Cloverleaf Mall; Richmond, Virginia

Cloverleaf Mall Thalhimers in 1992

Hey there everyone! Thanks for your patience over the past few weeks/months… it’s been a pretty crazy one. I just spent two weeks out on the west coast for the first time since the 80s, and I even got to visit a few malls while I was out there, and look for them to appear on the site soon.

Labelscar gets a lot of great contributions from readers, and here’s one from Michael Lisicky, who has helped us out many times in the past. If you’ve contributed something and haven’t seen it posted yet, don’t worry: we’ll get to it eventually. This is a pretty time-consuming hobby but we greatly appreciate all your help, and you will see the fruits of your labor, we promise! Now, over to Michael:
“If there was ever a mall that I could nominate for a “Labelscar Hall of Fame”, may I respectfully submit the Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA? (I still would hope for the grand prize winner to be the Regency Mall in Augusta, GA! Nothing tops that one, at least to me.) Cloverleaf was built in 1972 as Richmond’s first large scale indoor mall. Its anchors included Sears, the East Coast’s largest JCPenney (at the time) and a 1 story Richmond-based Thalhimers, tucked away in the back. Thalhimers had actually wanted its rival, Miller & Rhoads, to join them at Cloverleaf but a lease restriction at M&R’s Southside Plaza location forbid them from opening another store within 5 miles. (Southside Plaza was just over 4 miles away.)

1979 Cloverleaf Mall advertisement

“Cloverleaf Mall quickly became “The Shopping Center of Richmond”. Its early success encouraged Thalhimers to add a second floor. Cloverleaf was not a large mall, but it did have over 75 stores and was quite active. It was the destination for Southside shoppers. Every Richmond- based and national-based chain wanted to be there.

“Cloverleaf always had its share of controversy. Located just over the Richmond City border, Chesterfield County officials refused to let city buses into Cloverleaf’s lot. Buses were forced to drop city residents off at a nearby K-mart, leaving the inner-city shoppers to walk across parts of the “cloverleaf” just for the opportunity of shopping at the mall. After years of countless fights in and out of courts, Chesterfield finally allowed the buses into the parking lot. 1996, two women were executed while working after hours at the All- for-One dollar store in the mall. This brutal crime was highly publicized and stayed in the media for months, and shoppers stayed away in droves. Also, the media was quick to point out the increase in gang activity at the center.

“Change always happens. In 1992, Thalhimers became Hecht’s and the store began its downgrade. In fact, it ended up being a regional dumping ground for other Hecht’s stores. But it became the best kept secret for Richmond shoppers. A large section of the mens’ department, known unofficially as “The Pit” was a bargain-hunter’s paradise. Change also meant that residents were, and still are, moving farther away into the county. Chesterfield Towne Center became the mall to be in. Located 5 miles away, it became the ‘safe’ place to shop. And Cloverleaf’s retailers knew it.

“First, Sears reduced its store to 1 floor, albeit refurbished. JCPenney simply announced its closing in 2000 as it prepared to move to Chesterfield. By 2002, Sears also would leave its store for Chesterfield. With its two large anchors that faced Midlothian Turnpike vacant, the writing was on the wall for Hecht’s. Saying its store was still profitable, it remained, tucked into the back not far from the decaying movie theaters. But in July 2003, that would end, and as Hecht’s and many remaining mall stores fled, 2003 was to be the death of Cloverleaf Mall.

“But it is still there. And open, with about 7 exciting retailers. In 2005, a large African-American church offered to buy the mall and turn it into a multi-purpose facility, with the former JCPenney store becoming a 5,000 seat sanctuary. That was not what the county wanted. Remember, they didn’t even want the buses! So the county purchased the mall, including the company-owned Sears building, for more than it should. The church fought the purchase and brought charges of racism.

“But today, Cloverleaf still has its doors open. Plans are for it to become a mixed development of shops, offices and housing, anchored by a Kroger. Today, once you enter the structure, which few seem to do, you are greeted by security guards wondering why you are there. I snapped as many photos as I could. The silent fountain. The leaking roof. You are not allowed to walk past the guard stand. “Nothing’s left to see.” But I disagree. Eventually I get stopped and I leave. At least I have some memories on film.

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

“What finally happens to Cloverleaf Mall may be anyone’s guess. The guards in the mall don’t feel that anything is going to happen any time soon. And since Hecht’s and everyone else left in 2003, things are moving slowly at Cloverleaf. However, even in its ghostly state, its Foot Locker store shines bright.

“The most recent sign for the Cloverleaf Mall used to say “If you haven’t see us lately, you haven’t seen us at all.” I guess they’re right.

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA
Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, VA

112 Responses to “Cloverleaf Mall; Richmond, Virginia”

  1. Passed by that mall on a recent trip to Richmond and wanted to stop, but I was not in the driver’s seat. May have to go there again before it’s history.

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    dee Reply:

    @DayGlo!, : It’s history!

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  2. Hmm, that looks pretty nasty.

    What is the building all the way in the back corner of the mall lot? It looks like it might have been the Sears’ Auto Center.

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    melinda Reply:

    @AceJay, That was actually the theater, there was a Sears Auto center and it was in the front of the mall where the entrance was located. She took no pictures of that.

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  3. That odd looking child with the bowl cut doesn’t look too happy.

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  4. The sixth picture doesn’t work.

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  5. Y’know, if Miller & Rhoads would have been allowed to open at Cloverleaf Mall, the store they opened further out on Midlothian at Chesterfield Mall (now Chesterfield Towne Center) may never have happened, which could have led to that mall never being built. Richmond retail history could have been very, very different.

    Other than remarking about the butt-ugliest JCPenney I’ve ever seen, there’s not a lot I have to say about Cloverleaf Mall. I went once or twice in the ’90s, and I remember going to Hecht’s and JCPenney. Neither were particularly distinguished stores, but they were decent overall. The inside of the mall seems to be in good shape, and the outside is a little Brutalist, but not that bad for that era.

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  6. I made a map of the mall from around 2000, based on some ancient data still hanging around on Storetrax:

    http://s165.photobucket.com/albums/u68/TenPoundHammer/?action=view&current=cloverleaf2000.jpg

    Storetrax says that at the time, the mall was owned by Zamias; they tend to be a bit of a mall slumlord. None of their properties are in very good shape (but not nearly as bad as, say, Sherman Dreiseszun properties).

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  7. The seven retailers left include: Shoe City, Foot Locker, and very likely GNC.

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  8. I remember this mall too…with Regency Square, Short Pump and Stony Point doing pretty well, Cloverleaf didn’t have a chance.

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  9. Sorry, no GNC here anymore. Yes, there was Shoe City and Foot Locker. (Foot Locker is preparing to move across the street to Beaufont.) The remaining stores were Lim’s Clothing, two jewelry-type stores on the center court and one other ‘urban’ clothing store. Very creepy.

