall in New Jersey–a state known for its malls, and a project that took six years to complete. Of course, I’m not kidding myself: New Jersey is truly the land of malls, and given how densely populated and suburban the state is, there has got to be some small enclosed malls hidden amongst the state’s thick nest of freeways. If you know of some particularly obscure malls anywhere in the state, then let me know.

Value City (former Steinbach) at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New JerseyOn Sunday night, I spent the night on the boardwalk in exciting Atlantic City, New Jersey, meaning that I got an early Monday morning jump on the southernmost part of the state, including the Shore Mall, located in Egg Harbor Township just on the mainland side of Atlantic City. Unlike most malls in New Jersey, Shore Mall is worn out and showing its age. I was unable to find a concrete date for when the mall opened, but judging by the architecture I would lean towards the early 1970s (or possibly the late 1960s), and it clearly hasn’t received any major upgrades since. It was visibly built to serve the then-already-poor Atlantic City area, and in the intervening years has been bypassed by the middle class who has moved further out from the blighted, high-crime inner city in favor of suburbs like Hamilton, home of the larger and more modern Hamilton Mall. The Shore Mall’s current anchor stores are Boscov’s (purportedly the highest-grossing outlet in the chain!), Value City, and Burlington Coat Factory, the latter two of which tend to be signs of a dying mall. The Value City store was originally one of many locations of Asbury Park-based department store chain Steinbach (who has long fascinated me–I’d love to know more about them) and the Burlington Coat Factory was, until 2000 or so, a Clover location. There was also a KG Mens Wearhouse store attached to the outside of the Burlington Coat Factory, but their building was clearly a former Circuit City.

Architecturally, the building isn’t terribly distinct: there are three anchor stores lined up along the side closest to the Black Horse Turnpike, with a long, straight hallway leading back from between the Burlington Coat Factory and Boscov’s stores to the Value City store in the rear. The massive parking lot is pock-marked and trash-strewn. Large swaths of the space seem disused.

Steinbach, 1994:

November 1994 shot of Steinbach's inside Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, NJ

The same space, occupied in 2006 by Value City:

Value City (former Steinbach) at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

The Shore Mall was sold in January of 2006–I’m not able to find who sold it to whom, strangely–and the new owners announced that their plan was to disenclose the mall within three years. Given the nearby, prosperous Hamilton Mall–located in a safer area and in far better physical condition–this may be an unavoidable conclusion. The demographics of the immediate surrounding area are not strong, and many have concerns about safety in the area. We may be saying goodbye to this graying, crumbling relic before long, so if you find that you’re in the area, take the time to spin by.

Historic 1986 shots of former Sears and JCPenney stores, currently occupied by Boscov’s and Burlington Coat Factory/KG Men’s Wearhouse:

1986 view of Sears at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 1986 view of JCPenney at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

November 2006:

Shore Mall Boscov's in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Burlington Coat Factory (former Clover) at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall Boscov's in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Mall entrance from inside Boscov's at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Value City (former Steinbach) at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Author: Caldor

Jason Damas is a search engine marketing analyst and consultant, and a freelance journalist. Jason graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Music Industry. He has regularly contributed to The Boston Globe,, Amplifier Magazine, All Music Guide, and 168 Magazine. In addition, he was a manager for a record store for over two years. Currently, he focuses on helping companies optimize their web sites to maximize search engine visibility, and is responsible for website conversion analysis, which aims to improve conversion rates by making e-commerce websites more user-friendly. He lives in suburban Boston.

103 thoughts on “Shore Mall; Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic City), New Jersey”

  1. Kind of an eerie little mall found somewhere outside the 1980’s. Like NJ is typically known for (crime), it seems like you really have to go into ugly territory to find some of the retail relics.

    I really like that “Mall” sign amidst the mirror ceilings in front of Value City. Have you ever noticed how most surviving shopping malls have escaped calling themselves a “Mall” as if it’s a curse word? Kind of like what Scott said yesterday, it’s almost a better strategy to use cheap yet renouned names like “The Shoppes at…”.

    For some reason, those Value City stores always throw me back to recently departed retail eras Caldor, Bradlees and/or Ames. Superb pictures.

  2. At least there is a nice store like Boscov’s keeping the mall alive for the time being. Perhaps Boscov’s should move to the Hamilton Mall, after they expand (just as suggestion).

  3. Creepy that this went up the day after this mall made it to

  4. Did you make it to Kinnelon Mall? It’s a very small local mall, but it was big enough for about 20 stores in its prime. Most of them went away in the early to mid-80s, and the mall was on life support for years, with only the Pathmark keeping it alive (and I suspect the fact that the Pathmark was the only 24-hour store in the area was the only thing keeping it alive amid stiff competition). Sometime in the early 90s, a movie theatre was added, but it did little for the fortunes of the rest of the mall, except perhaps the pizza place (which never seemed to hurt for business despite average pizza and rude service). Haven’t been up there in years, and am curious how the mall is doing now.

  5. The Kinnelon mall is still there. Still has the Pathmark, but 95% of the other stores left.

  6. Nope, I didn’t get to the Kimmelon Mall–I’ll have to swing by the next time I’m in the area. Do you know where it is exactly?

  7. Kyle — That doesn’t surprise me. Except for the theatre, Kinnelon Mall’s been pretty much the same for 20 years, and given its awkward location (esp. with all the stores that opened when the 287 exit opened), I don’t see that changing. Is that weird little variety store still there?

