MARSHALL — The Glik’s clothing store expansion in Marshall means that the Market Street Mall is down to its last retail establishment, after a steady decline that spans more than 20 years.
Glik’s left the mall to relocate to a larger retail space in the nearby retailing center that was formerly Marshall’s K-Mart. Their departure leaves only the Maurices clothing store.
Until recently Maurices was flanked by Glik’s and a Christopher and Banks store. In recent years the eastern half of the mall also had a large Hallmark store, a Sears store and a Midwest Vision optical center.
The mall is currently owned by First Premier Bank of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They took title of the mall in February from its previous owners. The bank is now working with Bender Midwest Properties of Sioux Falls to sell the mall to a new commercial developer.
“We’ve been in contact with potential buyers who are interested in large commercial property and who are willing to consider Marshall,” said Bender Midwest Properties President Jill Madsen. “The mall has excellent potential. We’re confident about its future.”
In 2021 the mall is anchored by several non-retail establishments. Its eastern corner, formerly a grocery store, now houses the Lyon County U.S. Department of Agriculture service center, a regional University of Minnesota Extension office and an audiology clinic.
The west side of the mall has an Avera Therapies physical therapy center, along with the headquarters of the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative education agency.
“It has a good group of tenants, and there are at least several different possibilities for the vacant spaces,” Madsen said. “It could be retail or non-retail. Either way, it’s a solid facility in a great commercial section of Marshall.”
Marshall Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brad Gruhot said the long-term changeover to non-retail uses at the Market Street Mall is part of a nationwide trend with late 20th century shopping centers.
“It’s happening in many places,” Gruhot said. “For the most part, malls in small- and middle-sized markets are either just holding their own or declining in terms of retail.”
He said the trend reflects changes in the way most consumers shop for retail goods. Today’s malls face a variety of modern competition, due to the growth of large discount centers and even more so the massive amounts of online shopping.
“The online factor is the biggest part of it,” Gruhot said. “Many retail companies have placed more of their investment dollars into e-commerce and are operating with fewer stores. It’s made it difficult for malls to retain businesses and to recruit new ones.”
The Market Street Mall opened in the mid 1970s as the Marshall Square Shopping Center. It immediately became a regional destination for shoppers.
Older area residents remember shopping at the busy J.C. Penney’s anchor store in the center of the mall and Woolworth’s on the west end. Its full assortment of stores included names such as Ehlers, Wilson’s, Radio Shack, Strawberry Fields, Bostwick’s, Skewes Jewelry, Hal’s, and Snyder’s.
Many shoppers enjoyed browsing for books at the B. Dalton bookstore. Young people had the chance to try out the latest electronic video games of the time period at the Tivoli Arcade.
More than a generation later, Maurices reports continued strong business activity at the mall thanks in large part to its longstanding tenure.
“We’re doing a favorable amount of business,” said Maurices manager Carla Christensen. “It helps that we have many loyal customers. They come out here to shop in our store.”
She hopes that Market Street Mall can defy economic trends by attracting at least one or two new retail businesses to occupy neighboring store spaces.
“It would be an advantage to have other stores here again,” Christensen said. “We’d have more opportunities to attract new customers.”