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Monday, June 22, 2015

The impact of local malls

Have you ever thought about the impact a local mall has on you and your family? I never really thought about it until the Mayor of Seminole started asking people about their memories of the Seminole Mall. Seminole Mall was built in 1964 and located at Park Boulevard and 113th Street. It was an indoor mall and about 425,000 square-foot..

Currently the mall is being torn down and a new mall will go up in the next few years. It's been an eye sore to the community for at least 10 years. Most people can't wait for the revitalization to take place. I am not quite as old as the mall, but I do remember fun memories at the mall as a child growing up. My two girls ages 9 and 10, sadly don't have any real memories of the mall. They have memories of going to the movies and visiting the Easter Bunny in the center of the mall. My youngest daughter calls Seminole Mall the "dead mall."

As a person who likes to shop, I took my kids to the other malls around the area. When they were younger, we would go to Tyrone Square Mall because it is an indoor mall and when you are pushing a stroller, you like to be inside with air conditioning. The mall also offered a kids club and a place the kids could play. We also liked going to Countryside Mall because it is indoors and they have ice skating, so the kids enjoyed watching others skate and as they got older tried skating. The mall we go to the most now is probably Largo Mall. The biggest draw there for my family is the movie theater, the main anchor stores there and the pet store.

When I was a kid,  I can remember Seminole Mall as a place the family would go and walk around. We would usually eat at a place called Telly's. They were an Italian restaurant in the front of the mall. I even remember taking my great-grandma there. They had been there for more than 30 years and we had been going there since they opened. They had the best bread and dipping sauce. We enjoyed their pizza too. They were one of the last restaurants in the mall. They even moved to a new location in the mall before closing their doors. I remember my family participating in a talent shows for kids. I was young, but I still remember my little sister, who was maybe three at the time singing a Shirley Temple song "On the Good Ship Lollipop."  I also remember the mall had a big plastic alligator you could climb on, a merry-go-round and other fun things for kids to play on.  

As I got older and my brother and sisters got older, my mom started taking us to Pinellas Square Mall, now called Shoppes at Park Place. Even though it was little further away, the memories of that mall were great. It was much bigger than Seminole Mall and was two stories with an ice-skating rink. We loved going there as a family and as a teen I was always there because I was on the teen board for the mall with my sister, who is two years younger than me. We would do things for the community as teen board members like wrap presents at Christmas. I also remember doing freeze modeling for the stores. This is where you act like a mannequin in the window in front of the store. I even had my ears pierced at that mall.

Since I was a kid, they demolished the indoor mall and now it's an outdoor mall. Personally, I like indoor malls, but it seems like most malls are going outdoor.

Even when I think of visiting family and friends in other cities and states, the mall is a place we usually go. I have some great memories of malls across the United States. Hopefully the next generation of kids and families will have fond memories, as new malls are developed. They can be more than just a store front making money, they can have a positive impact on their community and families who live in it. 

What are some of your memories of your mall growing up? If you want to comment specifically about Seminole Mall Click here.

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