Friday, August 26, 2011

Santana Row, A Shopping Adventure

Santana Row in San Jose is one of two lifestyle shopping centers in the Bay Area. When first conceived, lifestyle centers were billed as the "new" mall. Open air and with a street open to vehicular traffic. Since they were mixed-use, apartments and hotels could be build in the property, creating an instant urban village.

While lifestyle centers across the U.S. have been faring poorly, Santana Row in San Jose is an exception. Successful, popular, and nary a hint of the economic conditions that have affected so many families. Santana Row, in many ways, is reminiscent of a Main Street in Disneyland. Everything perfected down to the last detail. The shopping center is private, so photography is forbidden, among other things (loitering, panhandling, etc.). It's like going to the city without being reminded of the decay of urban society. Escapism. Yeah, it works.
CineArts Theater
So many cities have tried to emulate the success of Santana Row. The City of Fresno has looked at Santana Row as a model for reviving Fulton Mall, long since downtrodden. However, simply plowing a street down the center does not make for a successful shopping center. Santana Row has desirable stores as well as an affluent population base. These are just a few of the essential ingredients needed. Nevertheless as a consumer, it's a great place to hang out and have dinner.

Please see my updated review of Santana Row.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Napa Premium Outlets - Bargains Galore

Alright, I admit it. I enjoy the factory outlet malls. I know this is a break with my keen interest in traditional shopping malls, but who can resist a bargain?

For years I'd go to an outlet mall and buy everything in sight. Later, I'd suffer from buyer's remorse due to the crappy seconds or the new understanding of why the merchandise was relegated to outlet status. Now I've learned to try everything on and if the first one doesn't fit, try a second one. Especially shoes. Stores like The Gap have even created stores exclusively for outlet malls. The clothes aren't seconds, but lower priced (and one could argue, quality). Nevertheless, you still feel like you are getting some great deals. By the crowds, I would say others agree.

I recently went to Napa Premium Outlets, the first time in many years. This easily is my favorite due to its great selection of stores and smaller size. I spent 3 hours there and visited about 25% of the stores, purchasing something at each one. Everything fit, everything looks good. I'm ready for fall.

The food selection at Napa Outlets was pretty low. Only three eateries this time (with another coming soon). However, come on, it's Napa! You are a stone's throw to some world-class restaurants. Make it a day.

Check out my updated review of Napa Premium Outlets.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top 10 Largest JC Penney Stores in Northern California and Reno

Find the top 10 largest JC Penney stores, by square footage, in Northern California and Reno.

1. 266,000 sq. ft. - Sunvalley Shopping Center, Concord, CA (largest in California, third largest in chain [after Plaza Las Americas in San Juan, PR, and Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL]).

2. 235,000 sq. ft. - Eastridge, San Jose, CA.

3. 224,000 sq. ft. - Stoneridge Shopping Center, Pleasanton, CA.

4. 223,000 sq. ft. - Shops at Tanforan, San Bruno, CA.

5. 216,000 sq. ft. - Fashion Fair, Fresno, CA.

6. 213,000 sq. ft. - Vallco Shopping Mall, Cupertino, CA.

7. 211,000 sq. ft. - Meadowood Mall, Reno, NV.

8. 201,000 sq. ft. - Coddingtown Mall, Santa Rosa, CA.

9. 200,000 sq. ft. - Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights, CA.

10. 199,000 sq. ft. - Hilltop Mall, Richmond, CA.

Source: JC Penney Investor Fact Book 2010.

Note: When comparing JC Penney-published square footage to mall-published square footage, discrepancies occurred in every instance.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Bullock's North Receipt - 1985

Part of being a mall geek is doing strange things in order to obtain a piece of memorabilia. In 1985, my family went to San Mateo Fashion Island. Of course, we had to take a look at that great building that housed Bullock's. The tent design was a huge draw as a kid. Like, some sort of carnival on the side of the freeway. Being obssessed with the Bullock's logo, I decided I needed a bag. So, I bought the cheapest thing I could find, a greeting card. My hands, going numb because it was winter and the tent didn't provide any insulation, pulled out a dollar and the rest is history. This is a scan of the back of the Bullock's receipt. It lists the store locations with the San Mateo Fashion Island mall listed last.

