The Huron Mall had its opening on the southwest side of Huron, South Dakota in 1978, and it had some anchor stores like Kmart, Spurgeons, and JC Penney on the west side. The mall’s opening had been a big event for the farming and region, and there were a little over 10,000 people in town, which was not a lot, and they were all really excited about it. The mall also had a tiny, but vibrant, food court in the middle of the mall, and it was almost always busy, almost always overcrowded, and it was a frequent site for visitors when the South Dakota Fair was going on. It was celebrated in Huron each summer.
Huron Mall had a lot of sister malls by the consistent developer that also opened up regionally right about then too. These malls were in Brookings, Pierre, Jamestown, and Glenwood Springs. These were brick-and-mortar malls that had little prototype JC Penney stores on one side of the mall and Kmart stores on other sides of the mall too. Almost every single prominent mall shop was lining the 25, or thereabouts, spaces that were in between the anchor stores. Huron Mall had a lot of serious parking on either side of it, but its future sister malls just had the parking on the mall’s front side. It didn’t even hurt Huron Mall that there were so many sister malls coming into the town as well. That’s pretty amazing that there are so many malls that were competing with it, but it was able to take them on just fine. It wasn’t difficult for the mall to fend them all off, and it really took off and did some wonderful things, even despite all the other little malls surrounding it. That just goes to show you how strong this mall was in its heyday.
Huron Mall did a good job throughout the 1970s and 1980s. There were some regional malls that were opened, but they didn’t seem to have an effect on Huron Mall. It did just fine. The trade section of Huron, though, had sometimes been very much based on agriculture, and the city did seem to go through a kind of sad decline, in population and economic vitality. There was just an economic base that was shrinking. The mall lost about one quarter of the population over its history. Kmart could remodel and expand the store, but the small specialty shops started to leave the area. When JC Penney left, it was kind of a crushing blow for the mall. Mall traffic is pretty dead right now. Even though it hasn’t changed much structurally on the inside as an indoor mall, Huron Mall is basically like a strip center that has internal and roof access for its small shops.
Walmart just stayed away from Huron when it came through South Dakota in 1990, but they’ve now chose to make a store a little bit south of Huron Mall. Huron Mall is about two miles away from this route. The Walmart is destined to overtake the Huron Mall.