Hanes Mall; Winston-Salem, North Carolina

With the probable distinction of being the only mall in the world named after underwear, Hanes Mall is the largest mall in the Piedmont Triad and one of the largest in the state of North Carolina.  Hanes Mall has five anchor stores and nearly 1.5 million square feet of retail space on two levels, and is itself the anchor to a large retail district on Winston-Salem’s west side. 

Hanes Mall opened in 1975 with three anchor stores (Belk, Sears, JCPenney) on two levels, and was about half the size it is today.  The mall expanded to nearly double its size in 1990 with the addition of two more anchors and a food court.  This expansion was partially a response to nearby Greensboro’s Four Seasons Town Center adding a third level and its own food court in 1987, and also to the announced development of the brand new Oak Hollow Mall, which eventually opened in High Point in 1995. 

The 1990 expansion at Hanes Mall was unique due to spatial constraints affecting its placement.  It had to be built on the other side of JCPenney, and the end result for shoppers is that the mall goes “through” the middle of JCPenney.  This curious setup exists at several other malls, such as Golf Mill Mall in suburban Chicago and Northridge Mall in Salinas, California.  I can never tell if the arrangement is advantageous or unwelcome by the anchors themselves.  On one hand, the increased volume of foot traffic allows them to market to a captive audience, but on the other hand there are a significant number of people coming through the store who have absolutely no intention of shopping there.  The loss figures are probably a bit higher, too.

The expansion also added a brand new food court, as well as anchor stores Dillard’s and Richmond-based Thalheimers.  Dillard’s was actually signed as Charlotte-based Ivey’s until just prior to the store’s opening, but opened as Dillard’s due to the latter acquiring the former that year.  The Thalhimers anchor became Hecht’s in 1992 when Thalheimers was purchased by the May Company, who owned Hecht’s and merged Thalhimers into Hecht’s.  The Hecht’s then became Macy’s in 2006 when Macy’s acquired May Company and merged all of the May plates into Macy’s.  The original three anchors have remained the same since the mall opened in 1975. 

After the Hanes Mall expansion, the original mall received the designation “north mall” and the 1990 expansion became known as “south mall” – both in marketing literature and on signage.  Today, Hanes Mall is a dominant fixture in the Piedmont Triad, and has held its own against competition from the nearby malls in Greensboro and High Point.  In fact, its greatest competition is probably SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, 80 miles away, due to its upscale mix of stores not found in the Piedmont.  SouthPark actually overtook Hanes Mall for the designation of largest mall in North Carolina when it completed its most recent expansion, adding Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, in 2006. 

We visited Hanes Mall in September 2005 and took the following pictures – including a “vintage” Hecht’s still in operation.  Feel free to add your own thoughts and experiences to the comments page.

19 Responses to “Hanes Mall; Winston-Salem, North Carolina”

  1. JCPenney doesn’t go through Golf Mill but Sears does. I mentioned that because somebody got it wrong.

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  2. Sounds like the Fashion Fair mall is Fresno,CA. You have to walk threw the Penny’s to get to the other Macy’s. There was a drive-in theater where the Macy’s is and it was tron down to extend the mall.

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  3. Uh oh. It’s a CBL Properties mall. Personally, CBL is my least favorite currently as they discontinued their service/information desks (and printed mall directories) in May 2009.

    Also, Thalhimers doesn’t have an “E” in it.

    Also, according to the website, there’s a store called “Almost Nothing Apparel” but it’s just cheap clothing rather than…well, the mall’s namesake.

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    Gary Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, does Hanes Mall still have their information desk? I was looking at their website and there was still information about a desk, but I don’t know if the website has been updated or not.

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    Chip Reply:

    @Gary, Eastland Mall in Bloomington IL is a CBL mall. The info desk was removed a few years ago. CBL also cluttered the hallways with too many kiosks.