In 1986, the Bullock's at San Mateo Fashion Island mall closed forever. It was the last of the northern California stores of the chain.

Bullock's of Los Angeles made their Bay Area debut in 1972 with a store at the tony Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Additional stores followed at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, Vallco Fashion Park in Cupertino, Stonestown in San Francisco, Oakridge Mall in San Jose, and their last Bay Area store at San Mateo Fashion Island. In 1983, Bullock's exited the Bay Area market with Nordstrom purchasing most of their locations. Although the reason why Bullock's left this store open for an additional 3 years wasn't clear. Some speculate it was due to them needing to keep a presence in Northern California for credit card holders. Others speculate it was the Hahn Company (owners of San Mateo Fashion Island) forcing them to keep the store open for 5 years.

The Bullock's in Southern California were eventually purchased by the parent of Macy's and ultimately assimilated into Macy's. Bullock's is just a retail memory.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Emporium-Capwell Valley Fair Directory 1986

Back in the day, department stores used to print store directories so you could easily find the department you wanted. This scan is from Emporium-Capwell at the Valley Fair mall, shortly after the rebuilt mall opened in 1986.

Among the interesting departments, you'll find not one, but two gift wrap stations. Gift wrapping at departments stores is now extinct. You might get lucky if you can get a box at the holidays, but certainly not have someone wrap the gift for you. Now that's service.

In 1986, department stores like Emporium-Capwell and Macy's were also in the business of selling electronics and TVs. Least until the Good Guys and Circuit City came on the scene. Interestingly enough, those stores are also gone.

Extinct services at department stores included watch repair, culinary advising, flower arranging, and travel agents. We all could use a little culinary advisement now and then.

Who remembers buying tickets for the Thompson Twins concert at the Emporium? It was a Ticketron outlet, too. Department stores sure have changed.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Neiman Marcus Poised to Open in Walnut Creek in 2012

The swanky new Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek is set to open on March 8, 2012.

The addition of Neiman Marcus to Broadway Plaza is considered the pièce de résistance of the shopping center and downtown Walnut Creek. The site originally hosted JC Penney, giving way to McCaulou's, and then David M. Brian.

Neiman Marcus has selected four charities to benefit from its grand opening gala:
  • Diablo Regional Arts Association - An organization that supports artistic enrichment and the arts at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek.
  • Junior League of Oakland-East Bay - An organization of women who promote volunteerism and improving communities.
  • Monument Crisis Center - A food pantry that helps low-income residents and at-risk families.
  • Taylor Family Foundation - An organization that helps children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities, and at-risk youth.
Nearby Nordstrom has already geared up for the opening by renovating its own tony store, operating since 1984.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Foothill Square Finds Fate By Flattening

One of only two mall's left in Oakland, Foothill Square between MacArthur and Foothill Boulevard is destined to be flattened by wrecking ball this year.

Foothill Square utilized the latest in shopping center design: a pedestrian mall down the center. Designed by world-famous Welton Becket & Associates (Ground Breaking Tomorrow, 1961), designers of the wildly successful Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, Foothill Square was conceived on a smaller scale. Instead of a Macy's or Capwell's anchor store, Foothill Square relied on the stalwart of community shopping centers: Lucky Stores, Thrifty Drug Store, and an S. S. Kresge Co. five-and-dime store (Ground Breaking Tomorrow). The pedestrian mall landscaping was designed by another world-famous landscape architect: Lawrence Halprin & Associates (Ground Breaking Tomorrow). These two amazing architects have been revered for their ingenuity and creativity, but Foothill Square has been a mostly forgotten creation.

