Had nothing else to do after getting a haircut, so I thought I’d stop by the now empty Fairgrounds Mall just to see what’s there now.
The Fairgrounds Square Mall was built in 1980 by the F&S Construction Co. on the former site of the Reading Fairground Speedway. The Mall did a real good business for a number of years. There were over 84 Stores in here. During the Christmas Season this place was packed with shoppers all getting gifts for the Holiday Season. During the other months it did well also. On a Friday & Saturday nite lot’s of the younger generation would tend to “hang out in here” cause there was not much else to do. Then, as the years passed by, the business started to decline slowly. Stores started to close and board up their Fronts. I noticed this when I would go shopping here. There first to close were the food places, then more & more stores followed along. I never knew why this place failed, until finding out later on.
Here is a look at one of the Main Entrances to the Mall. Still very colorful, but there is no one that shops here anymore. It’s empty of stores, except a few that are still hanging in there hoping business will get better, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Empty jewelry stands are void of merchandise to sell. No shoppers here anymore.
Empty floors & store fronts.
I remember seeing this Pretzel place with lines of people waiting to order. Not now anymore.
It’s quiet here now. Nothing except the occasional “Mall Walker” in a big empty area.
A empty display case that once held some pretty jewelry to sell, now waits to be dismantled.
Why did this Mall fail, you might ask? I found out that the Owner of the Mall complex started to default on taxes and morgage payments. Then just let the place go down-hill. Also the younger generation would hang out here and not buy much of anything. The stores were loosing money slowly. There were a number of roof repairs that had to be made, because of rain leaking in and leaving a pool of water on the floors. All that cost money which the Owners were not ready for. On top of all that, buying products “on-line” helped the problem. Shoppers could get what they wanted at a better price. It didn’t help the matter.
This Mall was built over the once famous Reading Speedway Racetrack. Friday & Saturday nights were a big race time when Sprint cars, Modified cars, and Stock Cars would race the clay & mud track here. The Reading Fair in September was a big thing also. It was huge! I remember going to the Fair in HS and we always had a great time with all the rides. Now, all that is long gone to History which is a shame. Time marches on