Mounds Mall celebrates 50 years
Interview by Dirk Webb
Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett
Do you remember playing on the big turtles at the Mounds Mall when you were young? Did you slide down the orange and white “Big Dipper” out by Scatterfield Road? Can you recall the sunken plaza, the community Easter Service, or the Halloween Parade with Hoosier icon Sammy Terry?
The Mounds Mall of Anderson, the first enclosed shopping mall of the Simon chain, is undeniably an important Anderson landmark. From the moment it opened its doors our community has shopped, eaten and been entertained there after school and after work for 50 years.
Early tenants included Woolworth and its lunch counter with steaming grilled cheese sandwiches, JC Penney, Montgomery Ward, Super X, Hoyt Wright, and Kroger’s. Only in the past few months have original tenants Zales and MCL turned their lights off at “the Mall.”
Today, The Mounds Mall has evolved into something more than a traditional shopping center. Says Braun Roosa, “We’re a mix of retail and community center. We have temporary tenants, local merchants, banquets, proms, church services and, during the Christmas season, Santa every day of the week.”
Some of the challenges our mall faces include the advent of online sales as well as Indianapolis and Hamilton County based retail, restaurants and entertainment moving relentlessly up the I-69 corridor.
One of the more interesting events held recently at The Mall was the Mounds Lake information display. According to Roosa, “it was almost surreal. We were filling a vital need by allowing this important project to take a space in our facility to inform the public but at the same time understanding this same venture could spell death for the Mall.”
For The Mounds Mall of Anderson the biggest business challenge turns out to be a “Catch-22.” A national tenant needs to be attracted for the mall to thrive. Yet possible tenants site lack of foot traffic and average dollar sales and yet the argument is, “Won’t foot traffic and sales trend upward if we have nationally recognized stores?”
As Braun Roosa contemplates these challenges he has a question of his own: “What will the conversation between someone in my chair and the person asking the questions be in another 50 years? Will we be able to say, ‘we survived’?”
Would you consider Madison County to be in the midst of sunrise?
Absolutely! I see & hear changes for the better more often than before. I am excited for what is ahead for all of us here in Anderson & throughout Madison County.
What does the business sunrise across the horizon look like to you?
It looks encouraging & our immediate & future outlook is still one of positive thoughts & influences on a daily basis.
What does "A New Day" mean to you?
A fresh start , to regroup, to looking forward to a new day so to be able to conquer whatever I may not have yesterday.
How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?
I really have never focused on being optimistic but rather just goal orientated. When goals small or big are accomplished, then optimism has been reached among all of us. Is your optimism ever threatened?
Yes. Critics live & breed everywhere & I will admit that my skin has toughened up over the years, however, I am ok with this because challenges from others helps me to find better solutions/responses to the issues at hand.
If Optimism leads to achievement, what is it you hope your company will achieve in 2016?
To continue to be a local destination & a place to come for shopping, dining, movies & for families be able to experience the many fun & new events we will have this year.
If you were to have five minutes with someone who was considering relocating to Madison County what would you tell them?
I would make sure they knew that if they would decide to relocate here that they would indeed be recognized & people would be here to listen, to help them with their needs & wants, this I have no doubt! Madison County makes a good case for anyone wanting to relocate their business here, I do believe we have a reputation for being responsive along with having a “can do” attitude!
To view past award winners, or to read more about the awards, visit MCC's Wall of Fame.