Simon Failed the Gaffney Mall

Simon Failed the Gaffney Mall

Tricia Blackwood, Staff Writer

          The Gaffney Outlet Marketplace originated in the late 90’s, and for years it was a hot spot. There were many diverse outlet stores at the mall, including self care (lotions, sanitizers, candles, fragrances, etc), kitchenware, furniture, retail, shoe, and many other types of stores. With all of the varieties offered at the mall, the business was always booming. Gaffney regulars were there everyday building up the mall more and more by the day. Along with I-85 traffic bringing in travelers quite often. For over twenty years, the “yellow mall” was the best place in Gaffney to be. Everything about the mall was as perfect as could be, the stores, the crowds, the food court, everything. Roughly near thirty years later, the mall is dying a slow death. The mall has been on a downhill spiral for about 4 years, but before it began the mall was still doing fairly well. Right before the mall collapsed, it was bought out by Simon.

          Simon Premium Outlets is a highly successful corporation of malls. Simon is the owner of many malls that people tend to travel a long way to go shop at;  semi local malls such as Concord Mills, SouthPort Mall, Haywood Mall,  and even big time malls like The King of Prussia (the 3rd largest mall in America), Sawgrass mills (the 10t largest mall in America), The Galleria, and 93 other international malls. Considering that Simon is one of the most successful mall chains in the world, it’s surprising that our mall has fell to shreds since the purchase. It isn’t all necessarily Simon’s fault that the Gaffney Outlet Marketplace has fallen apart, however they do play a big role. Simon usually builds malls up, they renovate them and give them many beautiful upgrades, along with bringing in more stores and restaurants, prioritizing advertisement to promote the malls, and many other great ways to build these malls to their best potential. However, Simon has only done one beneficial thing for the Gaffney Outlet Marketplace, bringing in an H&M store a few years ago. Once the new store opened, it drove a lot of hype to the mall, and much attention was brought. New customers arrived and business began to boom again, until it didn’t. After a couple of months, H&M died down, and no new stores were opened to save the mall again. Actually, the opposite happened. Over half of the once successful stores that were at the mall have shut down over the past 4 years.

          Stores began closing before COVID-19, but after the pandemic, things got significantly worse. The pandemic shut the mall down for a long time for precaution purposes, and many stores were not able to recover. The stores weren’t making any sort of income, yet we’re still paying all of their bills. While the entire country was at home quarantining, people began to get very comfortable ordering their stuff online. They learned to shop from the comfort of their own home. So once stores opened back up post COVID-19, there was no need to go to a small mall that was so run down it probably wouldn’t have what they were looking for anyway. People began to view the mall as an inconvenience, and online shopping as the real convenience. Many other malls struggled through the pandemic, but Simon focused very seriously on repairing them and building them back up. The build up of the 98 other American malls and over a hundred international malls that Simon own was incredible, they are all back to full capacity, stores back open and even added many stores, and made renovations to encourage people to come and shop. However, it leaves the question, why didn’t they try to build back up the Gaffney Mall?

          Where are the new stores? the renovations? new food? new crowds? new anything? No hopes or expectations were filled after Simon purchased the Gaffney Mall and that isn’t anyones fault except for Simon’s. Gaffney didn’t have their expectations too high because the reality is that Simon is the most successful mall owner in America, and also holds a very high rank internationally. The hurtful truth is simply that Simon just did not care about a little mall in a small town. 

          Simon has failed Gaffney, and the Gaffney Outlet Marketplace. Gaffney had so much hope when Simon bought the Mall; knowing the success that Simon typically has, there were so many expectations that we’re hoping to be filled, yet it all backfired. Simon focused so much on building up 231 other malls into the most perfect experience for consumers, yet forgot about Gaffney. The Yellow Mall was already beginning to struggle before Simon bought it out, but comparing the Gaffney Outlets to another local mall like Concord, or Haywood (which Simon owns), it is sad. Their malls are so beautiful, and so victorious, but the Gaffney Outlet Marketplace falls more and more into a dark hole every day. It wouldn’t be shocking if the once successful Gaffney Mall closes down within the next few years; because unless Simon Premium Outlets is about to pull off some miracle for the Mall, there is not much hope left. Considering it seems as if Simon has already forgotten about the Gaffney Mall, it is highly doubted that they are going to start repairing the damage now. Simon completley failed Gaffney.