Considered an eyesore by its neighbors, Foothill Square has not been updated since opening in 1962. The graceful sign adorning the MacArthur Freeway is suffering from rust and neglect. However, this year, the shopping center is being redeveloped. The front of the mall is to be demolished, new pads constructed, and the rear of the mall is to be given a new facade. Although the Foothill Square Redevelopment project promises to revitalize a once proud shopping center, one can be saddened by the loss of a Welton Becket design.

The demolition of Foothill Square comes on the heels of another recent Oakland mall demolition, MacArthur/Broadway Center (aka, M/B "Center"). Oakland will currently be host to only one remaining mall, Eastmont Town Center. Although, Eastmont Town Center is considered a mixed-use center and not devoted entirely to fashion-oriented shopping. Oakland could be the only city of its size without a significant regional or superregional shopping center.

Goodbye Foothill Square.

"Ground Breaking Tomorrow." Oakland Tribune. Nov. 7, 1961. p. 12-D. Retrieved July 18, 2011 from online database.

Monday, July 11, 2011

South Shore Center is Back

On Friday, Alameda Towne Centre announced on Facebook that it has changed its name back to the familiar South Shore Center.

The renaming of South Shore Center to Alameda Towne Centre by the mall's former owners, Harsh Investment Properties, never gained acceptable by Alamedans. This was evident in the purposeful mispronunciation of the mall name (phonetically), "Alameda Townee Centray." When the mall recently sold to Jamestown, the name regression idea resurfaced in commentaries and local opinion columns.

Apparently, Jamestown agreed and the mall has been officially renamed Alameda South Shore Center. Jamestown next task is to replace the signage for an undisclosed cost.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Gray Reid's - Nevada's Fine Store

A vintage newspaper advertisement from the Reno Evening Gazette announcing the opening of Gray Reid's department store in Carson City.

Anchoring the new 31-store enclosed Carson Mall, Gray Reid's was a Reno-based department store founded by Joseph H. Gray and Hosea E. Reid in the early 1900s (O'Driscoll, 2006). Gray Reid's began in downtown Reno, expanded to Carson City, then closed its downtown location in favor of Reno Town Mall (O'Driscoll, 2006). Gray Reid's lasted until 1986 when the chain ceased operations (O'Driscoll, 2006).

The old Gray Reid's in Carson City recently housed the Fresno-based Gottschalk's until that department store folded. The building current is empty.

Enjoy vintage Gray Reid's!

View Larger Map

O'Driscoll, B. (2006, March 11). From Gray Reid's to the Summit Sierra: 100 years of department stores in Reno. Reno Gazette-Journal.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Solano Mall Gets Sassier Before It's Sold

Westfield Solano Mall recently celebrated the grand opening of a food court near JC Penney on the upper level. Westfield has been gradually renovating the 30-year old shopping center. Over the past few years, new flooring has been installed, railings were replaced, and new sky bridges were added. Finally, the mall seems comparable to other Westfield malls in the region.

Boasting 169 retailers, Solano Mall opened in 1981. The mall was attached to an existing JC Penney that opened 9 years earlier. Emporium-Capwell joined the mall in 1983 and Macy's in 1985. When Emporium-Capwell closed in 1996, Sears moved from its original location to the old Emporium-Capwell building. The old Sears building was renovated into Edwards Cinema and Best Buy.

An interesting feature in Solano Mall is the skylights. Similar to Taubman malls, artificial lighting in Solano Mall emanates from lighting groups set in skylights. Shoppers are given the impression that it's daylight outside, even though the sun has long gone. Originally, these triangular lighting groups had colored panels in them.

Although Westfield has been upgrading the mall for years, it recently decided to put Solano Mall, as well as Sacramento's Downtown Plaza, on the market.

Read my review of Westfield Solano Mall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Top 10 Largest Macy's Stores in Northern California and Reno

Find the top 10 largest Macy's stores, by square footage, in Northern California and Reno. Locations with two stores in a single mall are combined as one.

