Saturday, August 23, 2008

Westfair Mall West Bend Wi.

I don't really know any thing about this mall.What I do know is it had Shopko on one end and Prescotts Food Store on the other it also was vary small with only 12 to 15 stores in it. The mall closed when Shopko moved to a larger store across the street. today the mall is a Pic n Save food store.


Dave said...

More great pictures,John,thanks! These bring back a couple of memories of my young adulthood in the Chicago suburbs. We had several Pic'N'Saves (they were almost always ex-something else),and I also remember the "Like" cola brand (machine next to the ShopKo entrance) that was around for just a brief period in the early 80's. Great stuff.

Matt said...

John, you're bringing back more childhood memories for me with this entry.

My hometown of Fond Du Lac WI didn't get ShopKo until the Summer of 1985. Up until then, my family had to make the trek down old Highway 45 (that went through the city, not the current 4-lane bypass), and we wound up at this, the Westfair Mall.

I did a lot of digging around at the city library's microfilms, and can fill in a few blanks for you. The rest though is from my memory.

- The Mall opened in 1971. I have some reason to believe it was possibly a joint-project between SuperValu Corp and a local / regional mall developer (The Prescotts you see was originally a SuperValu-branded store, and ShopKo was owned by the (SuperValu) company at the time).

- This was one of ShopKo's first southeastern WI locations, opening with the mall. Originally 50,000 Sq Ft or so.

- Prescott's took up 15-20k Sq Ft....large for a supermarket at the time and for the size of the City at the time. A larger Kohl's Supermarket was up the street, in one of West Bend's first shopping centers, West Bend Plaza.

- Definitly right that this mall wasn't big. That corridor shot was all there was to it, with that one lone entryway to the front, and one could only access the mall via Shopko or this main entrance (The one that has the Westfair Mall sign) in the mall's later years (prior to ShopKo pulling out). That blue wall is Prescott's entryway....sealed from the mall. BAD idea. Good way to kill traffic flow and thus, kill off the mall interior. They probably didn't want grocery carts clogging up the narrow mall interior.

- A quick tenant list I recall through the years and via those microfilms.

-- Nobil Shoes (Easily seen in the interior shot)
-- Kindy Optical (would have been on your left, first store outside ShopKo)
-- Bressler's 33 Flavors (towards the mall's center)
-- There was a salon in here, but I forget its name
-- Little Professor Book Center

Out of the mall by the time these shots were taken
-- Mr. Greeting Card
-- Jeffrey's (ladies' apparel)

Several things did Westfair in:

- Size: Mall interior was only a little larger than ShopKo's space.

- Relocation: ShopKo jumped ship to the then-being-expanded Washington Mall (which would be renamed Paradise mall upon completion)

- Washington Mall itself: The Livesey Company (of Madison WI) opened Washington Mall, built out to the south of a Kohl's Department Store that opened in August 1979.

Livesey sold out to out-of-state developers around the mid-1980s, who went and greatly expanded the mall, ShopKo fronting its south end with a mammoth 80,000 Sq Ft store, nearly doubling it's old Westfair digs. All tenants save for Nobils, bailed the fast-sinking Westfair as leases came up, many moving to the new space that was created. The whole project was renamed Paradise Mall.

Westfair mall pretty much was done for by 1990 due to failure in paying its taxes. Well how can a mall with no tenants (save for Pick n Save, which opened in 1988...tearing down the old ShopKo space and also building into 1/3 of the former mall), thus no rent income, pay its taxes off?

Ultimately Prescott's (The owners of Pick n Save stores in West Bend) bought the whole building off and have since big-boxed it. This is its current state.

North Anchor - Ace Hardware
Mall - Space for a few shops. A Toy Works occupied the largest (middle) spot for some years, but it's gone now. Was a temporary Halloween store last autumn
South Anchor and 1/3 of old mall - Pick n' Save.

Whew, hope that helps shed some more light.

I should let you know right away too....we also shopped (moreso) at Kohl's, which was but a mere half-block up the road in its own 'mall' which I mentioned above. More 'national' tenants wound up there, and the mall was easily twice the size of Westfair, albeit, still small.

Thanks again very much John. :-)

PS: Feel free to use my info for Washington / Paradise Mall should it come up in a future entry. I'll have more for that as well, as my memories of that mall are more fresh in my mind. My family only ever went to ShopKo here, never needing anything in the tiny mall interior.

Leslie said...

Oh, this has been driving me nuts for a time now. I grew up local to West Bend and was trying to recall which stores were in that mall.

Adding to the list:
JoAnn Fabrics
Rose Marie's (hair salon)
Cookie Cone Cafe (ice cream)
George Webb (aka Buckskin?)
Bits 'N Pieces (florist)...I remember they had a really cool waterfall/wheel and big, noisy birds too

And actually, the mall did open into Prescott's. There was a right angle with a ramp down to the grocery store at the far end of the mall. I know that for a fact because my sister and I would get into trouble riding carts down that ramp!

