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Updated: “Who’s #1?” – Dead Shopping Centers

“It’s time to see “Who’s #1?” again, and this time we’re talking about the area’s shopping centers and malls that have seen better days…much better days.

(Update #1: We’ve added two more in-bad-shape shopping centers to the list thanks to some comments.)

Let’s kick off this episode of “Who’s #1?” with #12 on our list…

#12 – Dutch Inn Plaza – Collinsville VA

As you go north through Collinsville VA, you’ll see the Dutch Inn motel. That starts about a half-mile of sadly neglected shopping centers. The Dutch Inn Plaza (the first one on your right) isn’t actually too bad as it’s got a Dollar General Market and Badcock Furniture there… but that’s it. There’s an AutoZone in the middle of the parking lot. The shopping center sits on a 25º angle and I’m surprised that shopping carts haven’t gone across the road into the businesses there.

#11 – Collinsville Center – Collinsville VA

Unfortunately, after that comes the run-down Collinsville Center. You’ve got the standard Schewels furniture store there and a Sav-A-Lot grocery store (which is the box-store type.. yuck!). A long time ago, there used to be a nice western wear clothing shop next to the laundromat. That actually made it worthwhile to stop by, but it’s long gone.

#10 – Riverside Shopping Center – Danville VA

Riverside’s got Joe & Mimma’s Italian Restaurant & an ABC store, which come to think of it, pretty much takes care of life’s needs. Stone & Company has opened up in the old Marshall’s location with great prices on clothing, but it looks like a temporary store. Besides that, you’ve got almost nothing.

#9 – Nor-Dan Shopping Center – Danville VA

Big Lots, a Fashion Bug, and a Piggly-Wiggly grocery store that utilizes only 75% of the space they rent are the highlights of what’s left in Nor-Dan. There’s a chinese restaurant that’s lasted 15 years. Nor-Dan’s been saved from extinction by the state government that located the Workforce center there, combining office space for multiple state agencies in one place. Anybody remember when the Super China Buffet was a Western Sizzlin? How about remembering Woolworths? Leed’s Music Center? Peoples Drug Store? Bestway grocery store? Western Auto? I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d ask.

#8 – Liberty Fair Mall – Martinsville VA

You’ve got some decent anchor stores at Martinsville’s mall. There’s a JC Penney Outlet Center that has some pretty good deals if you’re willing to hunt through an overloaded store. You’ve even got the outlet store for the outlet store where they sell items that were returned from catalog sales. You’ve also got the obligatory Belk & Sears anchor stores and a Kroger grocery store (a grocery store at a mall?!) I’d get bonked over the head by the ladies of SouthsideCentral if I didn’t mention Jo-Ann Fabrics (one of the few fabric stores left in the region) inside the mall. After that, um.. there’s not much there.

#7 – Ballou Park Shopping Center – Danville VA

There’s a Food Lion there and a bunch of burned-out storefronts. The fire was over a year ago yet nothing seems to have been touched. You’ve also got a Dollar General store in the center that has the police department on speed-dial based and a quite dead 4-screen movie theater. Even the post office closed at Ballou Park Shopping Center. Anybody remember Murphy’s?

#6 – Piney Forest Shopping Center

Nor-Dan’s gain of the Workforce Center was Piney Forest Shopping Center’s loss. Food Lion recently closed their grocery store there. The shopping center is now better known as a medical destination.

#5 – Piedmont Mall – Danville VA

Globman’s? Hills? Ames? Boscovs? The nice fountain in the center of the mall? If it wasn’t for yet another Belk-in-the-mall, a Sears & a JC Penney, is there anything inside the mall to attract customers? New management is tryign to get things going at Piedmont Mall, but it’s very slow going.

#4 – Liberty Fair Mall – Martinsville VA

You’ve got some decent anchor stores at Martinsville’s mall. There’s a JC Penney Outlet Center that has some pretty good deals if you’re willing to hunt through an overloaded store. You’ve even got the outlet store for the outlet store where they sell items that were returned from catalog sales. You’ve also got the obligatory Belk & Sears anchor stores and a Kroger grocery store (a grocery store at a mall?!) I’d get bonked over the head by the ladies of SouthsideCentral if I didn’t mention Jo-Ann Fabrics (one of the few fabric stores left in the region) inside the mall. After that, um.. there’s not much there.

#3 – Dan River Plaza – Danville VA

Thanks to a comment below, Dan River Plaza makes the cut after hosting 2 incarnations of a Kroger grocery store, 2 versions of a drug store (anybody remember Begley Drugs?) As our commenter said before, it’s now got an “arts center” (whatever the hell that is). It’s also a good place for Danville police officers to exercise their dogs (we’ll see if anybody remembers that news story)

#2 – Patrick Henry Mall – Martinsville VA

The “mall” that’s really not a mall. Located on the east side of Martinsville, you’ll find a mostly vacant array of storefronts connected by a covered walkway (hence the “mall” name”. In it’s prime, Patrick Henry Mall was the home of a JC Penney store, a Peoples Drug store and a great chinese restaurant. After the Liberty Fair Mall opened, the Patrick Henry Mall quickly faded into obscurity. Now you’ll find a Family Dollar store and a call center business that decided to take advantage of the cheap rental rates. All’s not lost at Patrick Henry Mall though. You’ll find the “Wild Magnolia” restaurant which gets consistently good reviews.

And we’re up (down) to the #1 deadest shopping center in the area…

#1 – Pennrose Mall – Reidsville NC

The mall that time forgot. Pennrose Mall has the standard Belk-in-the-mall and um… I’ll get back to you on that. They have a Roses department store. One day I walked though, and in a surreal moment, Roses had chrysanthemum plants for sale in the middle of the open area in front of their store. An employee was watering the plants with a garden hose pulled in through the mall doors just leaving puddles of water everywhere. Safety, schmafety! Anyway, it’s fun to go to Pennrose Mall and try to figure out the stores that have gone out of business. You’ll find the skeleton shell of an very old Peanut Shack among the fallen. One final moment of bizarreness…in October, there were red, white and blue mostly deflated balloons inside a gated ex-store. Combine that with a lawnmower sitting on a table in the same store and I had no idea what the hell it was.

So there you go… SouthsideCentral’s look at shopping centers that are in bad shape. Got any of your own? Any comments? Let’s hear it.”

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