...And Now It's Time To Say Goodbye
Every now and again something happens that impacts you in a way you didn’t think it would. This could be anything from world event, sports championship, or celebrity death. What I am going to write about today falls under the celebrity death category. Which is strange because the writing was on the wall for this place for years given how people rely on the internet for shopping and finding the best deals these days.
The Swansea Mall officially closed for good this past weekend. Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I am upset that it closed. Rather, I spent a good chunk of my childhood going to that mall. Growing up it was the closes mall to my house until we moved and was surrounded by all the fun stuff in the area. Whether it be Radical Rick’s Race City, the movie theater, or even the driving range, the mall was close enough that if we had time to kill, the mall was where we did it.
However, in recent years it had become the mall walkers paradise. More people went there to walk than to shop, and stores suffered because of it. Once the Walmart that used to be connected to it, separated, the writing was on the wall. Slowly, but surely, shops started closing as shoppers dwindled. This isn’t solely limited to just the Swansea Mall either. Many of the smaller malls worldwide are starting to fail due to the higher reliance on online retail. Major chains such as Sears and Macy’s are closing up shop lower demand areas, leaving those malls left to find suitable replacements. In many cases, no one is willing to take on the big foot space that those stores leave and they sit, vacant.
The Swansea Mall was no exception. When FYE left the mall last year, they filled that space with a weekly farmers market on the weekend. Jess and I had visited that a few times but there wasn’t a whole lot offered. There are other examples of weird fits for a mall here. They also had a batting cage near the old Sears location, an indoor minigolf course, a VR experience, and a game club. I am not sure if this was just a case of trying to fill gaps to stay afloat due to lack of demand from major merchants to come into the place, or if the true intent was to have sort of, off brand stores to be a differentiator. Either way, it clearly didn’t accomplish the goal the mall set out for.
Thinking back, perhaps the most iconic memory I have of the mall is the holiday season. They would put reindeer in the mulch pits which would line the long hall and end off where several people would be stationed at tables assisting in wrapping people’s gifts. The Swansea Mall always came off a little more blue collar than the rest of the malls in the area, be it Providence or Attleboro, and even Dartmouth now that it has been overhauled.
To me, its crazy how things change. The mall closing is just one piece of that strip of road that has change so much over the years. The road used to line up with stores like Service Merchandise, the discovery zone across the street, and even Toys R Us, which closed up shop not too long ago as well. The physical locations that we all as 90s(or 80s babies) remember and grew up on are being replaced with Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Times change and so do the stores we shop at, but thank you Swansea Mall, for the memories and good times. I look forward to seeing what you transform into next.