Great memories.

Matt said...

Cookie Cone Cafe also jumped to the expanded part of Washington (Paradise) Mall as well, circa 1988. George Webbs moved up-street to the West Bend Plaza around the same time.

Didn't know that bit about Prescott's having an entryway into the mall. From the image in this post, it doesn't look like it would...the concourse dead-ends at that blue wall, but I did notice the ramp/stair set there (blow up the pic in a photo editor and you can make out a railing). Weird how they did that.

Now I'm curious if you recall anything on the mall up the road that connected with Kohl's Dept. Store. That one's been driving me nuts for years. The last time I was in there was in early 1985. By that time, my town got a Kohl's (and a ShopKo), and thus there was no reason to have to go to West Bend as much. One tenant I do recall being in the mall was The Fast Foot, and they were there from the mall's 1979 opening, up to at least 2000-2001. (yes, they were in the Paradise Pavillion for a couple years).

Looking through the old phonebooks on file at the library, I also took notice to Montgomery Wards having a location down that way.

fuzzy said...

When was the Mall torn down to make the strip mall?

fuzzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Westfair Mall....the physical building was never 'torn down' per-se. It was de-malled. Prescotts eventually sealed off their mall entry in their final year or two, before the Prescott family decided to expand and bring the Pick N Save name to the southside of West Bend. (They opened their Washington St. location in the early 1980s..1984-1985 or so, shortly before the U.S. 45 bypass around West Bend was completed).

When ShopKo finally decided to move cross-street to the then-being-expanded Washington Mall (renamed Paradise Mall upon completion of the expansion), that's when Pick N Save swallowed up the old ShopKo and reconfigured the space to their specs, as you see in the picture here.

The rest of the mall lingered on, Pick N Save having sealed off the mall entryway, leaving the mall itself with no access to either anchor space. That'll kill off any mall. That, and various other issues with the original owners vs the city of West Bend, resulted in Prescott (the family) basically buying the whole building.

They gutted out the mall area and set it up for big box use. That's basically where the mall is at today. Toy Works occupied a majority of the space from 1994-just a few years ago, and Ace Hardware eventually took up shop in the old Prescotts SuperValu / ShopRite space.

I think the mall you're thinking of is Paradise Mall. That was reconfigured into a strip in 1998. It opened in 1979 as just the Kohl's Department Store (which I'll never forget how it used to look so long ago), a Montgomery Wards catalog / surplus store (similar to Sears of those days in smaller markets), and the 15-tenant or so Washington Mall linking the two.

Don't take my muse on Wards as fact. I'm not sure where it was. I recall for some odd reason, seeing Wards just north of downtown (north of Washington / Hwy 33) on one drive down with the parents to this mall and Kohl's across the street, back in the early/mid 1980s.

I do need to correct myself from above. Kohl's Supermarket and the attatched West Bend Plaza did NOT open until 1976. This strip beared the aforementioned Kohl's store, Walgreens, Ben Franklin, Radio Shack, Curtis Mathes, and about 6-10 other tenants. There's another strip called Decorah Plaza cross-street from this.

That whole area of West Bend is still fresh in my memory, and it amazes me I can remember it yet. It's DRASTICALLY changed in the last 25 years.

Matt said...

A few more corrections to my above comments, after having viewed some historic aerials:

- West Bend Plaza was around since the late 1960s at least, not 1976 as I originally had thought. Ditto Decorah Plaza, making these two shopping centers the first for the city.

- Wards would of still been downtown, not on S. Main.

- This mall, Westfair, looks to have been the predominant mall at least up until ShopKo made plans to move across the street to their present-day location. The aerials that I looked at from 1980, show a full parking lot.

- As for that other mall, Washington Mall, it was just the Kohl's Department Store and attached mall. No anchor at all to the south....the mall just ended at an entry/exit there (there is parking by that entry). While the mall had an official name, I don't see any pylon signifying this, though Kohl's had a nice big pylon at their parking lot entry.

There's several outparcels fronting this mall as well, among them a Burger King, which still stands today.

Leslie said...

I don't recall where the Ward's was downtown but I do know that they eventually got to the lot adjacent to the Westfair Mall (just to the north); it was a separate building that is still there today. I don't think it's currently occupied but it was a dollar-type of store a couple years ago.

As far as the old Washington Mall goes, I can't say that there were any memorable stores in there, but I do have fond memories of an arcade. Old-style Pac-Man, Frogger and Q-Bert...

Terry Becker said...

The Decorah Shopping Center was built in the 1950's and was home to Montgomery Wards, right next door to Kuhn's Liquor store towards the south end of that strip. When Westfair opened in 1971, Wards moved to their new stand alone building at the north end of the parking lot.

Gail Gannon said...

The fabric store was named Julie Ann Fabrics. It was co-owned by my mom Helen Baierl and her sister Rosemarie Alf.