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  10. I actually like that JCPenney…it’s very evil looking and imposing like a lot of the creepier architecture of the 70′s. The store entrance to the Sears isn’t too bad either. Now when it comes to the Thalhimer’s…the obvious cut where they added the second floor and it’s severely stripped down exterior design makes it the ugliest department store I’ve ever laid eyes on. It looks like the roof caved in on it and took the overhang with it.

    Inside, blah. It’s less than inspiring…it’s the typical tacky late 80′s overhaul that is hardly memorable. I tended to think that dark, moody colors and earthtones sometimes made a place look more classy and spacious, but the palms and clad pinkish peach floors make it look like an outlet mall. While some truly inspiring modernist designs did sometimes make their way to malls in the 70′s, this was definitely not one of them. I’d save the freaky ass Penney’s (with new paint and replacement of the lost panels) and demolish the rest.

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  11. If you liked the JCPenney, J.T., you’ll love the “mini-me” JCPenney Auto Center out front. It’s got the same creepy qualities in a smaller size.

    For a store that was synonymous with elegance, the Thalhimers suburban branches tended to be very, very ugly. There were rare exceptions, like the Friendly Center store in Greensboro, but most of the Thalhimers built before Carter Hawley Hale took over are very cheap looking outside.

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  12. I forgot one more store, DTLR. Downtown Locker Room is still open, between Shoe City and Foot Locker.

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  13. There was a period in the early/mid-70s when JC Penney built really ugly bunker block-looking stores. Then they tried for something more depratment store-like and a bit softer. The former South DeKalb JC Penney outside Atlanta has the same “riot-proof” look as this one. The mall is really no uglier than most live or dead malls from that era–it was from a time where malls had become very cookie cutter in their execution and very utilitarian in appearence. You had a lot of development by outfits like DeBartolo that had no imagination–previously there had been more local development of malls and not so much on a regional or national scale.The malls from this era look plain and non-descript when occupied, but empty the parking lot and remove the signage and they look horrible. It was out of the post-urban riot era. Urban high schools and other public buildings of that era often had the same concrete menace. It’s interesting that shopping malls picked up on this–they must have figure that it would add to the aura of safety that malls tried to convey. Now, it just makes the place look cold and a bit sinister.

    The Pepto-Bismol pink interior is kind of interesting and looks like a rehab. In the 70s, it would have been white everywhere; or neutral cheap terrazo-like floors to balance the heavy wood/brick motifs. The pink seems to match the “Cloverleaf” entry with Shoe City. That looks 90s.

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  14. There are some great pictures of the original mall interior floating around in local “civic pride / history / advertisements masquerading as local history” books that Richmond had back in the ’70s and ’80s. As I recall, the center court was very moody and dark, dramatic in its own way.

    The remodel happed sometime in the late ’80s/early ’90s, as it looked that way when I went in the mid ’90s. In person, with all the stores and lightbulbs in, it looked a lot better than it does in its abandoned state.

    Penneys does look like a bunker. To its credit, the wall lamps do help the looks some, as I’m sure the showcases did back when they had them. Sears, however looks very Miesian around the entrances. The pole lamps soften the hard edges of the design.

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  15. That most white, minimalist anchor with the (metallic?) entrance treatment is somewhat appealing. A series of oversized fashion posters along the facade would humanize it for me a bit.

    As for the corridor high-voltage power lines streaking through the parking lot: they remind me of the ones marching through the surface lots of Springdale Plaza here in Mobile. Too bad they both aren’t ‘aesthetically’ appealing.

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  16. If we had more info on the demographics, it would be easier to better understand why there might be opposition to the church taking the place of this mall. From a financial standpoint, the County probably doesn’t want to lose prime land near a freeway interchange from its tax duplicate. In addition, megachurches often wind up looking like 70s malls (it’s unclear whether they’d do much remodeling) and these churches often have a lot of dead time which makes an unattractive area seem more forbidding, because of the empty parking lot.

    Compared to the other stores at the mall, the Sears looks almost elegant esp. when also compared to some stores they built in this era (my hometown mall Sears from this period was/is an ugly mass of dark brick). The beams around the doors do give it a Miesian touch, although Mies would never want the rounding.

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  17. The demographics of the area where Cloverleaf is located is a case study in itself. The area is located right at the edge of Chesterfield County at the City of Richmond border. It is mostly lower middle class homes that surround the area. But not all. Actually, Stony Point Fashion Park with its Saks, Betsey Johnson, Coach, etc. is located just a couple of miles away on Chippenham Pkwy.

    Back in 2004, Faith Alive Ministries offered a $4 million bid for Cloverleaf. The hope of the church was to keep the structure as is and work within the walls. Enter Chesterfield County officials. Though the once-flourishing Cloverleaf is located in a forgotten, unwanted part of Chesterfield County, county officials did not want to see an urban-based church purchase the structure. All of the sudden a new plan came forward. The county would redevelop the site, prep the site as a mixed use complex, bring in Kroger and call it “Chippenham Place”. The cost to do so would more than double the church’s initial offer.

    Why did this happen? Some say that Chesterfield did not want a certain type of church to locate not only in the county, but especially at its entrance. And of course, the church would not produce the income revenue that some other type of mixed-use structure would produce.

    And of course, it’s all much more complicated that what is written above.

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  18. I’ve sort of been waiting for this article to appear. Nice job!

    I’m a lifelong Richmonder, particularly of the “neighborhood” of Cloverleaf Mall; in fact, my first job was there less than a year after the mall opened.

    Having lived here for a while, I can state that it is completely out of the ordinary for Chesterfield County to get involved in property development like they have with the remains of Cloverleaf. But Cloverleaf is just one center in an area that has several dead or near dead shopping centers. The County decided that the mall property was the keystone to “saving” the whole area – and having a property tax-exempt church wasn’t going to cut it.

    Did race play a factor? I really don’t think it did in the long run, but the County has a knack for making things look racially-charged when they’re really not. Same with the bus line (however, I don’t believe that the bus controversy actually went to court as stated in the article).

    Most things written about Cloverleaf state that Thalhimer’s was an original anchor. It was not. The original mall ended where the food court is, which is also where the movie theatres originally were. The wing leading back to and including Thalhimer’s opened a couple of years after the mall originally opened.

    The building tucked away in the back corner of the parking lot is the “new” movie theatre building. The former JCP auto center is still in business as a Firestone store, and the Sears Auto Center still stands as well.

    The JC Penney exterior looks exactly as it did in 1972. It’s never been restyled or had its color changed. So does the Sears for that matter.

    As far as Chesterfield Towne Center (originally Chesterfield Mall) killing Cloverleaf, well, Cloverleaf “killed” Southside Plaza., so I suppose what goes around comes around. Ironically, Southside Plaza is still there and with a lot more shops than Cloverleaf.

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  19. Hi!
    I read about Zamias being a slumlord. Right you are; they own the Galleria in Centerville, GA near me and it has tenants come and go. Yes the anchors are still the same but with a Kohl’s being build down the road I can see the center hurting. It spent eight or ten years in the process of being built and still had vacancies.

