Local News

Closing of Wilson Mall leaves memories behind

Posted January 4, 2013

— At the Wilson Mall on Friday, employee Annie Holden was sweeping up what’s left of Christmas.

Santa Claus is gone, along with many of the stores that once attracted holiday shoppers.

Wilson's only indoor mall is closing for good Monday. Hull Storey Gibson Companies, which owns the property, said it will be redeveloped into a traditional shopping center.

“Due to other recent retail developments in Wilson, the enclosed mall format is no longer sustainable,” the company said in a statement. “We have determined that by eliminating the part of the property that is no longer viable, the remaining tenants will benefit.”

The last tenants – including JC Penney, Dollar Tree and Carmike Theater – will stay open during the redevelopment, the company said.

Holden worked at the mall for four years and shopped there for 30. She said the mall has been a part of the community, and she's sad to see it go.

Wilson mall Closing of Wilson Mall leaves memories behind

Employee Jessica Finch's first job was at the mall, and it's been a staple of her resume ever since.

“I've worked at JC Penney, Style Center, Foot Locker, Steve and Barry’s – stores have come and gone,” she said. “It’s been dead for a while. “It’s basically like an indoor walking section for older people.”

Margaret Eatmon and Kenneth Bissette walk the mall when the weather outside turns cold and unpleasant.

“I will miss walking out here because of the friendships I’ve made out here and the exercise I get,” Eatmon said.

The Hobby Shop was a 30-year tenant of the mall. Owner Sue Ferman closed the doors Dec. 26 and reopened at a strip mall a mile away.

She said she feels like she’s lost a family.

“We saw it coming,” Ferman said. “We’d been looking for a new location, but the finality is kind of hard.”

The mall owners are hopeful the redevelopment plan will work.

“Wilson Mall is situated in a highly trafficked location that is only a stone’s throw from the Wilson Medical Center between downtown businesses and residential neighborhoods,” the company said. “By investing in the redevelopment of the property we are confident that it will become a viable, modern and pleasant destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.”


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  • bitsayjimlarson Jan 7, 2013

    RIP Parkwood Mall. Still have warm memories of being a high school student in the late 70s when the mall opened. It was a great place to wile away a cold winter afternoon between the end of the school day and b-ball tipoff.

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 7, 2013

    "Why is an enclosed mall not sustainable?"

    They have become hangouts for gang bangers, thuugs, and other criminals.

    When this happens, the law abiding citizens quit shopping there and the mall soon closes.

    This is happening all over the country.

  • RandomCitizen Jan 7, 2013

    I quit shopping there over 10 years ago because if you went at night, unsavory characters were lurking inside in groups and harassing people. I'm glad to see it being changed.

  • LovemyPirates Jan 4, 2013

    Parkwood started as an "open" shopping center and was converted to the more modern enclosed mall it is today. Ironic that it will now be converted back to what it was before - a shopping center.

  • ancjernigan Jan 4, 2013

    I hate this I remember good times in this place. This where I took my twins now 4 yrs old to get their first Santa pic after they left the hospital they were only 3 days old. I can remember when Chick fl a was there as well my brother and I would always run back and forwth to go get more nuggets they were trying to get people to try. My husband loved going into the hobby shop as well. We always went in the hobby shop when I left the OBGYN and see what new things she had and I would vist the other stores as well. So many memories I hate this is happening looks like we will have to make a trip one more last time with our twin girls before they close to remember all the fun times and memories we had going to the mall in Wilson. Now got to find something to do when leaving their doctor office and mine now lol.

  • coapskp Jan 4, 2013

    Indoor malls provide a secure atmosphere with more of variety of stores than strip malls. Strip malls tend to focus more on specific areas and you have to drive to different places to shop which is a hassle to a lot of seniors and disabled - having to get in and out of the car and such.

  • See Chart Jan 4, 2013

    What was good about the Wilson mall was that old folks could
    hang out there and sit & chat as if it were a public park or some such venue year round, no more as we are now in a different world but it was nice while it lasted not only to shop but to chat & sit with friendly local people.

  • trekkie13 Jan 4, 2013

    In mid size cities such as Wilson, Rocky Mount, Goldsboro, Kinston, Greenville, etc. malls are just as not needed or important as they once were. This is due to shopping center developments all around these cities. Twenty to twenty five years ago these malls were the main focus of shopping in these cities but with the construction of big name department stores and many major name stores in shopping outlets then these malls are less needed. It is a trend that may or may not be reversed. I prefer the indoor mall of twentyto twenty five years ago because every importnant type of store was in them and everything was centralized with less driving to various shopping centers.

  • smcallah Jan 4, 2013

    "Why is an enclosed mall not sustainable?"

    First guesses, it's harder to keep clean. Must have public bathrooms provided. Must be wheelchair accessible. Has people hanging out inside that are not there to shop or buy.

    If they just go to a shopping center model, then the 4 things on my list are up to the individual stores. They must clean their own stores and sidewalks, keep their own bathrooms, make their own stores wheelchair accessible, and they can kick people out of their stores that are just hanging out.

    The shopping center owners just have to keep the facade and parking lot in shape.

  • terriersrfun Jan 4, 2013

    Gee, I remember when the Wilson mall was just a shopping center. Why is an enclosed mall not sustainable? It is a much better shopping experience, IMO because you are out of the weather.