1. 1,173,000 sq. ft. - Union Square, San Francisco (2 locations: 925,000 & 248,000 sq. ft.)
2. 712,000 sq. ft. - Westfield Valley Fair, San Jose (2 locations: 396,000 & 316,000 sq. ft.)
3. 544,000 sq. ft. - Westfield Downtown Plaza, Sacramento (2 locations: 343,000 & 201,000 sq. ft.)
4. 389,000 sq. ft. - Sunvalley Shopping Center, Concord (2 locations, 206,000 & 183,000 sq. ft.)
5. 371,000 sq. ft. - Stoneridge Shopping Center, Pleasanton (2 locations, 197,000 & 174,000 sq. ft.)
6. 338,000 sq. ft. - Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights (2 locations: 178,000 & 160,000 sq. ft.)
7. 319,000 sq. ft. - Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto (2 locations: 223,000 & 96,000 sq. ft.)
8. 289,000 sq. ft. - Meadowood Mall, Reno (2 locations: 167,000 & 102,000 sq. ft.)
9. 280,000 sq. ft. - Stonestown Galleria, San Francisco
10. 266,000 sq. ft. - Northgate Mall, San Rafael


Source: Macy's Inc. Fact Book 2011.
Note: When comparing Macy's-published square footage to mall-published square footage, discrepancies occurred in every instance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grand Opening of Capwell's - Fremont Fashion Center - 1968

Capwell's celebrated its grand opening on February 22, 1968 at the Fremont Fashion Center.

Part of the sprawling Fremont Meadows development, Fremont Fashion Center was a small mall just a few blocks down Mowry Avenue from the larger Fremont Hub shopping center.

This Capwell's building was designed by Welton Becket & Associates. A sister store exists at the Almaden Fashion Plaza in San Jose, which opened as the Emporium about the same time.

After Capwell's opened a new store at NewPark Mall in Newark, it converted this store to a clearance center. In 1992, the building was sold to Washington Hospital for an expansion project. Currently, it operates as Washington Hospital.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Park Lane Mall - Reno - 1967

Park Lane Mall, formerly Park Lane Centre, in Reno Nevada celebrated its Phase II grand opening in March 1967 (Nevada State Journal, 1967). Phase I was the opening of the Sears department store in September 1965 (Nevada State Journal, 1967). Two more phases, including the addition of the Weinstocks-Hale department store had yet to be completed (Nevada State Journal, 1967).

This mall map from the Nevada State Journal newpaper on March 9, 1967, displays the original layout and stores. The caption under the mall map reads “Parking for 3000 cars. When completed Park Lane will have over 50 fine stores to serve you.”

Park Lane Centre was Reno’s first regional shopping mall, luring Sears from its original downtown Reno location.

Sadly, Park Lane is no more. Changing consumer patterns, loss of anchor stores, and the rising popularity of Meadowood Mall down the street took its toll.



Nevada State Journal. (1967, March 9). Interesting Facts About Park Lane. Nevada State Journal, p. 11A. Retrieved June 14, 2011, from Web site:

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Capwell's Story - H. C. Capwell Department Stores

The story of the H. C. Capwell Company is told in this interesting newspaper article from 1968. The article was part of a multi-page spread in the Fremont Argus newspaper commemorating the opening of the Capwell's in the Fremont Fashion Center.

The Capwell's name was used exclusively for stores located in the San Francisco East Bay until 1980 when Capwell's parent corporation, Carter Hawley Hale Stores, opened an "Emporium-Capwell" at Pleasanton's Stoneridge Mall. West Bay residents continued to call it "The Emporium" while East Bay residents called it "Capwell's."


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bay Fair Shopping Center Grand Opening Phase II - 1957

November 6, 1957 marked the grand opening of phase II of the Bay Fair Regional Shopping Center (aka, Bayfair Mall or Bayfair Center). Phase I was the opening of Macy's on August 8, 1957.

Designed by Victor Gruen & Associates, Phase II was a two-story building that was accessible from the parking lots without requiring shoppers to change levels. Level 1, called the "Mall Level," was accessible from the lower parking lots in the front. Level 2, called the "Terrace Level," was accessible from the upper level parking lots in the back. It was a unique concept at the time to grant shoppers access to multiple levels through parking lots situated at different planes.

