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


Virtual Golf Business Coming to the Mall Of Monroe

Virtual golf business Dirty Birdie coming to Mall of Monroe

Suzanne Nolan Wisler

The Monroe News  February 5, 2024


MONROE — A virtual, indoor golf business is coming soon to the Mall of Monroe, 2121 N. Monroe St.Dirty Birdie, which also will offer axe throwing and a full bar and restaurant, is expected to open in mid-April.“We’re so excited,” said Rhonda Howard, Mall of Monroe’s property manager.

Lifelong Monroe County residents Tim and Angie Clark and their son, Ben, will operate the business. Tim graduated from Mason High School, Erie. Angie is a Jefferson graduate, and Ben graduated from Monroe High School.

The 6,500-square-foot business in under construction in the former Finish Line and Vanity stores.

“This space is a great spot,” Tim said. “We’re so excited for this.”

Ben became interested in virtual golf after visiting a friend’s indoor golf simulator.

“He said, ‘Dad, let’s get virtual golf in the barn,'” Tim of Ida said. “We did some research and found the best one: Trackman. We immediately had the opportunity to bring it here.”

Tim said there are virtual golf businesses in the Ann Arbor and Toledo areas, but Dirty Birdie is the first of its kind in Monroe County.

Dirty Birdie will offer six bays for golf, five bays for axe throwing, 18 TVs, golf lessons and leagues, a full service bar and a restaurant.

The Mall of Monroe currently has only one other food establishment: Katalina’s Kitchen in the former Taco Bell site. It offers Mexican foods, such as tamales, tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas.

Tino Amaya from Monroe’s Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill is consulting on Dirty Birdie’s menu.He describes the menu as “modern American.”

“We’re bringing together a lot of flavors,” Amaya said. “Monroe is truly a melting pot.”

Among the offerings will be gourmet pizza, appetizers and seasonally inspired sandwiches.

Dirty Birdie isn’t the only business serving alcohol at the Mall of Monroe.

“Phoenix Theatres has a tavern license. They sell beer and wine,” said Timothy Matune, senior vice president of asset redevelopment for Cafaro, the company that manages the Mall of Monroe.

Dirty Birdie is for people of all ages.

“If you can pick up clubs, you can play digital golf,” Tim said.

Golf clubs can be rented on-site.

The Clarks don’t know yet how many people their business will employ. Tim plans to fill some vacancies through Aggressive Hiring of Frenchtown Township, his staffing agency.

Dirty Birdie’s hours are tentatively set for 9 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, visit and Facebook.

— Contact reporter Suzanne Nolan Wisler at




New stores coming soon to Mall Of Monroe

New stores coming soon to Mall of Monroe

Suzanne Nolan Wisler

The Monroe News     March 9, 2023

Five new stores are coming soon to the Mall of Monroe.

“Approximately 70% of stores (on a square footage basis) are occupied or in construction for future openings. Discussions are ongoing for future new tenants,” said Tim Matune, senior vice president for asset redevelopment for The Cafaro Co. of Niles, Ohio. “The future is bright for The Mall of Monroe.”

Stores opening soon are:

  • Ragnarok Supply and Motorworks, which is expected to open in the summer or fall.

The business will offer more than 51,000 square feet of high-end hunting, fishing and camping equipment with firearms, Matune said. “Plus, the sale and service of ATVs and dirt bikes with a four-bay facility for the installation of Line-X truck accessories.”

  • CubeSmartis planned for the summer or fall.

CubeSmart will offer 78,826 square feet of indoor, climate-controlled storage with a retail store for the sale of storage and moving supplies, Matune said.

  • Castaway Eats and Treats, a fast service food court tenant, will open in about two months and will sell sandwiches, subs, paninis, pizza, barbecued foods, pretzels, ice cream, cookies and snacks.
  • Disctopia, planned to open April 1, will sell records, anime, videos, video games and all other types of media.
  • The Mystery Shop, coming in May, will feature hand-made, artisan-quality, home décor-related antiques and locally made food products.

Several stores recently opened at the Mall of Monroe:

  • Domka Outdoors: A 57,000 square-foot business featuring firearms, ammunition, archery bows, crossbows, fishing equipment and tackle, professional repair and design services, and the presentation of leagues, competitions, seminars and birthday parties.
  • MCF Market: Goods from local artisans and vintage collectors.
  • Your PC Doctor, Electronics and More: New consumer electronic items, such as computers, gaming items and equipment, car audio equipment, air conditioners, and computer repair and service.
  • Katalina’s Kitchen: Operated by the Ayala family, the business is a fast service food court selling authentic Mexican food.
  • Monroe Community Players: Newly designed and constructed studio theater for presenting plays and performances.
  • Wonderworld Comics: Sale and exchange of comic books, toys, games, sports cards, and Japanese anime and manga.
  • Pinball and Classic Arcade: New and classic style-pinball machines and arcade games for players of all ages for recreation and tournament play.

Other Mall of Monroe businesses are: Phoenix Theatres, Bath & Body Works, Planet Fitness, Shoe Department, Pillar Performance (featuring high-intensity cross-fit and athletic performance training including hockey), Spencer’s, Color Beauty Supply, Claw Kicker, Wu Ji Acupressure, Champion Force Cheerleading and Tumbling, Custom Designed Clothing by Amu & Ani, Brow Shapes, and Family and Friends Funland.

Also open at the Mall of Monroe are: Leviathan Offices, the Humane Society of Monroe County and Monroe City Church.

Space remains available.

“Unlike many other malls that closed in similar sized markets, The Mall of Monroe survived the retail apocalypse, the demise of many department stores and COVID,” Matune said. “Our on-site staff maintains the property and provides security according to the highest standards in the business. Should anyone wish to open a hair care salon, a move-in quality, fully outfitted salon is available. The mall also has 68 acres of undeveloped property for development for commercial, housing, institutional, etc.”

The Cafaro Co. is the parent organization of the Frenchtown Square Partnership. In 1987, Cafaro built The Mall of Monroe (formerly Frenchtown Square Mall) and has operated the property ever since. The Mall of Monroe is at 2121 N. Monroe St.