    Not having an urban megachurch at Cloverleaf was a good idea. Having any church to take over a mall is a gamble. Reminds me of what my dad’s cousin said; that she’d like to rent to a liquor store owner than a preacher (she’d get paid). The county did the right thing in refurbing the center; yes it’ll cost more to refurb than to sell to the church. But it will generate more revenue for the county. Expect cries of racism when crybabies in urban America don’t get their little toys.
    KT
    Macon, GA

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  20. That is one of the nicest looking Sears I have ever seen. Looks a lot more upscale than most Sears stores and the brand itself.

    I just did a msn map search to get a bird’s eye view of Cloverleaf Mall. The results of the search gave me a map, but the name of the mall on the map was called Greenbrier Mall. So I clicked the bird’s eye view button and the mall that came up clearly was Cloverleaf Mall. All the pictures of the bird’s eye view matched the pictures above. You can clearly see the name Cloverleaf on the main entrance, and can also see the Firestone name on the former JCPenney auto center. So I did a yahoo, google and mapquest search and got the same results, a map of Greenbrier Mall. Why is this mall called Greenbrier Mall in these maps? Was it called Greenbrier Mall at one time? Or is this just an internet map “printing” error?

    You can get bird’s eye views of many major cities, and some smaller cities and towns as well on msn maps. I always check the msn map of malls to see if a bird’s eye view is available for the city they are in. Most of the bird’s eye pictures seem to be taken very recently. The pictures of Cloverleaf Mall look very recent because there are only a few cars in the parking lot near the main entrance, most of the parking lot is empty.

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  21. Google maps have lots of problems. The last time I used Google for directions, they would have sent me to the middle of a housing subdivision in Alexandria, VA, on the wrong side of the I-95 from where I needed to be (which was a furniture store in the middle of an office park).

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  22. So are you going to fix that six th picture?

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  23. Yeah, the church shows that they are whiny rascists when the county refused to the offer.

    What it is with rascism and malls?

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  24. I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I can certainly think of worse things to put in a mall besides a church.

    I want to know why the county had a problem to put a church in the mall? Obviously the church saw there was a need to serve the community…

    I’m certain the church would’ve spruced up the area a bit, rather than have the property further degenerate into an eyesore.. I’m thinking it would’ve been a megachurch if they were going to use even a part of the property, and given that this is Virginia, megachurches are pretty common there (although not as much as where I live in Georgia)

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  25. Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure the county felt that they could make more money doing something else with the property rather than give it to a church that wouldn’t provide the county with much tax revenue (if any at all).

    And I’m not going to touch on the thinly-veiled racial comments some of the posters are leaving either.

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  26. I don’t know what the mapping problem is. Cloverleaf has always been Cloverleaf, though I do remember that it was an azalea farm before the mall was built.

    Frankly, from the standpoint of the county, replacing a shopping mall with a church is quite possibly the worst thing that can happen. No real estate taxes to collect, no sales taxes, no income taxes, not a lot of jobs created.

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  27. I have lived all over the country and visited 4 or 5 of the now dead or almost dead malls on this website. I lived right behind the Cloverleaf Mall in 1983-1984 in the Cloverleaf Lake apts (wonder what they are now?) and the decline of some of these malls is almost a metaphor for the changes that have taken place since then. I was at the Bannister Mall in K.C. when it opened and now it is closed probably way before its’ time. Is the Beaufont Mall still open? Did they ever find a tenant to fill the vacancy left by the closure of Best? It would seem to me that the Cloverleaf and Beaufont Mall’s fates would be inseparable.

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  28. Cloverleaf Lake is still Cloverleaf Lake. Beaufont Mall is still there, though named Beaufont Center or something like that. The manager of Beaufont used to manage Cloverleaf..

    The Best Products store at Beaufont is still vacant. They have filled in some of Beaufont with tenants such as a call center for an advertising agency and a Wawa training center. The former A&P, which had been vacant for a long time, was taken by Dollar Tree a couple of years ago, and the Foot Locker from Cloverleaf has gone to Beaufont.

    Beaufont Mall is a classic example of the practice naming a regular shopping center a “mall” that was so popular in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. When Cloverleaf is gone, it will leave only Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights as the last mall in the area that still dares to call itself a mall.

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  29. A recent issue of the Chesterfield Observer community newspaper states that Beaufont has a developer looking at it as well. There are 41 undeveloped acres behind Beaiufont backing up to The Boulders office park. The potential developers say they’d like to attract a grocery anchor and are targeting Ukrop’s, Food Lion, and Wal-Mart. I don’t think that any of them will want to locate a store at Beaufont, as the location is close to existing locations of all three.

    The fate of the former Best Products appears to be demolition. The store is 65,000 square feet, and has two stories. Since Best used the upper floor as a warehouse, it has a concrete floor supported by numerous pillars on the first floor, so the space is not attractive to potential tenants.

    The article states that the traffic count by Cloverleaf and Beaufont is in excess of 100,000 vehicles per day. Everyone in the development business seems to like that fact. They all seem to want to try to get supermarkets to locate there as well. It’s interesting to me to note that on Midlothian Turnpike there are no supermarkets on it’s entire length until you reach the Chesterfield Towne Center area (there is one Food Lion a block off of Midlothian) – and there were as many as ten along that stretch at one time or another.

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  30. l remember this mall. l can’t believe it turned out this way! l hope one fine day someone will make this mall the mall that it was 20 something years ago. l think a lot of people that had gone to this mall would love to see it gettin remodeled.

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  31. I still live a few miles up the road from this mall. I drive past it whenever I’m getting on Chippenham Turnpike. It’s been a shame to see it die off the way it has. All the ancore stores and the cinema located behind it.

    I have so many great memories of this mall. Going to the food court, catching a movie at the cinema’s. We would spend hours there, grabbing a bite at the Ruby Tuesday’s there was always a treat. Most of my teenage years were spent there. It’s a shame my kids will never know this mall the way I did.

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  32. FYI, Cloverleaf will close on February 29, 2008.

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  33. From my understanding, Chesterfield County did not want Cloverleaf Mall *until* the pastor of the African American church called up county officials and told them his church was purchasing the property. Cloverleaf sat unwanted for years. I even think it was suggested from the beginning that Chesterfield buy the mall but they claimed they didn’t have the money to do so *until* the black church wanted the property. Chesterfield called up whoever the church was buying the mall from and outbidded the church. And they did pay far, far more for the property than it was worth.

    A small, regular church would sit unused most of the week but not these megachurches. There’s always something going at those megachurches 7 days a week.

    I think the money/tax issue played a larger part in Chesterfield’s decision to buy Cloverleaf, but I also think race played a big part too. I don’t think if Grove Avenue Baptist Church decided to buy the property Chesterfield would have been that opposed to it. Then again, Grove Avenue Baptist Church wouldn’t have wanted a property that sits mere footsteps from one of the crummiest, slummiest parts of Richmond, either. No one did, that’s why Cloverleaf sat unwanted all those years.