The picture at the top of the newspaper page shows the Phase II building, which contained 22 inline shops. Looking at Bayfair Center now, it's difficult to imagine what it was like. Although, it does explain the unusual layout of the current second level of the mall, which was the result of a later enclosure and addition of Montgomery Ward. Prior to demolition, Montgomery Ward's mall access was exclusively from the second level. When the site was rebuilt for Target, the developer choose a lower footprint for the store and mall access to the first level, only (albeit, poorly thought-out access). The Mall Level shops were later replaced by a secluded food court, now renovated and open to the rest of the mall.

Read through the entire newspaper page; it's devoted entirely to the Bay Fair grand opening.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center - Oakland - 1965

One of three enclosed shopping malls in Oakland, California, this advertisement from the Oakland Tribune announces the grand opening of the MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center on September 9, 1965.

"A whole century ahead of its time... The most fantastic one-stop shopping and dining extravaganza in the entire universe!" proclaims the advertisement. The center is billed as "completely space-age in concept and philosophy."

Features included the following:
* A space ramp, an escalator for shopping carts. A concept employed today by multi-level Target stores and the IKEA in East Palo Alto.
* An Astro-Bus, a taxi service to shuttle shoppers from the mall entrance to their cars.
* Space-Port Parking... 1,100 cars fitting comfortably on the roof of the center.

MacArthur/Broadway Shopping Center, commonly called M/B Center, was a mall without a conventional department store anchor (although Woolworth's anchored the mall). After years of decline, the center was demolished in 2009. A new Kaiser Permanente hospital is rising in its place.

Visitors may fondly remember The Hamlet, essentially an early food court concept.


Current aerial

View Larger Map
The Google Street View still shows the center pre-demolition. Mall entrances had been sealed by then.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bay Fair Shopping Center, San Leandro - Macy's Grand Opening 1957

A vintage ad for the grand opening of the Macy's department store at San Leandro's Bay Fair Shopping Center (now known as Bayfair Center). The late 50s saw an explosion of regional shopping centers in the suburban Bay Area. Developed by a joint venture of Macy's California and The Capital Company, Bay Fair was one of the two "fair" shopping centers, the other being Valley Fair in San Jose. Both fairs were designed by Victor Gruen.

Bay Fair Shopping Center opened in phases. First phase was the opening of Macy's on August 8, 1957. This ad from The Daily Review newspaper (Hayward, CA) is dated August 7, 1957. Regrettably, the Bay Fair logo is poorly contrasted to be seen. However, the ad shows the original layout of Bay Fair. The mall was two levels and situated on two planes: the lower "Mall Level" and upper "Terrace Level." An original concept at the time, visitors could park on the level they desired and never had to climb stairs.

The caption on the right side reads:
"Bay fair regional shopping center welcomes Macy's. OPEN THURSDAY... the first of 80 retail stores to open at Bay Fair Regional Shopping center!


... the first phase in the completion of our $25,000,000 center. Macy's will serve as the focal point in this gigantic shopping facility, providing one-stop shopping conveniences for the entire East Bay Area.

For convenient approach to Bay Fair, clip out this map for ready reference. Note directions in black bars for easy access from freeways. From Foothill Boulevard turn west on 150th Avenue, then south to East 14th Street. Enter parking areas from either East 14th Street or Hesperian Boulevard."

The lower left caption reads:
"FREE PARKING FOR 15,000 CARS DAILY! STAGE 1... MACY'S OPENING, the first big step forward in the construction progress of Bay Fair, a focal point for a festival of fun and savings for the entire family! STAGE 2... 22 MORE STORES TO OPEN IN OCTOBER which will be located in a two-level building adjacent to the MACY'S building, accessible from both the mall and terrace parking areas. STAGE 3... 57 ADDITIONAL STORES are now planning their openings in the near future!"


