Becker Village Mall; Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC

Located where the coastal plain meets the upland fall line, Roanoke Rapids was originally settled as a port.  Historically, it connected the appalachian upland with a navigable river to the Atlantic Ocean.  Today, Roanoke Rapids has outlived the necessity to be a port and instead functions as the anchor city to a small micropolitan area.  I-95, one of the busiest interstate corridors in the country, has also helped in boosting the local economy as Roanoke Rapids sits roughly halfway from the megalopolis in the northeast to Florida’s sunland.

The city of Roanoke Rapids has a population of only 17,000, but due to the relative remoteness of its location it draws from a large rural and semi-rural area around it; in fact, the trade area is close to ten times the population.  In addition, the nearby larger cities of Richmond, Raleigh and the Hampton Roads area are all over 80 miles away.  Therefore, Roanoke Rapids has developed as a center for commerce in its microregion.  Also recently Roanoke Rapids has been the recipient of an entertainment destination per Dolly Parton called Carolina Crossroads, which will be a mixed-use development featuring an amphitheater, aquarium, hotel, water park, billiards hall and over 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.  The site was chosen for its centrality, being approximately halfway from Florida and the seaboard cities of the northeast.

Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC  Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC

As Roanoke Rapids has emerged, a large retail strip has developed along U.S. 158 near Interstate 95, including many strip malls, restaurants, box stores, and typical retail strip fodder.  Nearly adjacent to the U.S. 158 strip is also a small enclosed mall, Becker Village Mall, located along 10th street. 

Becker Village Mall has definitely seen better days and today the center is almost wholly defunct as a retail destination.  The small, 320,000 square foot mall has seen many departures in the past several years, stemming largely from K-Mart’s closure in 2002 and also from the groundbreaking of Premier Landing, a modern lifestyle/strip-mall development the same year.  Premier Landing has opened in phases since at a more visible location in the center of the strip near I-95 and U.S. 158, and also managed to wriggle Belk and other typical ‘enclosed mall’ offerings away from Becker Village Mall, sealing the mall’s fate rather solidly. 

We visited Becker Village Mall in August 2005 and took the pictures featured here.  For even more information and photos please visit Anita Rose’s Sick Malls blog, for a different (and daylight) perspective from Summer 2006.

Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC Becker Village Mall in Roanoke Rapids, NC

37 thoughts on “Becker Village Mall; Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina”

  1. This mall looks and feels a lot like Eden Mall in Eden, N.C. It’s eerily similar, except that instead of JCPenney, Eden Mall had Globman’s, a small Virginia-based chain.

  2. I can’t believe they’d just let it rot like that. It seems like just about every mall of this size is in this condition (except for Biggs Park Mall in Lumberton, which is somehow 100% occupied AND is possibly the smallest mall to have all three versions of Foot Locker).

  3. It’s great to see Labelscar cover another mall in the South!

    When these pictures were taken in August 2005, were both Belk and JCPenney still open? (It looks that way.) Also, when did both stores seal off their mall entrances? Additionally, when did both stores leave the mall?

  4. JCPenney is still there. Belk left in late 2006.

  5. Reminds me so much of my Manitowoc mall roadtrip last year. Looks upkept, but it’s just too small and outdated in appearance to remain viable.

    JCPenney can sustain itself without a mall nowadays, as they’re starting to prove by building big-box locations off the malls, and other examples where they’re still open, but the mall they’re attatched to is either sealed off, or torn down.

  6. That ceiling is hideous. This place looks more like some dreary backoffice call center than a shopping mall. I can kind of see why it would die; it’s not exactly a pleasant place to visit!

  7. Yeah, the “Sick Malls” website refers to a comment: “that’s a mall? weird. it looks like the science building at my school.”

    Schools and malls can share interesting design traits sometime. My school has many mall-like traits.

  8. EEK! it’s my office were i work plus
    JC Penney.

  9. I remember reading about Becker Village Mall in Anita’s Sick Malls blog. Is JCPenney absolutely the only store left in this mall? Since everytime I’ve looked up info on this mall, that’s the only store I can tell that’s obviously still left in Becker Village.