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  34. What will replace cloverleaf mall when it gets demolished in Feb? lm shocked that it still survives to this day! btw what happened to the Kmart that was near there? and that other store that was once like some sort of craft store by it? please email me at hotlunkan2@yahoo.com

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    epirkle Reply:

    @jeny,
    I believe the craft store you might be referring to was called Gresham’s. It was located toward the front and side of the Kmart lot and sold Christmas items, penny candy, and decorative items. In fact, the Kmart site was originally a nursery, and Gresham’s owned the whole site, including the garden shop where you could buy trees and whatnot. When Kmart came in there were a number of small buildings that were torn down, leaving the gift shop as the only remaining part of Gresham’s business.

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  35. The Kmart is still there and still open. The Old America Store part has been vacant for years – it was originally a Kmart Foods. Kmart may be using the Old America space for storage.

    Cloverleaf is to be replaced by 540 residential units and 200,000 sf of retail, of which 100,00 sf will be Kroger. The proposed developer, Crosland, hasn’t signed off on the deal yet. The county Board of Supervisors is meeting today to finalize various aspects of the transaction.

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  36. I’m a native of Chesterfield county and grew up looking forward to Friday night outings to Cloverleaf Mall. It was once THE place to be, but sadly that’s not been the case for many years. Knowing that the mall is to close in about a month I dragged my husband with me to see it one last time on Monday. It’s a ghost town and looks so much smaller than it did when it was full of stores and shoppers. It did bring back fond memories of Thalhimers, dinners at the Picadilly Cafeteria and first Ruby Tuesday’s in the Richmond area, and the first Limited store I ever remember shopping at. Go see it one more time, but don’t go alone since it’s really not a safe area anymore.

    It’s sad that Chesterfield has taken this long to even think about redevelopment. And I agree they really only got ‘serious’ about it when they saw someone else was interested. I live in the Chesterfield Town Center area now and I fear someday it will meet the same fate. Development continues to sprawl west with Watkins Center when there’s already a glut of retail space in the county. When will the county realize that it’s slowly rotting from the inside out?

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  37. hi all
    thanks for the stories! i went there today to take a look at it, and you could walk past the guard stand. the place smells like an old closet with mildew and looks like its on its last legs. The mall really deserved a better ending than this, but thats what happens. anyway, i put some pics up on my myspace that has cloverleaf in them, also, i went to what remains of azalea.ill publish those later.
    i think ill try to get the guards to let me into an old store or something with my dig. camera before its closing time for good.

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  38. in other news, does anyone know where the all for one dollar store is/was in the mall?

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    Jennifer Reply:

    The All For One moved out to Chesterfield Towne Center near the Sears. I worked there for awhile until it closed. All for One is owned by Big Lots/Odd Lots and they transferred us to the local Big Lots store. That was around 96 or 97.

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  39. Seeing these pictures breaks my heart. I was a teenager when this mall opened and I spent a lot of time there probably most of every weekend. Really wish they would preserve it in some form rather than tearing it down. But I guess that would not be progress. In it’s heyday it was the place to be.

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  40. The All for One Dollar store at Cloverleaf was located just 2, possibly 3 stores in from JCPenney on the Midlothian Turnpike side. There was a record store next to Penney’s and I don’t think the dollar store was exactly next to it. The double murder there pushed Cloverleaf over the edge, among many other things. Good luck taking pictures. It’s a real no, no there.

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  41. The original record store tenant next to JCP was a Harmony Hut, with Fine’s Mens Store either next to it or one more space down. People’s Drug was in that row, complete with a lunch counter and outside entrance into the parking lot.

    For a couple of years after the mall fist opened, there were still blue laws in effect preventing most Sunday retailing. People’s Drug, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Lord Hardwicke restaurant (where Ruby Tuesday eventually ended up), and Bresler’s Ice Cream were the only tenants besides the twin cinema (in the approximate location of the food court) were the only places open on Sundays.

    After around 3, it was just the Breslers and the cinemas. I worked at Breslers and it was pretty strange sitting there in a completely deserted mall and being essentially the only place open.

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  42. I also found it strange that when Peoples Drug closed the Cloverleaf location around 1992, it then became Standard Drug. Within a year or so, Standard was bought by CVS/Peoples Drug. So, it became a Peoples Drug again. Then very quickly Peoples Drug took the CVS/pharmacy name. So now the 2nd coming of Peoples became CVS/pharmacy. But the pharmacy didn’t remain open very long so it was removed. Then it just became CVS and the parking lot entrance was closed. CVS lasted until shortly after 2000. Weghh! That took longer than I thought.

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  43. Charles Gibbs, whats your myspace address? how can l see those pics of cloverleaf mall? l wish l could go see it before its gone! l live all the way in Florida! l thank you to those who keep the memorie of cloverleaf mall alive.

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  44. between birth and about 10 or 11 years old (1999, 2000) i went there ALL THE TIME. i lived down chippenham turnpike and that was the place to be! i saw santa there, shopped there, ate there, even went to that weird tucked back movie theater. i agree, the outside of the sears and jc pennys was creepy. sometimes i had bad dreams about it, oddly enough, and being stuck inside that huuuuge building after closing.
    i miss it though. i do plan on going back inside before it closes. that place has a lot of memories for me. i really want to peek in the windows, if i can, see if i can see anything. who knows.
    ill be sad when / if it gets torn down. itll be just like azalea mall.

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  45. http://www.myspace.com/arrestafieldsucks is the myspace…

    i was taking pics there just fine..they didnt care, guess they were sorta like, eh screw it were losing our jobs neway.

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  46. yeah, i went there today and they didnt care, kind of nice
    i got the sign off the old sears building that says something about no soliciting (theres two, one facing midlothian turnpike and one on the back where one would pick up orders, i got the one back there)
    its pretty sweet
    i took about 110 pictures, so ill scan through them and send the good ones :)

    [Reply]

    Ayne Reply:

    @kristen,

    Too funny – I ended up with the sign from the front!

    [Reply]

    Kristen Reply:

    @Ayne, I’m glad someone snagged it! I was afraid it would just get thrown out with everything else. I have an electrician friend that did some work there while they were tearing it down and I think he snagged a few things. Have you seen it recently? Sheesh, it’s like a whole mother planet over there.

    [Reply]

  47. i will correct that, i took 132 pictures, not 110

    [Reply]

  48. cool send them to me! i will give the email if you wish

    [Reply]

  49. charles, the myspace page said that u had to add me on as a friend so that l could look at the pics. Kristen, can you email me pics too? my email is jessluvsjonas@yahoo.com

    [Reply]

  50. id be glad to send them to both of you :)
    whats your email address charles?
    if you want to give it to me by email, my email is kmlaser@gmail.com

    [Reply]

  51. In 1979, I opened a store across the street from Cloverleaf Mall in Beaufont Mall. Back then, the area was the place to be. You couldn’t get a parking space at Cloverleaf between Thanksgiving and New Years. I dated a girl that worked in a restaurant inside the main entrance on the right. I think the place was called the Lord Hardwicke Inn, or some such. I went back two years ago in a rental car and it looked like a scene out of some post-apocalyptic movie: a few cars, some possibly no longer running, scattered around the parking lot with seedy looking characters leaning on them and eyeing me as I drove by. Beaufont had mostly empty stores, trash blowing around and a few windows were boarded up. Very sad.