Monday, May 23, 2011

Blackhawk Plaza Danville Directory

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A scan of an updated mall directory at Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, California.
Blackhawk Plaza has a colorful history. Without getting into semantics, the mall still is far from a freeway, suffers from a high turnover of stores, and just isn't the fashion destination one might expect.

Yes, I can find a few reasons to visit on occasion. The Blackhawk Museum is a wonderful place to visit, even if you don't like cars. Draeger's is a fantastic grocery store and has a wonderful home furnishings department. The cinema is great, too.

The mall grounds are spectacular, almost Disney-esque. However, as a regional destination, this place isn't living up to the hype. Two words: Walnut Creek.


Visit the current Website.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vallco Shopping Mall Construction 2011

The mysterious lower level at Vallco Shopping Mall (previously, Cupertino Square, previously Vallco Fashion Park) is, under construction.

After discovering the walls around the portal to the lower level removed, I raced downstairs and found an open door. These exclusive photos show the lower level under construction. This view is from the cinema towards Macy's.

Vallco mall directories have long stated "under construction" for the lower level, which made its debut the 80s, then disappeared in the 00s.

Remark from a curious bystander: "what are they going to fill it with?" Vallco, considered a "dead mall," is suffering from low occupancy. Good question.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vintage Postcards: Seabiscuit at Tanforan Park Mall in San Bruno

A vintage postcard from the early 70s showing the statue of Seabiscuit in Tanforan Park Shopping Center in San Bruno.

The back side of the postcard reads: "This life size statue of Seabiscuit is located in one of the many Malls of Tanforan Park to commemorate the historic race track site the Center now occupies. Where former champions once raced, shoppers now enjoy the San Francisco Peninsula's most beautiful enclosed Mall." Excuse the unusual capitalization.

A lone woman appears fixated on the statue. A paid model?

Seabiscuit still stands today outside the mall, across from Barnes & Noble on the El Camino side.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Hillsdale Mall San Mateo Directory

View Larger Map
A scan of the most recent Hillsdale Mall directory. Of interest is the old Mervyn's space. The lower level map, not at the same scale as the upper level map, shows the Mervyn's space divided into 3 inline stores, with the mall making a 45 degree turn to the east parking. The upper level map still shows an empty space. I didn't see any signs announcing stores coming to these spots, so we'll have to wait and see.

Mervyn's may not have been a big draw. Usually when a department store leaves a mall, the corridor leading to it also begins to die. However, no blatant occupancy issues at Hillsdale Mall. It's still as popular as ever.

I'm looking forward to see what moves in.


Read my guide to Hillsdale Mall

Visit the current Website.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Liberty House and Rhodes Join Forces 1972

In my perusing to find information on Liberty House, I stumbled across this brilliant ad for calculators in 1972.

Offered at the lowest price they've ever had, a bulking monster of a calculator is priced at an unbelievable low $68.99!

The Summit K-116 "pocket calculator" (lower right corner) is offered at $89.99. It includes a fancy leather case. This calculator was LED... and I know because we owned this model. It broke, but I had no idea my parents used an entire paycheck to buy it.

Partially-related, an ad in the upper right corner announced the joining of forces of Liberty House and Rhodes Stores. Both stores were owned by Amfac and it seemed a logical combination. However, disparities existed between the Liberty House and Rhodes Stores locations, typically in store size. Liberty House was typically much larger and preferred mall locations. Rhodes had off-mall locations and typically smaller footprints, such as Concord and Dublin. Nevertheless, the union lasted until Liberty House left the mainland altogether.


Monday, May 09, 2011

Liberty House Southland Mall Grand Opening 1972

A vintage advertisement from The Daily Review newspaper on July 28, 1972, celebrating the grand opening of Liberty House at Southland Mall in Hayward.

Although July 30, 1972 was the official grand opening date of Liberty House at Southland Mall, the store actually opened its doors to the public at noon July 2, 1972 (Liberty House Grand Opening Set, 1972).

