Mall Wisely Adjusts to New Retail Reality

by Jessica Stewart

St. Joseph, MO – Any recounting of the last 50 years must include how we came to experience one of the hallmarks of the retailing age: the climate-controlled shopping center. It must also account for how retailing has changed. Beginning in September 1965, St. Joseph could boast of its own mall “where it’s always 72 degrees.” The phenomenon of enclosed centers was not yet 10 years old. For a while, retailers kept operations both Downtown and in their new digs on the Belt Highway. But that, of course, didn’t last. The retailers who flocked to East Hills included Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney, Safeway, Katz Drug, Woolworth’s and Hirsch’s Department Store. In 1988, an expansion added Dillard’s and Sears and more than 30 specialty shops.

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