    Tom

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  52. i remember beaufont very well. my mom bought me clothes from the kids r us before that left (and it was a cute looking store too!), i got my first 2 wheel bike from hills for dirt cheap because it was a going out of business sale, and we shopped at best all the time. oh, and peaches! that wasnt technically part of the strip, but that was a cool place.
    at least theyre trying to revamp it now, though its still pretty dead around there.
    it is sad to watch it go like that.

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  53. I just have one more thing to say. Do not like the plans for the Cloverleaf Mall land. What don’t we have enought office, retail and residential areas. It’s one on every corner. But, I guess it is up to the county. Some way to have preserved this building would have been nice or something that remotely resembled the mall would have been great. Glad I do not live in Chesterfield.

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  54. The Chesterfield board is very very aware that the eastern Midlothian corridor is dying. The new development at Cloverleaf and the rebirth of the Beaufont Center are an attempt to stem the tide and stop the rot. An urban megachurch would have done nothing to improve the area’s commercial prospects.

    Since I live less than a mile from the site, we are looking forward to the new Kroger.

    [Reply]

  55. DEAD DEAD DEAD Thank Goddess The Beast Is Dead, but really i liked that entire are when it was still alive i mean i’d bug my parrents to drop me off there on the weekends i’d go through the mall to um tracks records waldenbooks, out across to beaufount mall to peaches records.

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  56. oh my god, i loved peaches! i have one of each of those crates theyd sell for cassettes, cds, and records hahaha theyre quite handy

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  57. was the Thalhimers store originally one level ?

    [Reply]

  58. Yes, Thalhimers was originally one level. A lot of their suburban stores were built with the second story unfinished, so that if business warranted an expansion, they were ready.

    BTW, Pleasant Family Shopping has a great shot of the older, better center court at Chesterfield.

    http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com/2008/03/searsizzle.html

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  59. I went to Richmond last week, when I noticed that the mall was closed…where are the other stores that were recently inside of there. I saw Shoe City across the street, but the other stores?

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  60. most moved further into the midlothian area i think… i know the oriental trading place did, but i dont know for sure about the others…

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  61. Wow, It’s interesting to see how many people wax nostalgic about Cloverleaf. I worked for the mall as a teenager, walking around all day with a broom and a walkie talkie. I got the job because I was hanging around early one Saturday morning, my mom worked at Sears so I went to work with her that day. I was walking down the hall on my way to Harmony Hut to eyeball the guitars they had in the front of the store when a security guard who appeard to be 100 years old approched me and asked if I wanted a job. I was a little more than wierded out as he seemed like some kind of perv but I took the job, started 10 minutes after being asked, and worked there for 1½ years before going to work for the movie theater. The security guards name was Gillette and he was actually a pretty cool cat. If I ever had to be chased he would be the one I would want chasing me as he smoked about 10 packs a day I worked in the mall from 76 until about late 78 to 79. The movie theater was one of my all time favorite jobs the lady that was the manager was the best and it was a great job for a teenager to have to meet girls. Can’t say I was crazy about the bow ties though. Though it was pretty cool when the original Superman movie came out and we got to wear the tee shirts with the big “S”!

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  62. Thanks for the info and the pics….this was the place to be…I graduated high school in 78 and when this opened it was all the rage….great times…great friends…great times….so sad to see it go….

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  63. My sister got her first job there, and I took my wife to the theater there on one of our first dates. I have some good memories of the mall, but my high school years coincided with its last good days and I was far too busy to bother with the mall at the time (unlike most high schoolers, I guess). I do have one story that Dwayne reminded me of. It as probably around 1997 or so and I was carrying a pistol openly as state law allowed me to. I was pretty young (18 or 19) and a security supervisor approached me to ask me to leave. e started talking and he offered me a job working security (unarmed, of course). I declined the offer.

    As for the shopping center across the street, my family used to go to Best and would eat at the Western Sizzlin’ occasionally. I also remember going to the Hills that opened in the mid-90s before closing shortly after.

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  64. I was fortunate to start working at Radio Shack for the Christmas season of 97 and worked there until 2001 so I witnessed firsthand the gradual decline. First went McDonalds from the food court, and then the video store, whose name escapes me now. After that stores started slipping away faster and faster. Somewhere around 2000, they tried to infuse new life in the mall with some remodeling and a complete facelift on the exterior(that’s what the slogan on the sign means), but it was too late. It’s a shame, really. That double homicide could have happened anywhere, and was really the death knell for the mall as a whole. I made a lot of friends there from other stores and will always fondly remember it as my first place to work when I moved to Richmond.

    [Reply]

  65. oh about what that was in the back that was the cineplex odeon 12 i think if your coming on route 60 from chesterfield into richmond , & if your leaving richmond it’s the sears auto center, bank of america & jcpenny auto center, the theatre is on the far end of the complex near macys

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  66. I grew up in the city, but spent a good amount of time at Cloverleaf Mall. It was an excellent nagout for the juvenile delinquent. We spent alot of time in the Sears game room where the guy who ran would rack up credits on the pinball machine. We could smoke in there and all over the mall.
    We could go out into the little copse between the parking lot and Chippenham and smoke weed and drink and get laid.
    I chased the guy who had stolen my bike into Sears and was in the process of punching him behind the jewelry counter when the cops pulled me off.
    We had a condiment battle in the center court. Both Lord Hardwicke’s and the Thalhimer’s bar didn’t card. There was always someone around with any kind of mind altering substance you might want and no lack of girls who would put out.
    I washed dishes at McCrory’s and stocked shoes at both Thalhimer’s and Sears.
    The abandoned farm house was behind it, well hidden, and plenty of wild times were had there.

    Everyone talks about the place becoming seedy in the late ’90s, but we were doing all this in the late ’70s-early ’80s!
    Maybe I have some sort of twisted nastalgia for the place, but I sure wouldn’t want to relive it. Let ‘em tear it down. It’s just an eyesore on a stretch of road full of eyesores.

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  67. Thalhimer’s had a bar? No way!

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  68. We moved to Chesterfield in 1984, and Cloverleaf was our mall for a time. I used to think the Cineplex Odeon was the most amazing theater. By the time I was driving in 1991, we had more or less made the switch to Chesterfield Towne Center. That place was newer, far bigger, and seemed to have a lot less in the way of thuggery. One of the last times I went to Cloverleaf was when I was trying to date a girl who worked at the theaters. She told me how there had been a shooting recently, and we saw the plastered-over bullet holes in the outside walls. Nice.