    Caldor — Click on the link in my original comment. 🙂

  8. Because of the range of merchandise it sells (including electronics, large appliances, candy, sporting goods, and toys), Boscov’s is unlike any other department store in the country: it is truly the last remaining great traditional department store. Out of all the department stores still in existance, Boscov’s is by far my favorite.

    If Caldor or Prangeway have the opportunity, I hope one of them can do a profile on Boscov’s. I apologize if this sounds selfish, but Caldor and Prangeway have such a unique and engaging writing style that I would love to read their blog on Boscov’s.

    On another note, the Boscov’s in the Shore Mall was a Sears at one point. (Although I have no idea when the Sears closed and the Boscov’s opened.) I was very surprised to learn that this particular Boscov’s is the highest grossing store in the chain. However, I do remember reading that the Boscov’s in downtown Binghampton, NY is the chain’s lowest grossing store.

  9. You’ve overshot the build date. I can’t find it exactly, but if memory serves me, the mall was built in 1975. The picture you have posted of the front of Value City — about exactly where that sign is standing there used to a giant plaque in the ground that commemorated the opening of the mall, and said that there was a time capsule there, to be opened in 100 years (which I remember it saying 2075). The mall actually has had a remodel — but I would give it an incomplete at best. In the late 80s/early 90s they re-did much of the interior space (lighting, tile-work) and enclosed the entire mall (the main axis had an open-air sort of plaza with stores before you actually walked into the building). Strangely, they did nothing to the outside nor to any of the signage (which I’m convinced is why that mall got stuck in the 80s.) If they had only changed the signs, the place would likely be back in fashion (it had polished concrete floors and mod “globe” hanging lights in places).

    And don’t be deceived, it may be prettier, but the Hamilton Mall is no safer. There have been shootings and muggings in their parking lot.

  10. Max, that surprises no one, since downtown Binghamton, as a whole is a dead zone for retail, and the only thing that is even remotely worth going to there is the Boscov’s.

  11. When I lived in southern NJ in the mid 1980s, I remember going to the Shore Mall only a few times, mostly because, as I remember it, it wasn’t particularly nice even then. My family would go to Deptford Mall or Echelon Mall (also a dying mall now) more frequently.

    I remember the Shore Mall anchored by Steinbach, Sears, and JCPenney. It was a very small JCPenney (where Burlington Coat Factory is today). Both Sears and JCPenney moved to Hamilton Mall when it opened around 1987. (Interesting Hamilton Mall side note– I remember the “coming soon” signs for the mall announcing Sears, JCPenney, and Bamberger’s, but Macy’s rebranded all its Bamberger’s stores as Macy’s by the time the mall opened, so Hamilton Mall never saw the Bamberger’s name.) Also, somewhere around where Circuit City was at Shore Mall used to be a supermarket called Foodtown, if my memory is correct.

    A note for Caldor– My aunt worked for Steinbach for many years in its Asbury Park flagship and later in the Shore Mall store. She died a few years back, and I inherited some of her Steinbach memorabilia. Steinbach (as well as Hess’s of Allentown– also had family who worked there) has always interested me, too, and I’ve been trying to piece together some of its history as well. I should look through it again and see what I find.

  12. Shore Mall originally opened in 1968 as a “Searstown” shopping center. It originally was anchored by Sears, Grant City and Pantry Pride. In 1974 it was enlarged and enclosed and in April 1974 added a Steinbach store from Asbury Park. (Steinbach was founded in 1870 in Long Branch, NJ and moved to Asbury Park shortly afterward. It was sold to Genung’s in 1962 and Supermarkets General in 1968. It had branches in Red Bank, Brick, Manalapan, Elizabeth, Plainfield and later Seaview Square-a totally dead and gone mall near Asbury Park. The downtown Asbury Park store closed in 1979. The Shore Mall and other larger branches closed in 1992. The chain finally ended in 1999. I could go on about “The fashion store of the Jersey shore” but I’ll pass unless asked.) When Grant City closed in 1976 it became a small JCPenney. Pantry Pride became a Foodtown becoming a Circuit City. Sears left in 1986 for Hamilton Mall and JCPenney followed a year after. (Hamilton will be in the dead mall category within 10 years.) Boscov’s arrival was announced at Christmastime 1986 as a “reprieve” for the mall. Penney’s soon became Clover, a discount division of Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier. By the late 90s, and after several courtroom battles, Clover became Burlington Coat Factory. None of the original stores are still there, a few have moved locations. The time capsule for Steinbach is still there. But Shore Mall may be tattered and torn a little but it refuses to die. Hamilton Mall needs attention. Macy’s (ugh!!) seems OK but the rest of the mall needs attention. Has anybody been to Rio Mall lately? That’s a whole other story for the state’s most southern enclosed mall.

  13. Michael, do you have any info about Rio Mall? I can’t find anything on it.

  14. Rio Mall was and is located at the intersection of Rt 47 & Rt 9. It opened for business around 1973 and built itself as the “county’s only enclosed shopping mall’. It opened with a Grant City, A&P, Thrift Drug and around 20 stores in an enclosed mall including Palley’s Jewelers, an upper-end jeweler from Atlantic City (also formerly at the Shore and Hamilton Malls), Deb Shop, JS Raub Shoes and one thing for every purpose. It also housed the Rio Twin Theaters (which I think are still used). In 1976, Grant City closed with all of the others and Kmart came in. The mall remained active through the early 90s because there isn’t much else to do in the winter time in Cape May County. That has changed as more year-round residents and tenants moved it. I last truly visited in 1996. A&P (Super Fresh) was a Staples, Palley’s was gone, but most everything else was still active. Well Kmart received an upgrade as Wal-Mart built across the street. The mall is still there, in a ‘smaller’ way. As of Summer 2006 no Staples, no drug store. The mall itself is under 200,000 square feet. Staples is now a ..Save-A-Lot. You used to always see the “RIO MALL” sign from the Parkway’s Exit 4 but that is now gone. The mall is under a different name now but is definitely, ‘historically’, should be listed in any directories.

