I realize this is two Oregon malls in a row, but until recently we really didn’t have much to offer in that state. No more: Introducing the Pony Village Mall, a small town mall on the Oregon coast that its likely few of you have ever seen or heard of. Malls like this seem to be popular on this site, so I hope you like it.
The Pony Village Mall is a 341,000 square foot enclosed mall located in North Bend, on Oregon’s coast. Pony Village is the only enclosed mall on the entire Oregon coast, and serves the twin cities of North Bend and Coos Bay (sometimes jokingly, affectionately referred to as the “Bay Area” of Oregon). Due to the mall’s size and relative remoteness, it is decidedly small-town in its appeal, and in fact was sold in 2009 to a couple from Alaska–not some big conglomerate like GGP or Simon. As a result, it maintains a lot of its down-home, community appeal and it has also remained charmingly dated over the years. Surprisingly, its also reasonably successful, with legitimate anchors like Macy’s (almost certainly a former Meier + Frank Bon Marché), JCPenney, Ross Dress 4 Less, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and a Sears appliance store filling its ranks, and a hodgepodge of local and national tenants filling in the spaces between.
One of my favorite features of the mall itself is not just its relatively dated appearance, but also the fact that it seems to serve as a legitimate small town community gathering space–kind of like I remember malls being 20 years ago. I mean, the day I was there, their SPCA was having some sort of cat show. See:
Architecturally, and in terms of layout, the Pony Village Mall was also a gem. From the exterior, there’s a varied and undulating roofline, and a significant plaza portion with exterior-only facing stores. Inside, it’s mainly a straight shot, but one half of the mall is two level (with a second level of mostly service-related and office type businesses) and the other half has extremely high, wood-paneled ceilings. Malls like this simply don’t exist anymore outside of remote small towns.
North Bend and Coos Bay only have a combined 25,000 people or so, so there’s not quite the market for much more than this. There’s also relatively little “modern” big box development in the area, and the twin cities seem a bit less touristy than some other Oregon coast cities like Newport and Florence–possibly the reason this place seems to persevere in its state. I can find almost nothing about this place’s history online–I’m guessing it opened in the 70s, but who knows really–so in the unlikely event that anyone from the Oregon coast stops by, I hope you can fill us in a little bit on the history of the Pony Village Mall.
- More photos of the mall’s storefronts here!
- Also, Yelp is more fun than usual for the Pony Village Mall. I especially like this one:
Out of towners- you must stop by the Pony Boy Mall for a taste of small town Americuh. This place rules. There’s a saddlery, all branches of military recruiters, a new-agey tribal gift shop, and Sears. The movie theater is way cheap and is now stadium seating. Sure, there might be a green line running through the screen throughout the entire film but who cares?
Using a GPS? Set it to the British guy and program it so that he tells you “Now arriving at Pony Boy Mall.” I almost wet my pants. It’s the small things that make life meaningful.