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    Gary Reply:

    @Chip, my mall, Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, PA is also owned by CBL and they also took away the information desk. Well I’ll tell you that the mall’s manager wasn’t too happy with the decision but what can you do, they are in charge. I’ve also noticed the large amount of carts in the hallways and a lot of these businesses are mostly comprised of those Dead Sea people, cell phone accessories and other crap.

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  4. The original Hanes Mall design, before the unfortunate remodeling of 2002 after CBL took over, was quieter and more restrained, with wood and railings, terrazzo floors, massive modern artwork, trees, plants and fountains, along with stone veneer where the dryvit is now. It was austere and somewhat dated, but it was far classier than the cartoonish interior they have now.

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  5. Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, CA also has a walk-through store (Macy’s, formerly Robinson’s-May.)

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @J-Man, lots of malls do. The Galleria (Houston), on this blog, features Saks as the walk-through.

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  6. While the JCPenney setup is pretty unique, if the JCPenney store closed for any reason, then the mall would have no choice but to demolish the store and build a connection from one section of the mall to the other, in essence making it one long mall.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Gary, Couldn’t the store be reconfiggured into mall space if JC Penny left?

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    Gary Reply:

    @SEAN, I guess it could, but I would assume that it would cost more to retrofit the building to make it part of the mall rather than tearing it down and rebuild it. That’s also one of the reasons why former anchor stores are demolished when a new anchor like Nordstrom moves in. It would require gutting the entire building, rewiring and replumbing everything to incorporate the inline spaces, service hallways, electrical and pumping rooms, puncturing a few large holes in the concrete and metal decking to incorporate the mall balconies, not to mention add skylights, lighting fixtures and other decorative features. That could easily be $10-12 million dollars, when it would likely cost about $500,000 to demolish the building and about $8-10 million to rebuild from scratch.

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  7. Fayette Mall in Lexington, Kentucky also has a similar configuration requiring one to walk through Sears to get to the newer Dillard’s section. I think this expansion was unfortunately designed and should have been avoided. Now the expansion has been expanded, adding Dick’s Sporting Goods. This mall is also owned by CBL and has an ugly update done by them in retro colors of harvest gold/avocado green (I’m sure they call these colors something else these days). Orginally the mall had 4 large fountains and lots of tropical plants and trees–all of that is gone now and replaced with kiosks. It used to be really beautiful and special. Now it looks like just another CBL mall.

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  8. The JCPenney setup at Hanes Mall is actually very successful. The last I heard, its the highest grossing Penney’s in the Carolinas, due in no small part to the enormous amount of foot traffic it gets.

    Random Hanes Mall Fact: Thalhimers (later Hecht’s and Macy’s) was an original anchor. The store was located in an inline space next to JCPenney and was two levels with its own escalators. It was closed when the larger Thalhimers opened during the 1990 expansion.

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    Rocks Reply:

    I’m afraid your random fact about hanes mall is false. Thalhimers was not an original anchor of hanes mall. There was only belk, penneys and sears when it opened in 1975. Thalhimers moved to hanes mall from parkway plaza a couple years later.

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  9. At Galleria Houston, Saks Fifth Avenue is the connector between Galleria I and Galleria II. They merchandised the store to where there are a lot of displays in the corridor

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @Holden Caulfield, yup, The Galleria is covered in Labelscar. Sadly, the “hidden mall” is a dead section. The corridor is dated, never very busy, and stores struggle.

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  10. This is actually a pretty good mall now. I’m now sure how things looked in 2005, but living in NC from 2011 – 2014 this mall became one of my favorite places to shop. They had a teenage curfew and plenty of security on the weekends to make shoppers feel safe.

    Some folks may view extra security and teen curfews as a negative, but I applaud the mall for taking these steps. It really improved the experience due to safety no longer being a concern in the evenings.

    It has a nice selection of national and local shops and is as close to 100% full as one can expect.

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  11. i was at this mall in december around christmas time, and tucked behind a set of stairs behind next to the carousel is a mall information desk, also the security officers are very friendly and helpful as i had lost my bus pass and was stranded and the sargent gave me the money to get home

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