  15. While I find Shore Mall to be quite the strange place–I’ve never heard of a convenience store located in a mall before–I wouldn’t quite put it in the dead mall category. I work not too far from this mall. During the height of the Christmas shopping season, the parking lot was packed and the TGI Friday’s which I popped into was busy.

    Michael, why would you say the Hamilton Mall will be dead within 10 years? I’m not familiar with the area, but unless something really major happens in the Atlantic City area, I can’t see it happening. Just curious. 🙂

  16. I can’t say that Shore Mall is actually a ‘dead’ mall. It’s a strange mall but it’s part of my past. That mall wouldn’t die even with both anchors dark in the front of the mall in the late 80s. I debate many malls that are listed as ‘dead malls’. But shopping is changing and I’m not sure how malls will evolve into lifestyle canters and bix boxes and so on. Hamilton Mall still has a strong (ugh!) Macy’s and having just Sears and Penney’s doesn’t make it unique. But national tenants have been leaving steadily over the past years. I had to spend 3 hours there 2 summers ago to get repaired at Sears and I was dying after 2 hours. Who knows maybe it’ll become a larger, newer Shore Mall. But I wouldn’t be comically surprised if Shore Mall outlives all of us! (Remember the time capsule- with the day’s (1974) paper and Steinbach merchadise.) I have a dark photo of the front of it from 1986 in its glory and a picture of the front of Steinbach. I should post it.

  17. Michael:

    If you have an old photo of the Shore Mall handy, we would be happy to post it here! Feel free to email it to me at the address listed on the “About Us” page.

  18. I’m very computer dumb so I will when I can. I just got a new MacBook and printer/scanner so once I learn how to use it I will. Remember, it’s film and the front of the mall picture needs to be lightened but two photos can be placed together to get a “wide angle” view. Once I figure it out I will. I have HUNDREDS of department store photos. Lots of store memorabilia. I also need to start a website but I’m still learning how to turn the computer on. (My first photo ever taken was of the Lits store at the Echelon Mall!)

    Any special requests? I just might have it.

  19. Regarding the Hamilton Mall:

    I’ve only been inside once, so I couldn’t really tell how currently successful or going downhill this mall is. But even the mall I do shop and hang out at regularly (Freehold Raceway Mall) never seems to have any less than 10% or so of their stores vacant–and they’re considered to be one of the best malls in the state.

  20. I went to the Shore Mall last month, and my feeling is it is NOT a dead mall. It’s just an outdated, low rent, not upscale mall, but it had a lot of people walking and no vacancy issues. I also thought Hamilton Mall, which is like the replacement mall, which should have annihilated Shore, wasn’t very strong of a mall.

    About 30 miles away in Vineland, NJ is Cumberland Mall. I guess if one is in Hammonton, they can choose to go to either Hamilton to the southeast, Cumberland to the south or west up Route 73/38.

    I thought the Cumberland mall, operated by PREIT, was in better shape than Hamilton Mall, operated by Simon, even though Hamilton has a Macy’s and a larger JCPenney store. Cumberland Mall has a ValueCity though, which shouldn’t be an anchor in the mall anymore, as it just weakens it. The mall has surpassed the need for ValueCity, and could use a larger JCPenney store instead.

  21. I remember the shore mall well! I was there for it’s highly anticipated grand opening in either 1969 or early 1970. It was touted as being a major competition to the Cherry Hill Mall, which was the closest thing like it about 50 miles away. The mall actually went through 4 major expansions. It was originally an outdoor mall with beutiful rock gardens. They added a small enclosed prtion in 1971, another enclosed additon in 1972, and the big one where they added a Steinbachs in 1974. It was a wonderful mall in it’s day, I can remember just about every store that was in there! Any questions, just let me know!

  22. The original mall when opened was called “Sears town” and had a Sears, Grants, Thrift Drug, Pantry Pride, and a tavern in the front. There were several small stores in the mall area like an ice cream parlor, Singer Sewing Machine store, Thom McCann shoe store, Lamplighter gift shop, Tres Chic boutique, and a book store. The first addition added some cool stores where I used to buy all my clothes: The Emporium, Chess King, and Horse Feathers. A Jack Lang clothing store, Ormond, Deb Shop, Palley’s Jewelors, and hair salobn, a pizzeria called Capri (which I believe is still there), Parklane Hoisery, Merle Norman Cosmetics, a record store. The “big” addition added a Spaceport arcade, Copper Rivit, Chanterelle Gifts, a bank, Homberger’s, Orange Julius, sports store, and a Steinbach Dept Store (which was really the nicest store around when it opened!). I spent much time at this mall as a teenager and looked forward to each addition that opened.

  23. Who remembers the talking Christmas tree in Steinbach I believe it was near the escalator and having their picture taken with the Easter Bunny and Big Bird from Sesame Street and my favorite memory the world’s largest pinball machine in the entrance of Spaceport,does anyone happen to remember the name of that pinball machine,i’ve been trying to think of it for awhile now.

  24. Lots of great info here. The Hamilton Mall seems dead, too. How are they expanding it? Also, what was supposed to be in that empty space (north of the mall, is just a grass square lot adjacent to the mall, and inside is just a blank wall.)