    On a related note, Vail sounds like he was quite the hoodlum, and I’m sure that kind of behavior didn’t help the mall’s reputation. But there’s a difference between crazy teenage antics and gangbangers. The former hurts business, but the latter kills it.

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  69. I remember driving to Cloverleaf Mall on one of my first dates after I got my drivers license. We went to the theater there, the original one inside the mall, when it was at the end of the mall instead of the middle, I think the movie was “Emperor of the North Pole” (one didn’t complain about WHICH movies were only a buck). They had $1 admission for high school students. We ate at Fass Brothers Fish house… all-you-could-eat flounder for $3.79. I put gas into the car at the U-tote-m, 25 cents/gallon. The entire date was around $10, which I borrowed from my parents.

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  70. I used to work at cloverleaf in the nineties…it was my first real job working as a cashier at stuarts clothing store (the next largest store in the mall outside of the anchor stores). the mall was really busy and flourishing until the murders happened there. though it was an isolated case of domestic violence, chesterfield county did nothing to stop the media frenzy that surrounded the whole case. i have relatives who work in retail at chesterfield towncenter and southpark mall, both busy chesterfield establishments—ironically both malls have serious issues with criminal activity that you never hear about on the news. southpark was once on lockdown due to a gang related shooting inside of the mall. rapes have happened there as well. they have just recently disallowed youth under 18 to be at the mall without parental supervision (these crimes are the real reason why). however, those malls stay open and stay in the good media spotlight. towncenter has had it’s share of car break-ins and violence inside of the mall. none of which you will ever hear of on the news due to damage control.

    it’s ironic as well that chesterfield county wouldn’t allow the sale of the mall to Faith Alive Min. Faith Alive actually had plans to not only have their church and school facilities there, but they also had about 50 outlet stores signed on to occupy the mall space. (most outlet stores that richmonders have to travel all the way to williamsburg to go to…Liz, Nike etc.). i don’t think it would have benefited chesterfield county and the watkins family who is prominent on their board to have an outlet mall selling the same items they plan on having at full price at the watkins new retail development further up midlothian tpk., past chesterfield towncenter. funny how they closed a deal to sell part of the watkins’ land to develop a new upscale shopping experience… i guess it all works out for the watkins and the county to keep the mall under their wings…even if it took overbidding on the property after the church had already secured the mall and were in the process of closing with the mall’s canadian owners…

    oh, well, i guess the devils in the details…lol.

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  71. A question for all of you that know the mall so well: was there are one point in the late 70′s or early 80′s a fountain in the center that was in the shape of a ball? I used to live there and was at the oldest 6 at the time, but that’s all I can remember seeing. Hope I am not confusing it with another mall…

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  72. [...] Richmond’s shopping mall history follows the national narrative closely. The first indoor shopping center was built in Minnesota in 1956. Six years later, Azalea Mall in North Side debuted as Richmond’s first enclosed shopping mall. For the next 30 years, suburban shopping malls boomed. In the 1970s, Cloverleaf Mall and Chesterfield Towne Center opened within five years and five miles of each other. Willow Lawn, built as a strip mall in the 1950s, was enclosed in the 1980s. [...]

  73. [...] Richmond’s shopping mall history follows the national narrative closely. The first indoor shopping center was built in Minnesota in 1956. Six years later, Azalea Mall in North Side debuted as Richmond’s first enclosed shopping mall. For the next 30 years, suburban shopping malls boomed. In the 1970s, Cloverleaf Mall and Chesterfield Towne Center opened within five years and five miles of each other. Willow Lawn, built as a strip mall in the 1950s, was enclosed in the 1980s. [...]

  74. Cloverleaf….wow. I do have fond memories of the mall. It was the second mall I remember going to (Azalea being the first) and remember spending many hours with my mother at McCrory’s and a few other stores. I remember seeing Star Wars in the original cinemas (which were where the food court went. The cinemas went in the building at the back of the lot.)
    Cloverleaf’s original interior was a dark, 60′s style with tacky faux wood trim. I rather liked the mid to late 80′s remodel…until about 1991 or so when it started to look tacky. Seems the Miami Vice look got old quick.
    I can also remember eating many meals in the Piccadilly and the other restaurant across from the Piccadilly. Both flanked the main entrance.
    The other commenters are mostly right: that double muder pretty killed the mall. It was already showing signs of decay before then, but that pretty much killed it.

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  75. Cloverleaf failed because of crime. Go to DeadMalls.com then click Landover Mall in Maryland. I’ve experienced this personally as well. That is Cloverleaf’s fait. Also look at Dixie Square Mall in Illinois. Hope that Cloverleaf gets torn down before it gets to the point of Dixie Square Mall. What happened to Cloverleaf was crime got so bad in the area that shoppers stopped shopping at Cloverleaf. The stores stopped getting the business they wanted to stay open so they started pulling out. It gets worse. Customers were scared to shop their. Then it got even worse. The employees still working there were scared to walk out to their cars at night. Then even more stores closed. After that, the mall found itself loosing more and more money, creating a loss, forcing it to close.

    [Reply]

    RS Reply:

    @Mustang GT,

    The defining crime was the murder of the entire staff of one store at closing time as I recall.

    Once that happened, no one wanted to go there.

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  76. I remember my father working at that Sears when I was a child. We would meet him for lunch at Piccadilly, and then wander for awhile.

    Sadly, when they had that really scary “midway” fair there about 10 years ago, it hit me that the mall would never recover.

    Like Azalea Mall, maybe razing it to the ground, and building something else may be in order.

    [Reply]

    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    @Carl, scary midway fair? Please elaborate…

    [Reply]

  77. My family knew one of the Cloverleaf Mall murder victims, Charlita Singleton. She was a kind-hearted, religious woman with a loving husband just working to help feed her kids. Noone deserves the die the way she and her co-worker did. Can’t believe police still haven’t found who did it.

    [Reply]

  78. I grew up in Chesterfield from the mid 70′s thru the mid 90′s. When I was a kid back in the early 80′s Cloverleaf Mall was the mall to go to. Going down there was always something we looked forward to as kids. It was big, full of busy stores. I saw Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back there, as well as numerouos Disney movies back before VCR’s were a household standard and they would re-run old movies at theatres. That whole stretch of Midlothian Tnpk. was full of great retailers back then. Best Products and Wards across the street, Toys R Us a bit further west, Putt Putt Golf, etc. Chesterfield Mall pretty much sucked back then. It was a fraction of the size it is today or even after it first expanded and became Chesterfield Town Center. However, even back then if you crossed Chippenham to the east of Cloverleaf Mall you could see the bad tide of urban decay coming that continued spreading west down Midlothian Tnpk. causing retailers to continue closing and relocating further west. K-Mart and the Old America Store were pretty much as far as my mother would take us. I moved in 96 and I remember hearing about the murders but I don’t think i was living in VA at the time that they happened. I don’t know if my mom ever went back there after that or not. Even by that time Cloverleaf Mall had been suffering. It was pretty evident to many back then what was in the future for that mall. It was definately not the me place that it had been when I was a kid.
    Kelly, you are right about the giant sphere shaped fountain. There was another fountain a little further down, I think it was where the old theater/ foodcourt corridor joined.

