The once critically acclaimed mall that opened back in October of 1975 has now become quite outdated in comparison to megamalls being opened across the country, but still retains a lot of heart and a lot of history. Watertown Mall is a beloved area for residents in the city of Watertown, and though it isn’t as flashy and resourceful as a lot of other malls, people still enjoy it and visit quite often.
Watertown Mall Beginnings
Originally, the Watertown Mall was anchored by a Stop & Shop Supermarket, and a Bradlees Department Store. The Stop & Shop Supermarket didn’t last long however, just a few years after the mall opened it was replaced by an Omni Foods location which stayed there until 1999. The mall itself was built in the shape of an L between the two anchor locations.
In the early ‘80s, a neighboring mall was built right across the street from Watertown Mall, this establishment is called Arsenal Mall and remains in that location today. Though initially it may have seemed that Arsenal was going to take business away from Watertown, they have actually complimented each other very well over the years.
ANCHOR CHANGES AT WATERTOWN MALL
There have been a lot of anchor changes at Watertown, not only was there the early change from Stop & Shop to Omni Foods, but in the year 2000 Omni Foods was replaced by a Best Buy. Just one year later, Bradlees (the other anchor location) would shut down and be replaced by a Target in 2002. It was actually a strange sight to see for many of the local residents in Watertown, since Omni Foods was not exactly a major retailer, and Bradlees wasn’t a big name either.
Regardless, the addition of both Target and Best Buy are without a doubt the main reason Watertown Mall has survived as long as it has without any major renovations to the mall itself.
OTHER WATERTOWN MALL RETAILERS
Although anchor locations are extremely important for any shopping mall, there are still multiple other retail locations within the mall itself that help draw in traffic. Watertown Mall features a lot of standard “small-mall” locations such as an Old Country Buffet, a Papa Gino’s, and even a local DMV. There are various other random stores throughout Watertown Mall, none of which are really major names that attract high amounts of shoppers.
Probably the most notable non-anchor shop in the Watertown Mall left in 2006, and that was the only Gap Outlet store in the Boston area. Coincidentally, the Gap Outlet moved right across the street into the Arsenal Mall building. It is very clear to residents and shoppers that the Watertown Mall is kept around simply due to its history and the fact that it still receiving noteworthy success. Although the success is mainly derived by its neighboring competitor bringing in shoppers who then decide to stop over at Watertown Mall simply out of convenience.