  25. I would not say the Hamilton mall is dead as of yet. However if the mall contiunes in its current state it will be a dead mall in “ten years” as Michael said above. The mall’s biggest competitions as many locals know are the Walk and the Shops at Cesaer’s both in AC. Those “centers” have upscale tenants that HM should have gotten but they didn’t get them. That hurt in a big way becuase any enclosed mall currently that wants to survirve in the long run, needs to have shopes for all tastes. HM in a way has stores for all tastes but for those money spending trendy individuals, it doesn’t. Another problem with HM is that it needs a unique anchor that will attract shoppers. Macy’s , JC Penny and (uggh!) Sears are okay but not good enough for today. Boscov’s might not be the most unique anchor but when the Shore Mall turns to rubble, Boscov’s could move into the empty space in the HM which by the way, has always been empty in case another anchor was needed. That would help since people in the Tri-State area LOVE Boscov’s. If not Boscov’s then maybe Lord and Taylor only becuase the closet Lord and Taylor is at FRM and that’ s a long drive. The reason I say Lord and Taylor is because unlike other high retail departmnet stores they seem to spread out their stores evenly. They also need to deal with the barely used once proud Race Track. It can’t stand there rotting . If it is no-longer used then tear it down and re-develop the grounds. I could go on but I don’t want to see this mall become a graveyard. SIMON, please do something, most of your malls are doing very well, don’t let demograhpics catch up to you. SAVE HM and do it as quick as possible!!! I know many of you might have different opinions but I think you will agree that a change must come soon and I mean soon!

  26. I haven’t been to the Hamilton Mall in years, but I did notice a couple of things:

    – That Macy’s is a clone of the Macy’s in Bridgewater Commons
    – The bare spot in the back was supposed to be a Steinbach years ago, but never got developed. I would suggest putting in a lifestyle/entertainment wing with a movie theatre in the same fashion of the Garden State Plaza expansion recently completed.
    – Lord and Taylor would be nice, but I don’t think it would work down there.

    I hear that Hamilton Mall was renovated a couple of years ago…what was done in the renovation?

  27. All that was done in the renovation was a new floor, new exit signs and some new paint jobs on the outside. The whole structure of the mall stayed the same.

  28. I heard something about a renovation there or something… i dont really know

    they should expand it, but similar to the Natick Collection in massachusetts. And they should completely overhaul the interior, even if they’ll have to close the mall in the process.

  29. Boscov’s would be great – but they are too provincial and they’re family owned. They figure no need to change (or upgrade) malls, and they don’t build their anchor stores – they typically take over another site.

    Lord&Taylor is also in Moorestown Mall, in South Jersey, and I doubt the new owners would expand to Hamilton Mall. They didn’t even re-open the Christiana Mall, Newark DE store even though DE is sales tax free attractive (consider that Maryland has a clothing sales tax).

    A movie screen as a mall addition can be good or bad. Neshaminy Mall in PA has a huge AMC but the movie theater traffic doesnt bring the right traffic. It brings in a lot of teens and middle schoolers, and that mall lacks good retail.

    However other malls like The Mall in Columbia (Columbia MD) has restaurants and movies (all outside) but pedestrian friendly to the enclosed mall, so there is that needed separation between movies and mall. Its more like a outside court.

    PREIT is doing something creative with the Plymouth Meeting Mall. A Whole Foods and an outdoor lifestyle center are being built extended from the mall.

    The original Plymouth Meeting was in a decent area, but couldn’t get the upscale stores – because they were in near enough King of Prussia Mall, so PREIT is relying on Whole Foods, themed restaurants and the attractiveness of outdoor retail (typically cheaper rent).

    PREIT is shaping some of the malls up in the Philly area – its too bad they don’t own HM.

  30. I grew up in Neptune, NU and worked in the Asbury Park Steinbach’s in the 70’s. I was a very upscale type store for the area. Reminisce of the old Gimbel’s in Herald Square. The best part of the store was the old elevators. They had the gates that closed before the door and each had an elevator person, that called out the floors and pulled the lever to open the doors. None of the other Steinbach’s could ever touch the downtown one. It was also a very clean and nicely stocked store.

  31. Obscure malls, eh?

    Try Hudson Mall in Jersey City. I can’t imagine anyone who would rather go there than the impressive Newport Centre Mall but it seems to be surviving. It’s on Route 440 south of Route 1

  32. South Jersey Malls are weak both shore mall and hamilton mall. When is NJ going to get their act together and try to land some big name places. Would could use a place like Big 5 sporting goods at the shore mall. And how about some decent places to eat like California Pizza Kitchen Sonic and Red Robin Hamburgers none of those places are considered upscale and should suit middle and low class families well they make up most of south jersey

  33. The reasoning for this is simple, the households with money are an hour west & an hour north.

  34. There is wealth around the Atlantic Co, and wealth travels in and out of it. It can also hub as a suburban center for Southern Ocean, Cumberland and Cape May as well. You also have people from an hour or more west that do business or own second homes an hour southeast also.

    And, you can have a successful mall with mid-income HHs around. You get a number of fast casual restaurants (like Chipotle) around, some smaller apparel chains (like Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear), Trader Joes, maybe a Barnes & Noble as far as high end, some themed restaurants, and entertainment, and you can actually do without the really high end or need to attach another traditional dept. store on to the mall – as mallguy pointed out a lifestyle/entertainment wing.

  35. I would like to see some Shore Mall store photos from the 70’s and 80’s such as Doctor’s Pet Shop,Copper Rivit,Space Port,Chess King,Tom McCann and The Piercing Pagota.

