The Nostalgia of Dead Malls

Saylor Stottlemyer, Head Features Editor

According to a New York Times report from January 3, 2015, “Like beached whales, dead malls draw fascination as well as dismay.”

The dead mall epidemic has proliferated since the turn of the century as societal changes were made straying people away from shopping at tangible locations such as malls. While this is decreasing sales in shopping centers, some “mall deaths” have had negative impacts on local economics. The Durango Mall continually changes store selection in an effort to increase mall popularity, but changing market demands decrease overall profit and success.

Durango City Councilwoman Melissa Youssef finds that increasing internet sales are having a direct impact on retail and merchandise sales in malls, and she believes that that trend will continue.

The local economy of Durango, Colorado has been negatively impacted by the sales decrease at the Durango Mall, and the loss in county wealth has made giving back to the public more difficult.

“This [the decreasing mall trend] has had a negative effect on Durango economically because we don’t get local sales, and therefore we don’t get local sales tax and we cannot reinvest those tax dollars back into our community,” said Youssef.

While this pressing issue needs to be addressed, combatting the decreasing revenue is difficult because increased online shopping as well as shopping outside the county is impossible to hinder entirely. However, that doesn’t stop City Council.

“Some attempts made by Durango City Council will be made through Local First, which is an organization whose mission is to encourage reinvestment in the local economy and support of local businesses,” said Youssef.

DHS Sophomore Dallas Young shops at the Durango Mall a couple times a month at particular stores, and she claims that the lack of selection would increase the popularity of the mall drastically.

“The mall never has any people because of the lack of stores. Increasing the amount of stores would  definitely bring back people. I would like to see stores like Pacsun, Urban Outfitters, Pink, Sephora, and H&M,” said Young.

DHS Freshman Katie Rydz also shops at the mall occasionally due to the lack of money to partake in online shopping, and the fact that supporting the mall is fun and interactive when she is with friends, doing things like trying on clothes.

“The mall doesn’t really have any popular stores and it is extremely small. I think they should increase the number of stores and maybe expand to include another level to gain revenue and customers back,” said Rydz.

From another perspective, DHS senior Violet Wichel rarely shops at the Durango Mall, and prefers to shop online or whenever she is in a city.

“I think the mall is in a weird location and they don’t have great stores. I would get more popular stores as well has have more influential advertising,” said Wichel.


There is no doubt that the mall has decreased in popularity, as many stores have either run out of business or shut down indefinitely. Some experts claim that the decrease didn’t stem from the increase in online shopping, but the over-retailing of enclosed areas.

The shopping center has several stores that are all similar, which can overwhelm and concern shoppers that their money was better spent at another retail outlet.

Tom Simmons, the facilitator of Kimco Real Estate Agency in the east claims that local malls will become extinct like Dinosaurs in the near future, but high-profile malls aimed at affluent americans will remain.

“The genie was out of the bottle, and it was never going to come back,” said Simmons.