In Antioch, CA exists a mall — emphasis on the word “exists” — that has seen better days. I do not know for certain what the age is of this particular mall, but the facade screams dated. Maybe 1970s. I have taken the opportunity to walk and shop this space on a few occasions. At Christmas one year. Sad looking. There was Santa, center mall, with not a child in sight. So, feeling sorry for Santa, I sat on his lap and they snapped a picture of this moment heralding my adventure to this shopping venue.
First off, one can not help notice just how empty this mall is. I had an occasion to visit one anchor store at this mall, Sears. Looking for a bar-b-que grill, I spoke to the clerk. “This place is bad,” he said. I responded with, “What do you mean, the mall?” He replied, “The mall…Antioch…it’s bad.” Okay, so we had a consensus. Once upon the early 90s a store by the name of Gottschalks (popular department store chain in Northern California) closed. The sign bearing the store name is still on the outside wall. Announcing some ghost store of yesterday as empty and forlorn as brick and mortar can get. What a depressing scenario. And what a depressing claim that young Sears clerk gave to the present day condition of the area.
Antioch has gone by the wayside if we are to believe the young clerk’s testimonial. I have to agree with him. Antioch and its solitary mall Santa. The empty storefronts. Well, there is a nifty shoe repair outfit in the mall. They seem to do a brisk business and proved quite useful when I took some tap shoes in for repair. I walked out with a pair of new dress boots (exotic leather) and my tap shoes. Fun! But this was the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal shopping atmosphere.
In the retail world nothing summons up more enthusiastic response in shoppers than a collection of stores, eateries and services all gathered together in one spot. Malls are climate controlled and they offer one-stop shopping adventure. A cornucopia of modern-day convenience. That is unless you are in Antioch, CA. If you are thoroughly depressed you may want to drive a little further north to take in all that the Westfield Center in Fairfield can offer. A theater complex, Forever 21, H & M, Firestone car service, a food court and in the center, a shiny, two-tier carousel for kids of all ages. Life and liveliness and the space seems vibrant. Antioch and its mall, may you rest in peace.