  36. I was hired by Boscov’s in the summer of 2006 for a new store in Pittsburgh and was told I would be spending a week in Atlantic City training at their top store, having never been to AC before and with it being their top store I assumed it was gonna be in some new fancy mall with all the bells and whistles one could ever imagine….of course as the photos and article show I was way off, the Shore Mall is a dump and to this day I am amazed at the business that our store there can do, it really comes down to the old real estate motto of “location, location, location” The Shore Mall is so close to the highway that is the first thing people see I guess.

  37. If I was the developer, I’d demall Shore Mall – keep Boscov’s and Burlington Coat Factory as big box tenants. Boscov’s has big box store in Christiana, DE. The ValueCity store was bought by Burlington Coat Factory already, so Burlington would have to be bought out.

    Then add Costco, Wegmans, and a number of smaller big boxes, but A list big boxes. This would utilize the location of the mall near the highway more effectively.

    As for Hamilton Mall, my points are above on what to do to spruce it up.

  38. Oh man, I’d never even heard of Cumberland or Kinnelon(!) Malls.

    The Cumberland had a 50,000 Square foot Penneys! That’s tiny! Comparable to the mini-store up in Mountain Valley Mall – North Conway Vermont (a sad mall indeed, as much interior as Kinnelon I’d say.

    Kinnelon looks absolutely tiny, what was the original anchor there?

    I’ll have to go there one day, it looks so funny.

    Oh wait, I just realized that wasn’t where I thought it was. I was JUST up there looking at a used car, SHOOT!

  39. I meant “alive”, and by “alive” I mean open. Because, supposedly, it was to be demolished as per another article.

  40. As far as i know, it’s still open.

  41. Still open, and pretty busy at 2:00 Wednesday afternoon. The fountain is still operational, and while a little dingy, the rest of the mall is clean. The Value City is goin gout of business, so who knows what will happen there. In the above picture of Value City, there is a blocked off storefront; today, that’s a DMV location. There’s still a Foot Locker, Payless, Hallmark store, along with some mom and pop stores (some of which are worse than others– the Chinese Massage Parlor comes to mind). The lame “Food Fest” sign is still there. Only two or three unoccupied stores were noticed. I think this place definitely has its niche as a lower income type of mall, and I’d really hate to see it go the way of so many other smaller malls.

    BTW, it looks like the Friday’s on the outside hasn’t been remodeled yet; it still has all those Victorian-style Tiffany lamps on the ceiling.

  42. Does anybody know what the current situation is with this place.? I heard that Value City is closing and that will really effect the mall.

  43. I’m not sure what you’re talking about XISMZERO, I’ve been in this mall and this area several times and the area is fine and clean with no crime that I know of. There are a bunch of brand new style big box centers down the road too, it’s a pretty nice area.

  44. Ok, forger what i said about there being no crime, I just read the above comments. Suprisingly I have not heard of any of this.

  45. the sports store in the shore mall was called Olympia Sports. I distinctly remember their bags being blue with different sports poses on it (baseball player, basketball, soccer). There were skateboards hanging on the wall as soon as you walked in, and u could walk up some steps inside where all the surf boards and wetsuits were. I believe the only store that is still in the same spot as back in the day is the DEB. There used to be two pizza places, one was capri, the other was godfathers, which is now located by Target near the hamilton mall. Does anyone remember the lady that used to sit on a stool and paint portraits near the pet store. I believe she was missing her lower jaw or something???? Damn this takes me back, i would love to see some pics of the inside way back when

  46. This searstown mall goes back to my childhood life when my Father worked at Steinbach.
    By the way there is a mall in Vineland called the Cumberland Mall that looks simular to Shore Mall but is not.

  47. When it opened Searstown meant we didn’t have to got to Vineland to go to Sears. Grant’s and Pantyr Pride also fronted th Pike. Original it was an open promenade between the stores where Lamplighter, Thom McAn, The Singer store and several others were located. I was Assistant Manager of The Chess King Store before going into the Air Force. Chess King was the last of the outside stores before entering the mall were Docs Pet Shop was. The outside area wasn;’t enclosed until a later date after the new enclosed sections including Steinbeck were built. That would be after JC Penney became Clover. I used to go to Orange Julius for hot dogs and then over to Spaceport during my breaks. I live in Florida now. When we vacationed in Jersey we stopped by the mall – very sad.

  48. I was surprised to read that Atlantic County contributed for a loan to Boscov. Shore Mall is not in an urban area. While Boscov anchors the Shore Mall, what loss would it to be to the County if they lost Boscov. The developers could easily raze the entire mall, and get a Costco, Wegmans and a dozen of big box chains, that’d employ more workers and offer a better shopping experience, that don’t need a bailout right now.

  49. Actually, a Wegmans would be a great idea there. Though the area is probably not upscale enough for them to want to build there, and they aren’t building any more in NJ for at least 10 years. 2 more in PA, then 4 in VA and one in MD, that’s what’s planned so far.

  50. Wegman’s could work where the Hamilton Mall and Consumer Square is but since, like you said Ace Jay, they won’t be building any stores in New Jersey for quite some time, it’s not going to happen.

  51. Ooops!, I meant to say are and not is, Sorry.

  52. A little off topic on geographic area, but I heard from a pretty good source that Wegman’s was planning on building in Mahwah (other end of the state) in a redeveloped Crossroads Center. East Hanover (Morris Co) actually turned down Wegman’s since they did not want the increased level of traffic along Mt. Pleasant Ave, Route 10 and near Hanover Park HS.

