Thursday, July 6, 2017

In a World of Dying Malls, Monroeville Lives

We are currently living in a time known as the retail apocalypse, an era where brick and mortar stores are closing down as online shopping reigns supreme. And nowhere is this more evident than the dark and quiet halls of America’s shopping malls. All over the world, malls are closing down left and right, but the Monroeville Mall made famous in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is surviving another kind of apocalypse.

One of the ways many stores have survived the retail apocalypse is by adapting to current consumer trends, even if it means shedding their original image. For GameStop, that means selling collectibles and blind bags. For Hot Topic, that means more anime shirts and less hardcore band shirts.

Most malls are lucky enough to be kept alive by their big anchor stores like Macy's and Dicks, plus a GameStop and an American Eagle (two brands that have actually opened more stores than they’ve closed in recent years) but the Monroeville Mall actually holds my attention with half a dozen stores to satisfy my geeky hunger for pop culture goodies.

Inside the mall, you’ll find the aforementioned GameStop and Hot Topic as well as Spencer's Gifts (gone the way of Hot Topic with more superhero mugs than novelty sex toys), an arcade with zombie themed laser tag, and a movie theater that shows special Fathom Events screenings. There is also a buy/sell/trade store called Cash-In Culture, where you can fill the retrogaming hole in your life that Gamestop can't.

After leaving the mall I went out to the Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, and other stores within the plaza area. Even though most malls are depressingly sad and nearly devoid of interesting shopping, I still managed to pick up a bunch of cool stuff from the Moneroeville Mall. Check that haul out below!