Hey kids, let’s go to the mall
Aug 03, 2020
More than four decades ago, it was a massive construction project in what up to that point had been farmland. Today it remains a major shopping center in the region. Back then, Perkins Township trustee Jim Lang, a patrol sergeant with the Perkins police, said it was the biggest building he ever saw. “I never imagined anything could be so big.”
The nearby acreage became farmland of a different sort, for retail businesses, which sprouted up, up and down U.S. 250, north and south of the Sandusky Mall after it debuted in 1976. For years and years after new retailers moved to town, it became a bustling and top-notch business district.
Through it all, the Cafaro Co., the Sandusky Mall owner, has been steady at the wheel, and anchor to the enormous development that occurred. Some of the main stores have closed — Macy’s, Sears and even Montgomery Ward — but that was reflective of the individual failures of those businesses, not the mall’s resilience.
J.C. Penney remains and was joined this year by Hobby Lobby, and Cafaro Co. is moving forward with its redevelopment of the shopping center. In 2018, the company started to plan the remodel of the 44-year-old mall to attract new tenants and adjust to changing shopping habits. The remodel will make the complex a mixed-use property, meaning in addition to retail, it will offer entertainment, offices, restaurants and residential spaces.
Cafaro recently finished phase 1, which included the remodeling of the old Sears for Hobby Lobby and the relocation of utilities. It will split The former Macy’s location at the Sandusky Mall into three storefronts.
Brick and mortar stores and malls all over the country were seriously challenged before the pandemic, from online retailers that put a big dent in retail sales. The COVID-19 shutdown made that worse. We’re glad to see there’s still a good life left in the mall, and it’s good to see the commitment from Cafaro Co. is unwavering.
The Sandusky Mall is an important retail center — and a fun place — we hope to see it thrive for decades to come.
• Opened in 1976
• 1.1 million square feet of retail space