  53. Does anyone have photos of The Shore Mall when it was called Searstown Mall,if so i would love to see them?

  54. How could the Steinbach have closed in 1992 if we have a picture of it from 1994?

  55. Just visited Shore Mall on Saturday…in some ways it now seems to be fulfilling a function much like mixed-use/New Urbanist centers: The DMV, the Boy Scouts, Egg Harbor Police, and the Jersey Shore Children’s Museum are all there. Also, there were large moonbounce-style inflatable basketball and baseball stations set up toward the end of the mall with the empty anchor store with some kids playing, and a psychic giving readings. Unfortunately, the fountain was drained and non-operational, but the Boscov’s was crowded and the pizza from the food court wing was tasty. With the Bergen and Echelon Malls recently renovated, this is probably the last example of a well-preserved 70’s style mall in NJ, and judging by the decent number of shoppers I saw, it seems to be holding its own.

  56. I grew up in south Jersey, the Shore mall was the bees knees when I went to high school. Reading about all the stores really brings back memories. No one seems to have mentioned the drive in, later converted to a regular movie house around 78/79. I spent most of my time at the spaceport playing astroids, air hockey pak-man.

    The pet store and spencer gifts were near by and My brother worked at the “Hickory Farms” for a while.

  57. @Michael,
    I KNOW THIS IS OLD but, can you sent a copy of the picture of the time capsule? do you know what is in it?? inquiring minds want to know!

  58. @Michael,

    Great history on the Shore Mall. I remember it before it was a mall and it was a Drive-in theatre– that was moved further back to make room for the mall. I lived within walking distance from the mall on West Jersey Ave. I was very young when it opened but will always remember it fondly. My mom worked at Grants. I remember going to the Bradford House (the diner at Grants) with my grandmother. There was also an ice cream parlor in the mall (Tiffany’s?) and a gift shop called the Lamplighter. I had my picture taken with Santa Claus there a couple of times over the year.

    Thanks for the info and the memories!

  59. @rachel, “The Mall” was built before 75. The original plaza was Seartown. JC Penney’s Replaced Grants after they went out of business. The third anchor store was a supermarket. I want to say Pantry Pride or Food Town but I’m probably wrong. Originally an open air shopping center built in the middle 1960s, the addition of the mall was built early in the seventies. The Mall addition which included Steinbachs was built around 1972. I got my Puma Clydes at Olympia Sports in front of Steinbachs (now the side of the DMV in 1973. The rest of the open air section of the mall behind Boscov’s was enclosed sometime in the 1980s. I worked at Chess King in 1978 we were unique in that we had a set of doors that opened out to the mall and a set that opened up to the open air section. There were fountains with white rocks originally. I stopped in around the beginning of September

  60. Thanks for the good post, It brings back some nice memories. We shopped at the mall many times in the 90s before moving west. It’s nice to see some parts are still the same. I remember the arcade near Value City quite well, spent a lot of time there. At Boscov’s, I recall always going straight to the toys when we went there. I think I have some photos from then which I will see if I can post.

    My parents moved back to jersey due to work, and I’ll be there this summer in July probably. If I get the chance, I will go to the mall and try to take some clear pictures outside and inside of every store that’s there and any other interesting things. In the meantime, bookmark’d this page.

  61. there is a another entrance that is covered up in white at the shore mall value city. maybe they used to have 4 entrances but they blocked off 2 of them

  62. wow read the whole article and the only thing i got from it was, “what an ass the person must be writing this piece.” we are not known for our malls. that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    also A.C. has the Walk (mall) and that is an urban city that is high in crime and still gets a lot of money. opposed to Shore mall which is located in Egg Harbor Township not in the inner city. E.H.T. is not high in crime.

    also have to take into account that it is in a secluded area so it would not get that much business. the shore mall is only dead cause it doesn’t offer a lot of variety in stores when compared to the Hamilton Mall!.

    Hamilton mall is located in Mays landing not in Hamilton its just a name! Mays landing is across the street from E.H.T.

    Get your facts straight before you Speak!

  63. I know this is a pretty old entry, but does anyone know what the “horrific event” was in reference to? The link now redirects to the front page of the newspaper.

  64. @Justice, I just removed the reference since it doesn’t really make sense without the link. But basically they found a bunch of dead prostitutes (like a handful) in a creek nearby. It was all over the news that morning.

  65. @yalo, I know right? I like Shore Mall a whole lot. I just moved to Atlantic County 2 months ago(Galloway/Absecon)…It’s fun to go to just to walk…Golden Corral is awesome and I love the huge area that Boscov’s has taken up…all the fun As seen on TV stuff and clearance items. Just noticed there is a huge movie theater. My fave store is Designer Consignments….great stuff for cheap….true religion, louis Vuitton etc….

    I just posted some label scars from the dead shopping plaza across the highway…it’s only tenant is Foreman Mills(awesome bargains)

  66. As has been noted the first incarnation of the Shore Mall started in the late 1960’s as an open area shopping center focused around a large, single story Sears store. The area around it also contained chain stores of that era like Kenney Shoes, and Robert Hall Clothing. At that point, downtown Atlantic City was the primary shopping district for the region, and featured a large branch of Philadelphia based Lit Brothers.
    As downtown Atlantic City fell into decline more stores moved into the area around Shore Mall and in the mid-70’s a new enclosed wing of Shore Mall opened. This wing was anchored by the largest outlet of the then upscale Steinbach chain, based at that point in Asbury Park. There is a picture of Steinbach in 1994 here, taken long after the chain went downmarket. In the picture, notice the space
    above the entrance, when Steinbach opened that area featured a full service restaurant with glass windows overlooking the mall. For Steinbach, owned at that point by Supermarkets General Corp., this store was a fiscal home run. They owned the market until the 80’s when Boscov’s took over the Sears location. From the time it opened, for almost 10 years, there was no other better department store in the area, and as Steinbach went downmarket, it kept up this store better than most, and stocked it better as well. For the record the Lit Brothers store was gone by 1977, and the only other department store in the area, Stainton’s in downtown Ocean City closed in the late 80’s.

