Mall of Monroe visited 1.3 million times a year

Mall of Monroe seeking local businesses; mall visited 1.3 million times a year

Suzanne Nolan Wisler

The Monroe News  February 4, 2024

MONROE — The Mall of Monroe is hoping to bring in more local businesses. National retail trends show customers want stores that offer experiences. Artificial intelligence shows many people visit the local mall.

The 600,000-square-foot facility at 2121 N. Monroe St. has 27 leasable units.

“We have 11 vacant,” said Timothy Matune, senior vice president of asset redevelopment for Cafaro, the Niles, Ohio company that manages the Mall of Monroe.

Plans are currently in the works for more new tenants, Matune said. No mall stores have closed recently.

“We’re doing very well, opening new stores and retaining the ones that we have,” Matune said. “We have a good mix of established tenants, like Bath & Body Works, Shoe Dept., Color Beauty Supplies and Spencer’s.”

The mall is currently seeking local business owners.

“Our bosses at Cafaro are stressing local leasing. We’ve done a lot of local leasing,” Matune said. “We’re seeking established brick-and-mortars, new start-ups and people who have done internet businesses and are sick and tired of not having their garage or basement.”

“We’re open to almost anything,” added Rhonda Howard, the Mall of Monroe’s property manager.

She said the mall is currently seeking an operator for a full-service salon, which is already fully outfitted with supplies, including chairs, capes and vacuums.

Several current mall tenants are investing in their mall stores, including local theater company Monroe Community Players.

“They have been investing in the production and rehearsal space,” Matune said.

So, has Phoenix Theatres.

“Phoenix is one of the most frequently visited theaters in the Detroit-metro area. They have a market area of 45 miles,” Matune said. “They are constantly investing in the property: changing seats, carpet. They are on the forefront of anything having to do with entertainment technology.”

Color Beauty Supplies also has grown.

“She’s expanded a couple times. The business was 1,000 fee, now it’s 8,000 feet,” Matune said.

Cafaro operates 12 malls in the country. Matune has been with the firm since 1987 and was part of the development of the Mall of Monroe, which opened in 1988.

“The first thing we had to do was knock on farmers’ doors to buy the property to put in Mall Road,” he recalled.

The longest-leasing Mall of Monroe tenant is Shoe Dept., which came to the mall in 1994. Bath & Body Works opened at the mall in 1997.

Mall trends

Matune has seen many trends in his years in retail. Right now, he said, apparel stores are waning in popularity nationwide.

“It’s tough times with retail. There’s not the emphasis on apparel anymore. A lot of apparel left town. There’s more emphasis on exercise, phones and food. If you go down Telegraph Road, it’s all restaurants,” Matune said.

There’s also a nationwide emphasis on businesses that offer experiences. In the Mall of Monroe, some examples are Planet Fitness, Dirty Birdie, Family and Friends Funland, Classic Pinball and Pillar Performance, which just added a youth hockey academy.

“We have a good mix of retail and experiential,” Matune said.

Despite the trends, Howard said Monroe County people seem to want some clothing stores.

“People said what’s missing in the mall are clothing and salon and nail places,” she said.

How many visit the Mall of Monroe?

The Mall of Monroe is well-visited.

Matune said the mall gets data from, which uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to tracks visitors and their trends.

“I was astounded (at the technology). We had 228,000 different people come to the mall for 1.3 million visits in 2022. They spend an average of 105 minutes at the mall,” Matune said.

The median visitor is 38 years old, according to The majority (52 percent) of visitors are female.

Howard said some results were surprising.

“They said a lot of traffic is after you close on Mondays, after 7 p.m.,” she said.

While the mall’s interior is closed then, businesses like Phoenix Theatres and Planet Fitness are still open. There also are mall walkers throughout the day.

Mall walking remains free, but enrollment has been required since 2005.

“When you exercise, your heart rate is elevated. If something were to happen, we know who to call,” Howard said.

She said the walkers are committed.

“Last year we had 154 enrolled,” Howard said. “Sometimes when school is closed, the mall walkers are here. It’s a good walking surface.”

Mall of Monroe’s stores

The Mall of Monroe’s current businesses are: Applebee’s (on mall complex property), Bath & Body Works, Brow Shapes, Champion Force, Color, Claw Kicker, CubeSmart, Disctopia, Domka Outdoors, Dirty Birdie (coming soon), Family & Friends Funland, Katalina’s Kitchen, Leviathan, MCF Marketpalce, Monroe City Church, Monroe Community Players, Phoenix Theatres, Pillar Athletic Performance, Planet Fitness, Quality Auto Parts, Ragnarok Motorworks, Ragnarok Outpost, Shoe Dept., Spencer’s, ULEKstore’s Classic Pinball and Arcade, Wu Ji Accupressure & Refloxology and Wonderworld Comics.

To learn more about the Mall of Monroe, call 734-242-9150 or visit and Facebook.

— Contact reporter Suzanne Nolan Wisler