  10. I don’t think JCPenney’s the only thing left; seems there’s still a martial arts center and some offices left.

  11. OK, so there are about a half-handful of stores left in the mall(besides JCPenney). Thanks for clearing me up about the occupancy rate of Becker Village Mall, though I see I was right that the occupancy rate is low as all heck for this mall!

  12. I dunno, it’s really too late to save, but if the mall croaks, they can redevelop the site as offices. They convert the storefronts to office space, add windows, redo the exterior, and carpet the hallways. Then they rename it to “The Offices at Becker Village”.

  13. 1980. That just re-enforces what I’ve always said about these ‘sMalls’…they were popular for small cities back then, and the late 1970s was really a booming time for these sorts of malls.

  14. Actually there’s an update on this mall. A local couple bought it and now there are a bunch of stores opening in it soon, not big chains but small local owned ventures. Also they are trying to attract bigger chain stores as well since the two main store fronts used to hold K-mart and Belk. Back in the day the mall was a teenage hangout on Friday and Saturday nights. I was located almost next to the local skating rink which is now also closed and there would be a steady stream of traffic back and forth between the two. I am 27 and I remember begging my mom to go shopping so I could go “hang-out” on the weekends. Then as we got older and got our licenses we used to hang out in the parking lot until so many people were doing the same that the local law enforcement started issuing loitering tickets to keep us off the property. Now when you drive by there the only cars you see are in front of JC Penneys and a few at the main entrance. It really sad when you see a place that holds so many memories just fade away to nothing. And the sad fact is the the new “stripmall” that essentially “killed” the mall is so overcrowded that most people who live here hate to even go there and still opt to go to bigger cities to do their shopping. In fact I go to Family Dollar for everything rather than Wal-Mart because I really hate to fight the traffic in the parking lots. It takes longer to get in and out of the parking lot than it does for me to drive there and back. It’s gotten ridiculous!

  15. I live here in Roanoke Rapidsand I am 13. I would like to see the mall back to the way it was even back to when i was 7 or 8. I used to go there with my grandma. I hope it can be built back up before i get my license in 2 and a half years. If not that, I guess my friends and I will drive through the Sonic Drive-in in the Sonic 500 like my older brother did when he was in High School. I want a Dick’s Sporting Goods TO come here to my hometown.

  16. you retards need to stop arguing about the mall and find something else to do theres more important shit going on than not having store in our mall

  17. This mall will not change until the mall manager is removed and someone assumes that position that will make progressive business decisions.

  18. Hey Lenn

    It is not up to the mall manager or mall owners or mall management companies solely to make “progressive business decisions”. It lies also with the retail corporations themselves. Retailers look at income, population, and many other aspects of an area before “moving in”. And during this current economic situation, retailers are hesitant on expanding. There is a LOT more involved than just a mall manager or owner wanting retail to come into the area. I know this as I live in the area as well, and I have inquired as to why we haven’t seen too many new stores open yet. I do know the entire staff there is doing everything they can to get Becker Village Mall back to the busy shopping attraction that it once was. Please be patient and supportive, and you will surely see improvements happening in the very near future.

  19. I never knew that I was mentioned here. Hm. No wonder I get a lot of hits still on that Becker Square entry.

    While I was on Spring Break a few months ago, the new owner of this place kept on sending me harassing emails telling me to take my entry off my blog. I threw him in the spam box. Rinky dink local stores aren’t going to save a mall, they never do.

  20. hm i’ve been there a lot, i remember finding a photo somewhere of an closed mall in rocky mount nc i mean it was in pretty bad shape, if i can find it later i’ll send itin.