  67. Does anybody remember the record store inside the shore mall? It was directly across from Spaceport. I’ve been going nuts the last week trying to remember the name of it.

  68. Does anyone remember the record store that use to be in the shoremall across from spaceport? If so, what was the name of it.

  69. Actually shore mall was huge in 1970s. Built as alternative to atlantic city. Supportedf by margate population back then. Time capsle is by sears

  70. Unfortunately the end is near. Cedar Realty Trust (the owner) is going to be demolishing 1/3 of the mall. The former Value City location and mall part are going to be razed. Essentially the plan is to keep the front of the mall which includes the previous K&G, Burlington Coat Factory, and Boscov’s as well as all of the outer buildings. The plan is to market the land that the former mall stood on as available/vacant commercial land. The Press of Atlantic City has several articles discussing the plans. I’ve added some links to the Wikipedia page of the shore mall that could help.

    A little timeline of the Anchors:
    Sears (1968-1987) > Boscovs (1988-Present)

    Grants (?-?) > JCPenney (?-1987) > Clover (1988-1997) > Burlington Coat Factory (1998-Present)

    Steinbeck (1974-1995) > Value City (1996-2008) > Temporary location for The Community Food Bank of NJ (2011-2012) > Currently Vacant (2012-Present)

    After being at the mall yesterday I can say its getting sad only because the mall is going to begin demolition at the end of the month. Up until stores closing and relocating this month the mall was hopping with only 3 or 4 stores vacant as well as the Value City location but Boscov’s was as busy as ever and everything else doing ok. Talking with several business owners, they are very upset about the malls closure but apparently are optimistic for the future as a strip mall is supposedly rumored to be built and possibly a Costco in the near future.

  71. @Chuck burg, The time capsule is not by Sears, it is in front of the former Steinbeck/Value City location… If you look at the Wikipedia page it even includes a picture of the time capsule. Currently on the Shore Malls Facebook page, their is a poll on what should be done with the time capsule being the part of the mall where the capsule is is being demolished .

  72. @mandy_Reeves, That plaza across the street had some neat tenants back in the day such as Bradlees and Rickel Home Center (if only those two stores could come back!)

    I agree that its a great place to walk and especially look at the stuff in the middle where Boscov’s is near the front entrance. I wonder after the demolition and redevelopment of the property if Boscov’s and Burlington Coat Factories will still be able to access each other from the interior or if it will be exterior only since behind the fountain is where the mall is supposedly going to start being demolished next to Designer Consignments.

  73. @Edwin, I always found it odd that the one on the right side of the mall that is pictured here was blocked off especially with the amount of traffic that is parked right near there due to the Motor Vehicle, if I get there before demolition I will try to get a picture of the other entrances.

  74. @Park, On January 28th, the Time Capsule was dug up and the contents were given to the Egg Harbor Township Historical Society. Demolition is beginning soon, the trees within the mall were all cut down this morning.

  75. I just borrowed some pictures from your blog, I gave you credit. The Mall is in the current stages of being demolished. They’re keeping Boscovs and Burlington but demolishing the whole back end of the mall. I have some additional information on my blog if youre interested.

  76. @willy Don’t remember that, but rememeber the surf/sporting shop that was on the corner where Steinbach was? Was it called Champions? All I remember is they had like fuzzy steps going to a second floor that had all their surfboards.

  77. I just don’t want to see Capri pizza go!! Food is delicious and best fountain sodas anywhere.

  78. Oh the horror! Shore Mall, I hardly knew ye. I hadn’t been since September 2012, b/c of knee surgeries, I had and still have to limit my shopping to places with everything in one spot, like Consumer Square in my first glimpse of the demolished Shore Mall, on Monday….I was sooooooo sad.

    Oh shore mall…we had some great memories, you and me…I knew you 6 months, but it felt like a lifetime(ok maybe half a lifetime… 🙂 ) It’s like a frikking bomb hit it! Except for two of my 3 fave stores: Boscov and Burlington Coat Factory. I hear they are actually opening it up as a small plaza…not sure how true it is…Golden Corral, and DQ and the movies are still there, and outback? I think?

  79. @dustybugger, olympia sports. Check my post about 2 years ago above.

  80. @dustybugger, capri opened a stand alone shop in a strip of stores in northfield. Still awesome.

  81. @Jay,

    Jay, Do you have the blog with the updates of demolition with alot of pictures? If it is I gotta say thanks for continuing to post updates, although sad to see it was neat to see the continued progress!

  82. I posted a while back asking about the name of the record store that use to be across from spaceport. The name of the store was “Sound Odyssey”.
    And yes, most of its been torn down. I have a lot of good memories of working and hanging out at that mall. I’m a little surprise that they didn’t give the place a face lift and try getting some good store in there but even then, it would have to compete with the Hamilton Mall and the Tanger walk in A.C.

  83. @Willy, ahhhhh sound odyssey thats right….lol awesome.

  84. i heard theres a lot of land where what used to be a mall. are the owners are going to build anything or something? such as building 4 big stores or even building the mall again?

