The story behind Randall Park Mall is actually rather interesting, it all began when a businessman by the name of Edward John DeBartolo proposed a shopping center, office buildings, and apartments all in the same complex. Initially the nearby Garfield Mall had been planned to be much bigger than it ended up being, and the Randall Park Mall was definitely the main reason Garfield was inevitably scaled down.
When Randall Park Mall opened it offered 200 different retail shops, three 14-story apartment buildings, and two office buildings reaching 20 stories. It was actually the world’s largest shopping center upon its grand opening, but lost that title shortly after to another competitor. The town of North Randall itself only had a population of 1,500 people, yet the mall employed over 5,000. With over 2 million square feet of total retail floor area, Randall Park Mall was indeed a massive establishment in a small town.
Randall Park Mall Anchor Stores
Throughout the years Randall Park Mall had gone through several different anchor stores before finally shutting down in 2009. The first anchor was Horne’s, which claimed 201,000 square feet and was closed in 1992. The closure of Horne’s didn’t necessarily have much to do with Randall Park Mall itself, since the entire chain was shut down in 1994, just two years later.
JCPenney, who had been an anchor for several years and is well-known for being a retail chain that doesn’t go down easily, finally closed its doors in 2001 due to low sales. Prior to shutting down, the 207,000 square feet JCPenney location converted from a regular store into an outlet store, this change occurred three years before but obviously wasn’t enough to keep interest in the store itself.
Randall Park Mall has also been home to a Dillard’s which closed in 2003, Macy’s which closed in 2008, Sears which closed a year later in 2009, as well as an “O Theater” which closed in 2009. Burlington Coat Factory and Ohio Furniture Mart were the final two anchors before the mall eventually closed its doors in May of 2009, although those two stores still remain open independently today.
DILLARD’S SHOPLIFTING INCIDENT AT RANDALL PARK MALL
Not too long before the Dillard’s location closed down, there was an incident that ended up resulting in a shoplifter dying due to injuries received from a security guard at the mall. Although the shoplifter was actually treated in a hospital for the damages done by the guard (who was an off-duty police officer, simply moonlighting as a security guard), and effectively released from the hospital, he ended up dying later.
There is speculation this event was a primary factor in the downfall of Randall Park Mall, but evidence shows otherwise. The mall itself had been on a decline for the past few years, this was made very evident by JCPenney of all places closes their doors. Although the incident occurred just months before Dillard’s closed, there were definitely other factors involved.