Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Solano Mall Redux - Vintage Directory

Okay, back by popular demand. Here is a vintage mall directory, probably 1985, of Solano Mall in Fairfield.

The directory shows Sears in its original location and the original configuration of the mall around Sears. That entrance was re-constructed when Sears moved to the space formerly occupied by Emporim-Capwell, and Edwards Cinema joined the mall.

Enjoy the vintage list of stores, such as Chess King and Chick-Fil-A.

Does anyone know why the mall appears to have expected Macy's to build a wider store? I know it's usual for department stores to secure additional area for expansion, but I'm not sure if it applies here.

Also, from the aerial, it looks like the mall section around Macy's and Edwards Cinema is different from the rest of the mall. In fact, the directory shows corridors at the point the building changes shape (such as, becoming narrower). Was that an addition?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vintage Postcards - Solano Mall

This postcard shows Solano Mall, now Westfield Solano, probably about the year of opening in 1981. The mall originally had 3 anchors, JC Penney, Mervyn's,and Sears. In subsequent years, Macy's and Emporium-Capwell joined the mall. When Macy's bought Emporium-Capwell, instead of converting it to a Macy's Mens Store, like many other locations, they simply shuttered the store. Later, Sears moved from one end of the mall to the space formerly occupied by Emporium-Capwell. The old Sears location was replaced by Best Buy on the lower level of the mall, and Edwards Cinema on the upper level. The theater was one of the first new cinemas to debut in a mall in a long time. By this time, most malls had abandoned the entertainment concept, instead focusing on fashion retailers. Since the Macy's purchase of Emporium started the decline of fashion-oriented anchor stores, Solano Mall was taking a risk with a theater. Since that time, a cinema has almost become the preferred anchor in new shopping centers (mostly, lifestyle centers). Considering the perceived popularity of the Edwards Cinema, clearly it has paid off for Solano Mall.

Since this postcard was taken, Westfied bought the mall and made some minor renovations. Notably, the hand railings were painted a neutral color, and the triangular light covers in the ceiling were changed to white. The floor and ceiling colors still are white, which seems to have a longer appeal than some of the more colorful malls in the Bay Area region.

The back of the postcard reads "Solano Mall - Fairfield, California. Showing unique style and skylights, to serve an approximate population of 90,000."

Incidentally, the triangular lighting in the ceiling isn't a skylight at all, just a bank of artificial lighting. However, there is a thin strip of real skylights running the length of the mall, also encircling the triangular "skylights."

Please share your memories of Solano Mall here.


See the current aerial.

Visit my review of Solano Mall.