The Southland Mall location was Liberty House's third location. The Eastridge Mall store had opened a year earlier in 1971 and the City of Paris by Liberty House opened between the Eastridge and Southland openings. A fifth location, Sunrise Mall, would open later in 1972.

Liberty House Grand Opening Set. (1972, June 30). Daily Review. Retrieved May 09, 2011 from

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Macy's Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights

The Macy's at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights is an architectural copy of the Macy's store at Southland Mall in Hayward. Both were former Liberty House stores.

The Sunrise Mall location opened October 18, 1972 and was Liberty House's fifth Northern California store (S.F. Liberty House, 1972). Preceded by a Liberty House at Eastridge Mall in San Jose, City of Paris by Liberty House in San Francisco Union Square, and City of Paris Liberty House at Stonestown Mall in San Francisco.

Although the Liberty House locations at Southland and Eastridge both were filled by Emporium-Capwell stores after the demise of Liberty House in 1984, Sunrise Mall already had a Weinstock's. The store sat empty until Macy's moved from its Birdcage Walk location across the street.

** Corrected, Macy's moved its womens' departments from Birdcage, leaving the men's and furnishings at Birdcage until Macy's took over the Weinstock's location at Sunrise Mall. Who drove to the wrong Macy's at least once?

Old photos can be found at the Department Store Museum blog.


S.F. Liberty House. (1972, October 5). Hayward Daily Review. Retrieved May 11, 2011 from

Monday, May 02, 2011

Pier 39, San Francisco, California

A stunningly clear and warm day in San Francisco, pre-tourist season, is captured in this photo of Pier 39. This positively was the best day for locals to be at Fisherman's Wharf before the crowds and fog roll in.

As usual, Pier 39 still has a great collection of unique stores with San Francisco memorability or other wares that can be only found here (such as, a left-handed goods store).

Shopping at Pier 39 is fully sensory. The barking of sea lions for your ears, the fresh salted air for your nose, and beautiful bay views for your eyes.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Macy's, Southland Mall, Hayward

A picture of Macy's at Southland Mall in Hayward, California. Macy's inherited this store when Federated Department Stores (Macy's parent) acquired Broadway Stores (parent of Emporium-Capwell) in 1995.

Designed by architect Avner Naggar, construction on this store started September 22, 1970 (Mills, 1970). The store opened to the public on July 30, 1972. A similar store open later that year at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights. Both stores were preceded by another Avner Naggar design in 1971 at Eastridge Mall in San Jose (Mills), which was demolished in 2005.

Liberty House of Hawaii entered the California market with the opening of the Eastridge Mall store August 1, 1971 (Rhodes Western Names New Head, 1971). Southland followed, then Sunrise, both in 1972.

Although the sky was gray, the winter sky provided a leafless opportunity for this photo.

Mills, Sue. (1970, August 21). $7 Million Store for Southland. Daily Review. Retrieved May 03, 2011, from

Rhodes Western Names New Head. (1971, July 27). Daily Review. Retrieved May 02, 2011 from

Support Malls Across America by RUMUR

Malls Across America is a project by RUMUR, a multimedia production studio based in Brooklyn. Other mall sites have advertised this project and I'm also lending my support.

RUMUR is looking for your support to publish a book containing a collection of photographs from American malls. Take a look at the video below and view their Web site.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Neiman Marcus Construction at Broadway Plaza Walnut Creek

Some photos from my March 2011 trip to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek to check the progress of the Neiman Marcus construction.

The first photo shows the cement shell with classic Neiman Marcus nameplate imprinted into the concrete. Taken from Pottery Barn across the street.

The second photo is the artist's rendering on a tarp. This is the view from California Cafe, looking towards Pottery Barn.

The third photo is a view of the construction from the parking garage behind Macy's Men. Neiman Marcus occupies the corner once housing David M Brian (now in a new location).

The fourth photo is the mall directory, complete with Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus plans to open in Spring 2012. Just missing the holiday season.



Read my review of Broadway Plaza.

See the current aerial.