  85. @muppethammer26, Honestly I really don’t know what they are going to do with that space behind the mall. I know they got it fenced off and it looks like they are getting ready to build something but I’m not really sure what that something will be.
    Kind of a shame, at one time the Shore Mall was the place to shop, socialize and be seen.

  86. I heard it’s going to be a trader Joes and cosco today. Who knows for sure though

  87. I had no idea the mall was torn down. I have moved out of the area but came back to visit family and as we passed the exit on the parkway I told my 13 yr old how that use to be the only mall around when I was a kid. The last time I was there was back in 2003 and I would say it was the most depressing experience. I grew up running through there with my parents chasing after me. My parents use to take me there to get my shoes from Buster Browns in the back by Stienbach and always getting a balloon after getting my shoes. The place use to be the excitement of a weekend out that would include our family and my grandparents too. I remember always fighting with my parents to go into the arcade. For some reason my memory wants to say there use to be a restaurant in Sears but it could have been the one in Steinbachs. I was remember wanting to go to a pet store that was close to the exit before you crossed outside between Sears and Penny’s. The best was always wanting my parents to park on the east side of the rear of the mall so at night when we would head home we could catch a glimpse of what was playing on the screens of the neighboring drive-in theater. If I could print the images from my memory of what it use to be like in the late 70’s, early 80’s.

  88. I didn’t know the Shore Mall in its heyday. I went to Richard Stockton College from 1997 to 2001, and this is one of two large malls (Hamilton is the other) within 20 minutes of there. They were already dying, even when I was going there. I loved the Burlington Coat Factory – did a lot of Christmas shopping there. Bought my first laptop at that little Circuit City. Browsing through Boscov’s was fun, though I didn’t buy as much as I did at Burlington.

  89. @yalo,

    “Hamilton mall is located in Mays landing not in Hamilton its just a name! Mays landing is across the street from E.H.T.

    Get your facts straight before you Speak!”

    Hamilton Mall is located in the McKee City section of Hamilton Township (Atlantic County) of which Mays Landing is also a part of.

    The closest point from Mays Landing proper to EHT is approximately 2 miles. The closets point to EHT from the Hamilton Mall is approximately 1 mile.

  90. Costco will never go there because there is too much crime and no left turn. Costco is way too smart to build in a dead zone.

    To think that trader joes would build a store 70 miles from their nearest location is crazy talk. Whole foods and Wegmans aren’t coming to town either.

    The movie theater and boscovs are the only things there worth saving and even the theater needs to be renovated.

    Amusement park?

    I’m no expert but I did stay at a hampton inn last week.

  91. Is it just me, or does that sign in the first photo with the mall name look an awful lot like the Bradlees sign style?

  92. I remember buster brown as well. What an awesome experience as a kid. That big sign on the wall of him with his dog was classic. The pet store was cool too. They used to have those 2 black myna birds that wouldn’t shut up, and I remember that they used to occasionally sell baby caiman alligators. My parents would never let me in spaceport alone. They thought it was dangerous! ! Guess cause it was dark in there. Compared to the world today that arcade was safe as disney.

  93. I am remembering so much about the Shore Mall in the 70s and 80s, I remember the lady doing the pastel caricatures, Buster Brown, the arcade (which I was afraid to go near), Capri Pizza, the Deb shop, that place where you would pick out a picture or logo and they would iron it on a t-shirt for you, the kiosk with popcorn and candy that smelled sooo good, Hickory Farms, and most of the other stores. I also remember eating in the restaurant upstairs in Steinbach’s. In the 1994 photo of the store’s mall entrance, you can see a series of what used to be windows above the sign. From those windows, you could look from the restaurant out into the mall. Also, does anyone remember a fabric store in the mall? I know my mom used to shop there for fabric and sewing stuff, but she says she doesn’t remember it.

  94. anyone happen to have a pic of the arcade next to value city when it was still open?

  95. Dont remember a fabric store inside the mall, but down the street in the old Mortons strip mall was Karins Curtains, my mom used to get fabric there.

  96. @Vicki B.,
    Fabric store was called the Fabric Tree.

  97. I was looking for pictures of the Shore Mall (which right now is an empty field adjacent to Boscovs, Golden Corral, Outback Steakhouse, Frank Theaters, the DMV, and a couple other businesses) and I stumbled upon this website through Google Images.

    I just want to say that I’m amazed that there is (or was) an internet subculture of exploring and telling the history of declining and dead malls. And I think that it’s ironic that this website too is now abandoned.

    But back to the point, unlike most people in these comments, I’m not nostalgic for the mall’s glory days in the 70’s and 80’s: I’m young enough to be nostalgic for the mall in 2006, when this article was written, when the Shore Mall was already pronounced “dead.”

    I have really fond memories of going with my parents to the Shore Mall and getting pizza from the tiny food court, eating Auntie Anne’s pretzels, going to EB Games (later Gamestop) to get something new for my Gameboy, getting pinewood derby kits for my Cub Scout troop at the scout store, running around getting lost in Boscovs, and playing old games in the arcade (I remember a Bionicle being one of the ticket prizes and REALLY wanting it).

    I remember the often empty parking lot. I remember stores closing seemingly at random, and storefronts getting shifted around. New shops popping up only to fade away not long after. Instead of being fascinated by what the mall used to be, and how it’s past it’s prime, I’m nostalgic for the era of its decline.

    And I guess the mall’s demolition has only strengthened those nostalgic, elementary-school memories.

    It just made me really happy to see those pictures and I wanted to leave a comment, a mark that I was here, on this website, which is now abandoned as well. It’s funny how things work like that sometimes.

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