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  79. Where was the McCrory? I’m guessing where Deb Shop later was (next to JCPenney)?

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    @TenPoundHammer, The McCrory’s was in the “Sears” wing on the south side.

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    Bobby P. Reply:

    @Dave, So about where Blockbuster Music was on this map, right? http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u68/TenPoundHammer/cloverleaf2000.jpg?t=1259113038

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  80. does anyone know if the city ever plans on doing any thing to this mall i drove by recently and walked around the mall there was no one to be seen its kinda like a place of my childhood is just gone i dont care about shopping there but what i would give just to walk through the whole mall one more time id be happy

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  81. Some great comments and memories from people.

    But the main article has a few errors — one fairly significant.

    First of all, Sears didn’t leave the mall until January 2003. But the main error is the statement that Sears left to go to Chesterfield Towne Center. The Towne Center Sears opened in 1993, when Cloverleaf was still quite popular, and co-existed with the Cloverleaf Sears for almost 10 years. Cloverleaf still was home to the only JcPenney in the area south of the river until September 2000, when the Towne Center Penney’s opened and the Cloverleaf store closed. The Cloverleaf Penney’s announced its closure in 1999, a year in advance.
    In July 2002, Hecht’s announced it would close its Cloverleaf store in another year. At the time, there was speculation that Sears also would close its Cloverleaf location. Sears officials declined to comment. Six months later, in January 2003, Sears announced the closure, with only two weeks’ notice.
    In July 2003, Hecht’s closed, as announced a year earlier, and Cloverleaf was without a department store anchor.
    It held on for more than 4 1/2 years after that, with such stores as Shoe City, Foot Locker, Lim’s and Footaction. After 2002, there was no more food court. I started driving in 1993, and went to Cloverleaf quite often. I especially liked going there in the late ’90s, as it still had plenty of stores, but it wasn’t as crowded as the Towne Center, and it had clothes you couldn’t get at the Towne Center. Of course, I also have fond memories of going there with my family in the ’80s. We moved to the Richmond area in ’84. I remember the Ruby Tuesdays and Piccadilly Cafeteria. Later, in high school and college, I frequented the food court (Sbarro, Taco Bell, Chik-Fil-A). By the way, Cloverleaf had the first food court in the Richmond area. I remember the theater when it was in the mall and when the Cineplex Odeon first opened (at Cloverleaf and on Hull Street Road by Genito — that one’s closed now too.)
    I saw “Hannibal” with a girl in February 2001 at Cloverleaf, just a couple weeks before the theater closed.
    I still went there occasionally when there were fewer than 20 tenants.
    Cloverleaf Mall closed Feb. 29, 2008. I was there and took some pictures. Another part of my youth gone. Now you have to go to homogenized big box stores or obscenely expensive places like Nordstrom’s and Lord & Taylor.
    Beaufont was great, too — Best, Peaches, A&N — which was a great store in general.
    The Hill’s was cool, but that chain actually was only in the Richmond area briefly, for less than four years. Opened in ’94, gone by ’98. I have great memories of Hill’s in Lynchburg. My family lived in that area from ’79 to ’84.
    By the way, does anyone remember if Cloverleaf ever had a G.C. Murphy or a Woolworth’s?

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  82. That “associate of the month” sign photo is WAY eerie. I like it :)

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  83. i think i can shed some light on the stores (now keep in mind this is from what i can remember) ok um tracks records and video, which later became blockbuster music,chess king, up against the wall, peoples drug store, CVS, sam goddies, picadelly cafeteria, waldenbooks, b daltons bookseller, kb toys,merry go round, babages, EB games, and that’s really all i can remember off the top of my head at the moment

    [Reply]

    michael rothgeb Reply:

    @kris devereux, iam lookining for vintage pictures of cloverleaf mall. I go way back. The Orange bowl,the tinderbox, this end up furnture. Mccrorys, K and K toys. The movie theatre were i saw Star Wars. Let me know of pictures.

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  84. (giggle) yep they HAD a bar called the sword & kilt upstairs the very last time i went there before it closed i was disapointed that it was gone but (sigh) i have a lot of good memories about cloverleaf in general

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  85. what killed this mall??? and was there ever a Toys R us near this mall?

    [Reply]

    Sandra Reply:

    @daniel Fife,

    Yes there was one Daniel

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  86. yep there was about less then a mile west of the former cloverleaf site the former toys r us site is now a nationwide insurence building of some sort

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  87. If anyone has not answered this yet. Beaufont not Cloverleaf had a G.C. Murphy location during the 70′s. One may have opened again in 90-91 or maybe it was a mCCrory’s

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  88. Memories!

    I remember when Cloverleaf was the place to be! The only alternative for those on the southside was Walnut Mall in Petersburg, which was much smaller.

    I stopped by a few weeks ago and peeked in one of the windows. Creepy. You can see some of the trees all dead and dry and not much else. (At least this area seemed to be protected from the elements.

    Would LOVE to take some photos inside, but no way that would happen.

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  89. The main article still has errors that have not been corrected, as noted in my previous post.

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  90. I remember the heydays of Cloverleaf when I was a kid. We always went for free samples at Hickory Farms. My Dad once joked they’d posted his picture and banned him from the store.

    Next door was Spencer Gifts with all its lava lamps and blacklight posters and various naughty novelties.

    At the time everything was groovy earth tones and the main walkways had a nice dark green carpeting. Of course, when all the malls turned pink around 1985, Cloverleaf did too, which made all the earth-tone storefronts look incredibly hideous in contrast.

    Of course, over time, everything moved towards Midlothian and one by one, all the stores and shopping centers around Cloverleaf faded and closed. But I still remember K-Mart (even worked there one summer), Carousel, Ben Franklin, Ukrops, Putt-Putt and a little further into town, Shakey’s, which was a real treat for us kids… way back when they still did sing-alongs.

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  91. I drove by Cloverleaf a week ago and it looks like they’re transforming it into an outdoor mall/ residential plaza, anchored by Kroger. Nothing has started yet, and I can’t tell if they plan on using any of the original structure or not.

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  92. Cloverleaf will be completely torn down. The main replacement will be a 150K+ sf Kroger, which just received permission to enlarge from around 125K sf from the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.

    The other posters have memories in line with mine, except that I was probably there earlier and worked there at a younger age than most of you whippersnappers. Like before the shops were allowed to open in Sundays, for example. :That was interesting, being the only folks in a great big mall at closing time on Sundays. The fact we didn’t get robbed in 1972 just shows how stupid criminals were back then.

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  93. [...] Cloverleaf Mall: The Dead Mall [...]

  94. You better go get some pictures in as the mall is finally going to come down starting this week , it will start tomorrow so good bye old Lady Cloverleaf !!!!!

