|WKSR: Archived News
Columbia Mall Making Changes
Posted on January 07, 2013
The Columbia Mall has seen its ups and downs with retail success, but a new concept for the shopping center may spur some business growth, according to the property owner.
John Gibson, Hull Storey Gibson Companies chief operating officer, is a partner in the company that owns the Columbia Mall. The group acquired the property, then known as Shadybrook Mall in May 2004.
Aside from the name change, HSG upgraded the building with new entrance features and opened Ponderosa Steakhouse. Gibson said his company invested “a lot” of money, but he would not disclose the exact amount.
In 2004, Peebles, J.C. Penney, Sears and Goody’s were anchor stores at the mall.
“Frankly, we were relatively successful for a number of years, but I think that the real death nail was the decline in the competitiveness of Sears as a viable department store,” Gibson said.
Sears’ sales decline was not unique to Columbia, but followed a national trend for the retail chain. Soon after, Peebles also began to decline, Gibson added.
“I think that the failure in Columbia is not reflective of the community. I do not think it is reflective of the failure of the enclosed mall concept,” he said. “I think it is a failure to get all the right anchor tenants together in the same space at the same time.”
The mall is currently home to J.C. Penney and Goody’s, but the stores are not generating enough volume to create a successful mall, Gibson said.
Gibson said the Columbia Mall will be converted into what he calls a “power center.” This conversion involves taking the current tenants and moving them so entrances are on the outside of the mall creating something similar to a strip mall.