The city of Richmond is by no means a ‘big city’, but it does offer some of the things that you might see in larger cities throughout the United States. With a population of only 31,000, it’s a little surprising to see that the city is actually home of Eastern Kentucky University, as well as a relatively large shopping mall. Unfortunately for Richmond Mall, the large shopping mall is actually its neighboring complex, Richmond Centre.
Early Success for Richmond Mall
Richmond Mall is actually pretty new, it opened its doors in September of 1988 which is a reason why it saw early success. Despite the fact that the nearby city of Lexington had three large malls to offer competition with, Richmond Mall was still able to get by on the fact that it was newer. Eventually, Fayette Mall in Lexington would take a lot of business away from Richmond, but it wasn’t quite enough to really say Richmond was a dead mall.
Local Competition Problems for Richmond Mall
As if fighting with three neighboring malls in a more established community wasn’t enough for Richmond Mall to handle, in the year of 2008 the establishment would encounter its biggest foe, Richmond Centre. Essentially, Richmond Centre is a newer, bigger, better, and more accessible to the general public than Richmond Mall. With over 800,000 square feet and huge names shacking up like Belk, JCPenney, Michaels, TJ Maxx, Petsmart, and much much more, Richmond Centre was sure to be the death of Richmond Mall.
Although Richmond Mall probably could have survived and remained reasonably successful, the major problem ended up being the fact that Richmond Centre was right off of I-75 and so much easier to get to than its predecessor. Of course the fact that Richmond Centre is 20 years newer and twice as large was a major contributor to its success over the mall, but in the end nobody was going to go out of their way another couple miles just to visit a mall that was at much lower standards.
Current State of Richmond Mall
Despite numerous problems with competition and lack of renovation, the Richmond Mall still remains open today, barely. It should be noted that the real problem was in-fact Richmond Centre, not even precisely a culmination of Lexington’s shopping malls as well. Before the Centre opened, Richmond Mall actually boasted a 98% lease rate, only to be cut down to less than 50% just two years after Richmond Centre opened up.
Currently the mall is pretty much dead, but not completely, the only reason it still looks a lot more alive than it actually is, is because the majority of open stores are all on the same (west) side of the mall. On the east side shoppers will be able to find a Sear’s and maybe some trash cans, but that’s about it. Richmond Mall is a prime example of how quickly and easily a mall that has fought for prosperity throughout its existence, can be easily defeated.