    [Reply]

  95. [...] Links: Labelscar entry — apparently I missed taking a pic of the former Thalhimers that was way in the back of the [...]

  96. I have numerous exterior AND interior shots, all taken within the last couple of months.

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  97. Retail Traffic: Why Taubman Turned Regency Square Over to its Lenders
    Jan 10, 2012 12:20 PM, By Jennifer Popovec, Contributing Writer

    Taubman Centers Inc. has turned over the keys to Regency Square in Richmond, Va., transferring title of the 1970s-era regional mall to a mortgage lender on behalf of LNR Partners LLC as the asset’s special servicer.

    The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based REIT, which also owns and operates Stony Point Fashion Park in the Richmond market, has been relieved of $72.2 million of debt obligations plus accrued interest associated with Regency Square on a loan originally worth $82.5 million.

    In addition, the company expects to recognize in the fourth quarter of 2011 a non-cash accounting gain estimated to be in excess of $45 million, representing the difference between the book value of the center’s debt and other obligations extinguished and the net book value of the property.

    Taubman, which has owned the 820,000-sq.-ft. property since July 1997, stopped paying the mortgage on it last June, according to Karen MacDonald, the REIT’s director of communications. The mortgage had an original stated rate of 6.75 percent plus a 4 percent default rate and was originally scheduled to mature in November 2011.

    MacDonald says that Taubman decided to let the property go back to the lender because the cashflow from the shopping center wasn’t covering the interest expense on the loan. She adds that the REIT did not try to work with the special servicer to avoid losing the property.

    “Most REITs have been in the same situation and have surrendered properties,” says Gerard V. Mason, executive managing director of Savills. “The tipping point comes when you have a property that requires additional investment, yet it’s not worth the debt it has on it. Why would Taubman or any other owner invest more money in a center when it’s never going to provide a return on that investment? You want to get the dead wood off the books.”

    In the third quarter of 2009, Taubman announced it would recognize an impairment charge of $59 million for Regency Square, which experienced declining net operating income and increasing capital expenditure requirements. Subsequently, the company’s board of directors concluded that it was in the best interest of the company to discontinue its financial support of Regency Square.

    Regency Square is anchored by two Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears. Other tenants include Aldo, Charming CHARLIE, Sephora and Forever 21. Although Taubman declined to disclose specific numbers regarding Regency Square’s occupancy and retail sales, industry experts says the property is generating less than $250 per sq. ft.

    “When the sales per sq. ft. get that low, it’s usually a death knell for a mall,” Mason says. “The bottom line is that Regency Square is an old format, and there are plenty of other options for shoppers. Richmond is over-retailed, and this property is bookended by two newer spectacular properties: Forest City’s Short Pump Town Center and Taubman’s Stony Point Fashion Park. In a way, Taubman cannibalized it own center when it opened Stony Point, and frankly, I don’t think there’s a lot of hope for Regency Square.”

    [Reply]

  98. Kroger’s first mega store in the mid-Atlantic opens in Chesterfield CountyDecember 05, 2012 1:15 PM

    By Paula C. Squires

    Hoards of Richmond shoppers turned out Wednesday for the opening of the Kroger Co.’s first mega-store in its mid-Atlantic region.
    The 123,600-square foot Kroger Marketplace store in Chesterfield County at the old Cloverleaf Mall site offers a new grocery shopping experience, offering 300,000 items and several nongrocery departments including a Babyland and furniture and home décor.

    “Grocery shopping isn’t always a fun experience,” said Valerie Jabbar, a vice president of merchandising for the Kroger Co. “We want to make it fun by appealing to the customer’s five senses.”
    There was plenty to see, taste and touch at the store, a prototype Kroger is rolling out aggressively in the next five years. While some retailers such as Walmart started with a variety of hard and soft merchandise and then added groceries, Kroger is moving in the opposite direction. Besides rows of fresh produce and typical grocery offerings, its new store at the Stonebridge mixed-use development on Midlothian Turnpike offers Starbucks coffee, an outdoor garden center, toys and even a section with Virginia Tech Hokie merchandise.

    The company has a 124,000-square-foot Marketplace store under construction in Virginia Beach that will open in 2013, and it plans a second Marketplace store in the Richmond area, at the intersection of Staple Mills and Hungary Springs Road in Henrico County. That store is scheduled to open in 2014.
    In the mid-Atlantic division, “We will build, over the next five years, a minimum of 10 of these stores,” Jabbar said.

    At more than $20 million per store opening, that represents a major investment for the Cincinnati-based grocery chain, which currently has a 16 percent share of Richmond’s grocery market, behind competitors Food Lion and Walmart. “We made this investment there, because we think Richmond is going to do well for us,” said Carl York, a customer communications executive for The Kroger Co. “We’re very excited about the way customers are responding to us.”

    Altogether, Kroger has 16 stores in the Richmond market and 122 in the mid-Atlantic division. The new store at Stonebridge employs 375 people.
    Asked about the strategic thinking behind expanding store size and adding hard goods such as furniture, York noted that Kroger acquired Fred Meyer Inc. in 1999. Kroger’s Fred Meyer Stores subsidiary operates about 120 supercenters, which offer groceries, general merchandise and jewelry, in the western U.S. Jewelry, not available in the Chesterfield store, will be offered in the Virginia Beach Marketplace. “We’ve had some success,” with the combination of goods, York said.

    With the housing industry poised to make a comeback as the economy continues to recover and with a new apartment community planned for Stonebridge, Jabbar said the company expects the furniture and home décor items to sell well in Richmond. For those buyers, Kroger offers a home delivery and assembly service, for a fee, provided by a third-party contractor.
    Many shoppers strolled the aisles of the furniture department yesterday where they could buy lamps, rugs, couches, chairs, cushions and other items.

    The corporate headquarters for Kroger’s mid-Atlantic division is in Roanoke. The division’s territory includes six states: Virginia, some parts of West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Kroger is one the world’s largest grocery retailers, with fiscal 2011 sales of $90.4 billion. It operates 2,425 stores, under various formats and banners, in 31 states.

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  99. I only make it back to Chesterfield a few times a year now, but the former Cloverleaf site is nothing like the dying mall my Recruiter and I walked into back in 2001 (one of the last times I ventured inside). The movie theater had been closed by that time, and a couple of years ago I tried taking the old shortcut behind the mall only to find that it had been closed off. As late as Fall 2004 the parking lot was still open–I recall getting caught by the heavy rains that year that caused Falling Creek to flood Chippenham Parkway, trying to find an alternate way home, much of that area had flowing water across the streets, including the old back entrance to the mall.

    Perhaps I’ll drive through the old site or check out the new developments when I get home. Glad they did something rather than let the mall rot, but I’ll always remember the place as Cloverleaf Mall.

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  100. The Kroger is a really nice, massive store… But I still get a little sad every time I go in…
    And I really wish I had a time machine because I feel like I missed out on all the cool stuff in the 70s and 80s ha.

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