  21. My grandmother and some family of mine live in Roanoke Rapids and I can remember going to this mall alot as a child with my grandparents and my cousins. It was always small and kind of rinky but it was something to do when we went to visit. The nicest thing about this mall was the fact that it had a Maurices which stayed open a long time after the one in the Wilson, NC (my hometown) mall closed. The only other Maurices I have come across is in the Hanes Mall in Winston Salem, NC. Does anyone know if there are anymore? The other thing I can remember is it had a Rose’s and a record shop. One of my cousins is in college now and I asked her recently if she went to the mall when she went home and her response was she would rather hang out in the Sonic parking lot. I never really did notice how hideous the ceiling was until I looked at these pics though…

  22. We have another “sMall” in Elizabeth City, about eighty miles to the east of Roanoke Rapids. Southgate Mall is about 250,000 sq ft and 80% filled with JCPenney, Belk and Goody’s (if you count it as one) as anchors, even though we are only 45 minutes away from three regional malls and one superregional mall in Hampton Roads, VA.

  23. P.S. Southgate’s decor is almost as bad as Becker Village’s, but with the aesthetics just a bit better and a much higher ceiling and skylights. I think what saved the mall back in its decline in the late 90s when occupancy was 50% give or take was when a Chinese buffet moved in. It moved to the old CVS slot in 2003 to become an even more popular super Chinese buffet slash Japanese sushi house and Mongolian Grill.

  24. I live only about a mile from Becker Village Mall. It is true that the mall has come under new ownership within the last year or so, but so far not much of anything has come of that. Sure, there have been a few new “local” stores to open up in the mall, but these stores are really only 1/2 a step above some scruffy lookin’ guy selling clothing or whatever out of the back of his van near a street corner.

    We’ve all been hearing for a while about great new things coming, but we’ve all gotten used to failure and the disappointment when that doesnt happen.

    It was mentioned in the write-up above that the area was chosen for an entertainment center by Dolly Parton called Carolina Crossroads – this is only partially correct. It was actually her brother, Randy Parton who had his name attached to this miserable failure of a project. He was wooed to the area by the local government with a retardedly huge contract and offer for his services, amounting to millions of taxpayer dollars (including a massive house on the lake) – with zero input from the actual taxpayers. As for his sister, Dolly Parton never once performed there. Randy Parton himself only performed there for a short time, before being fired for substance abuse. Currently, the place sits vacant, and was recently sold to an out of state venue manager for a fraction of its initial cost. The whole theater complex was never even completed, with only 2 of the 8 planned theaters ever finished. Also, there was local council corruption issues surrounding the whole affair, where millions of dollars just disappeared into thin air.

    Along with all of that was supposed to be a theme part of sorts, a marine wildlife aquarium, a new 12 screen multiplex, and a whole host of other retail places. None of those ever saw the light of day.

    The whole ordeal was so heavily hyped up as being the savior of the whole region that it caused a whole cascade of crap for the residents. Speculation on the area becoming Branson, MO ver.2.0 caused realtors to hugely inflate property costs in anticipation, almost doubling the prices of homes in the area in less than a years time.

    As a result of all this failure, a lot of the rumored companies coming to town either backed out or never showed up in the first place. As of this writing, there is a half-built, abandoned supermarket called Farm Fresh that was to be the anchor for phase III of Premier Landing, across the street from phase II. The outer shell of the building is all that exists, it otherwise hasn’t been touched in over 4 months.

    In closing, the Becker Village Mall is but only 1 example of an entire town that is currently dying.

  25. As I spent most of my childhood when we resided in Roanoke Rapids visiting this mall, I have very vivid memories of it, not least because a TV station actually taped a remote for their kids show (called “Whitney the Hobo,” if you can believe that) there many years ago. We moved away some years ago, and I was curious about its current state, and it’s very sad to see it’s fallen on hard times.

    I can’t remember with perfect recall everything that was located in the mall, but I do remember that next to the K-Mart there was a video arcade (the Gold Mine, later a Tilt) Giovanni’s pizza, a shoe store that I believe later became a pet store (of all things) a Fashion Bug and a Hallmark store or locally owned facsimile.

