Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, Kansas

photos by Mike Kalasnik kaz@deadanddyingretail.com
description by Nicholas Eckhart nicholas@deadanddyingretail.com

     The Great Mall of the Great Plains is a massive outlet mall at 20700 West 151st Street in Olathe, Kansas. When this mall opened in 1997 it had many well know anchor stores and plans for further expansion. This mall was built similar to some Mills Malls.

Here is a list of the original anchor stores

  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Dickinson Theatres
  • Dillard's Outlet
  • DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse)
  • Eddie Bauer Outlet
  • Foozles Bookstore
  • Group USA
  • Jeepers! Amusement Center
  • Linens N Things
  • Marshalls
  • Old Navy
  • Oshman's Sports
  • Saks Fifth Avenue (opened 2000)

     In 2002 the mall lost its Dillard's Outlet, Linens N Things, Oshman's Sports, and Saks Fifth Avenue stores. Later in 2002 the former Dillard's Outlet became VF (Vanity Fair) Outlet. Cosmic mini golf later opened in the former Oshman's Sports store, then relocated to the former Saks Fifth Avenue store, and finally relocated again to its current site in the former DSW store. In 2005 Steve & Barry's opened in the former Oshman's store and Marshalls relocated to a shopping center on the north side of Olathe. The Old Navy store also moved to a shopping center on the north side of town, but I am unsure when. In 2007 Jeepers! closed and later became Zonkers amusement center. In 2007 Famous labels also opened in the former Saks Fifth Avenue store, only to close in 2009. Steve & Barry's was another 2009 fatality.

     Currently only three original anchors survive (Burlington Coat Factory, Dickinson Theatres, and Group USA). The former Dillard's Outlet is now Treasure Hunt since VF Outlet closed in 2008. The Foozles Bookstore is now Book Warehouse. The former Jeepers! is still Zonkers. The former Linens N Things is currently Monkey Bizness. The former Old Navy is now Hibbett Sports. The former Marshalls, Oshman's / Steve & Barry's, and the Saks Fifth Avenue remain vacant. The Marketplace Food Court and the rest of the mall seem very isolated.


I am working on creating an interactive map, but for now here is a photo of the mall directory.


Picture of the mall directory


Exterior

The Group USA signage


The former Dillard's Outlet. This was later VF (Vanity Fair) Outlet and is now Treasure Hunt.


The Fashion entrance


The former Marshalls store


The Home & Hobby entrance


This was originally a Jeepers amusement center and is now Zonkers.


The Techtainment entrance. Somehow a Famous Labels sign managed to survive here.


Dickinson Theatres


Area of once planned expansion.




The former Oshman's and Steve & Barry's store.


The Sports & Adventure entrance


The former Saks Fifth Avenue and Famous Labels store


The Burlington Coat Factory

Interior


An anchor store was supposed to be built here, but one was never built.


Many abandoned stores in just this one hallway.


Looking towards the Home & Hobby entrance


The closed-up former Marshalls mall entrance



A hall without many shoppers


Another hall without many shoppers


The Marketplace Food Court


The Marketplace Food Court

Sweet!


Sorry, the gumball machine is out of order.


The Marketplace food court. Aeropostale is to the left.


The Dickinson Theatres mall entrance


ICING

A former Johnny Rocket's restaurant. The hallway that abruptly ends to the right  is where they planned to expand the mall.


The former Johnny Rocket's restaurant.


An odd pool with plastic fish floating in water


The Sports & Adventure entrance


The Steve & Barry's mall entrance


The interior of Steve & Barry's


A place where the paths cross (by the Sports & Adventure entrance)


The mall entrance for the former Saks Fifth Avenue and Famous Labels store.







For some reason I find the name "OK Fashions" funny.


The Burlington Coat Factory mall entrance


A empty inside corridor.


The Treasure Hunt Mall entrance. As mentioned above, this store was originally a Dillard's Outlet, then became a VF (Vanity Fair) Outlet.

13 comments:

  1. This mall really does look like a Mills Mall. Do you know why this mall is dying out after being in business for only 15 years? The Mills mall that is very similar in size and design in Katy Texas outside of Houston is booming despite being far away from the majority of the Houston population.

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  2. This was meant to complete with the Mills malls, yet, theres no Mills mall nearby. Even inside, its designed identical to one. They built this thinking the area would boom, and it never did. All the population is more north. Theres a few things around but its mainly a industrial area. The Toys R Us is on the mall property and its so awkward, just sitting there next to a empty field. The mall failed to attract people and didnt give many reasons for people to go south of Kansas City when they already had other choices. The mall isnt in disrepair, but it wasnt well thought out. I can see this mall being closed in 5 years.

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  3. That carpet design is trippy! But it doesn't look like a "Great Mall" to me. ;)

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  4. Aeropostale has now closed. Group USA has also moved out to Oak Park mall (yet another anchor lost at this mall)

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  5. I worked security at the Great Mall for a brief time in 2000. It used to be a booming place (especially on Saturdays and Sundays). Unfortunately, it appears Oak Park is the winner for shoppers in Johnson County. I agree with Mike, The Great Waste of Space will probably disappear over the next few years. Glimcher Properties made a huge mistake by selling this mall!

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  6. Seriously anonymous? "Great waste of space will probably disappear over the next few years " but you think "Glimcher made a huge mistake by selling it"? Yes, good business sense to hold onto a dying property...

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    Replies
    1. I think they meant "Glimcher Properties made a huge mistake by selling this mall" in a sarcastic way.

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  7. Part of the problem is that they billed this mall as an outlet mall when they first opened it. (And almost every store in it was an outlet store.) But the prices they charged for store rent was not in line with what outlets could afford to pay. So you wound up with some people not going simply because it was outlet stores and others not going because the outlets were forced to charge close to regular retail.

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  8. The mall suffered due to a poor choice of location and an economic downturn. It is in a lower socioeconomic corner of the county and wasn't able to attract the customer mix they needed to make it work. Now it is just sad and struggling.

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  9. Jesus. That many big tenants gone in only a year? Crazy stuff.

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  10. My grandmother lives in Olathe and I remember this mall when it first opened. We went back a few years later and I was excited to hit that awesome mall when my Aunt said "That mall is a bit of a dumb but we can go if you want." I didn't believe her until I saw all the empty stores. The first time I went (in 97/98) it was packed and the next it was pretty quiet with a lot of stores closed. I most recently went a year ago when she was in the hospital nearby and I would say it is about 1/3 full. Sad. There is another mall somewhere in that area that is abandoned as well but was turned into mostly office spaces. There were a couple of stores so it was really creepy to walk though, no music or people but kept in good repair. I

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  11. The only reason People go to this Place is for Zonkers Cosmic Golf & Monkey Bizness. But there are a Few stores that Is enjoyable.

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  12. I am new to the area and was told about this place. It is eerie! I love it for the same reason people like us like dead malls, and am glad that it is still around for a bit (compared to Metro North, which I believe finally closed on April 15th). Not having been to a Mills Mall, the style of all the furniture and signing is crazy -- all turquoise and purple and tubular. Very "Memphis." I can say that if you like books, the guy at the back of Moe's has a ton of finds for very cheap, and he is a nice guy.

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