    Moving towards the center of the mall and turning left was a Stitches (clothing store, which meant in the 80’s “more pastels than should be legally permissible to wear”) a Camelot Music, a Cato, a Treasury Drug (later Ben Franklin Crafts) and and JC Penny’s.

    Moving back from the center was a Peanut Shack, an Orange Julius (that later became something else that was Orange Julius in all but name) a Radio Shack, an optometrist and a hair salon.

    Moving back to Belk’s there was another clothing store and a Waldenbooks, which stayed for the longest time.

    I have a lot of fond memories of Becker Village Mall, but I can see why it’s on its last legs–as all the growth in Roanoke Rapids has moved towards the I-95 corridor, it’s too far away and too small for most potential tenant’s needs. So while I miss what it was, I have many years’ worth of fond memories of shopping there.

  26. Well I live in roanoke rapids and this mall did die after all the stores left to go beside wal-mart. But a new owner bought it and has done a pretty good job steady making new stores. Even has a new hair salon.

  27. yeah it has gotten a lil better. but i do miss that arcade.

  28. It’s definitely in its death-throes. The website just posted by RRNative shows that there are only 2 mom-and-pop “snack shops”: Nephew’s Philly Cheesesteak & Subs and Village Cafe.

    As far as shopping goes, other than the infamous JCPenny, an H&R Block, and a Curves there is a small selection of mom-and-pop stores, including a MUSEUM, of all things:
    Dallas Jones Veteran’s Museum (What other mall would?), , Hit Wear (Did I hear, “Pants on the ground??” AND they put this at the mall’s main entrance!), Exclusively Yours Boutique (Everything from plush animals and lingerie to cupcakes/baked goods and wedding gowns), ExChange Company (For a wardrobe of leftovers) Ardyss Health Products, Bella Vita Salon and Spa, and Halifax HealthLink.

    I only hope that Becker Village Mall dies quickly or else it has a MAJOR overhaul.

  29. LSmith posted (on 1/28/10 at 2:08 PM):

    “Moving back from the center was a Peanut Shack, an Orange Julius (that later became something else that was Orange Julius in all but name) a Radio Shack, an optometrist and a hair salon.”

    If Orange Julius wasn’t one of the original mall tenants, it came on soon after the grand opening. I never once patronized the Orange Julius, but remember being very disappointed when the Hot Sam pretzel location in the the K-Mart wing left. I’ve not seen another Hot Sam retail outlet since, but my mother would sometimes buy me and my older sister a big soft pretzel. I liked mine covered in the hot, melty cheese goo.

    I rarely purchase shoes or clothing, but did make an athletic shoe purchase at The Shoe Dept (store #548) in the mall on Halloween in 2006. Appropriately fitting the Halloween theme, I was wearing them (black NIKEs—one of them pressed to the accelerator) when my car was totaled less than a year later. I got a fleeting glimpse of the grill and headlights of the tractor trailer that rear ended me just before the rear window shattered and the car began to fishtail, but it’s unrelated to windows around 622-75-0460 (expired on 15th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s death; unrelated to 246-62-0093)–even if another Melvin warned: “You’re on 95” about 40 miles north and decades earlier. I see at Wikipedia that “in the 1970s and early 1980s, Orange Julius beverage stands used the image of a devil with a pitchfork, similar to that of the Arizona State University mascot, Sparky, around an orange, with the slogan, “A Devilishly Good Drink”. But I don’t remember any such mascot, though the time frame would fit the early 1980s arrival of the Roanoke Rapids store.

  30. Stores currently in the mall according to the website…
    1. Bella Vita Salon and Spa
    2. Curves at Becker Village Mall
    3. Dallas Jones Veteran’s Museum
    4. ExChange Company (second-hand recent clothing)
    5. Exclusively Yours Boutique
    6. H&R Block
    7. Halifax HealthLink
    8. JC Penney
    9. Merle Norman
    10. Mt. Olympus Bodybuilding Gym
    11. Riverside Consulting
    12. Smith Family Martial Arts
    13. Unique Photography

    Still pretty dead, and no food stands.

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