Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rogers Plaza Mall

Wyoming, Michigan - circa early '60s

The S. S. Kresge Co. store in Michigan's Rogers Plaza (now Rogers Plaza Town Center). The store just to the left of it is Kirby's Shoes.

In the far-right window of Kresge you can see a sign that says "school supplies", so this was probably taken somewhere around August or September. And I'm sure anyone who was a kid in those days and lived anywhere near a Kresge discount store (and the like), has fond memories of tagging along with mom and dad to pick up a load of back-to-school supplies there. All the paste you could eat!

Mall history: 1960 - present
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Resource articles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Previous entries: 1


Anonymous Bobby said...

Rogers Plaza is still alive. From the front it looks totally different, you can hardly tell it's an enclosed mall (albeit a very small one). Kresge's has been cut up for other stores including an Old Country Buffet. Incredibly, the mall houses a couple of modern-ish mall tenants like Deb Shop, Famous Footwear, and Christopher & Banks.

To the left of Kirby Shoes in the pic, I think, is a Cunningham Pharmacy, then a mall entry, then a Kroger. Judging from the mall entry, it looks like the center was originally open air.

History: Original anchors were Wards, Kresge, and Kroger. TurnStyle was added as an east anchor in the 1970s. After TurnStyle closed, it was split between Rogers Catalog Showroom and mall space. The Rogers Showroom quickly became BEST. After BEST closed, the front half became a Big Lots (which would seal off the mall entrance). Also, a portion of the old TurnStyle that had become mall space was turned into an OfficeMax (which would seal off its mall entrance too). Wards closed in 2000 and sat empty until 2005, when it was torn down for AJ Wright (which opens into the mall) and Family Fare Supermarket. The other half of the former BEST has since been mostly filled with Harbor Freight & Tool and an auto finance place.

Wed Sep 06, 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Sealing off the mall entrance... now why would anyone want to do that? Except maybe to kill the mall. I see it done over and over. Then the mall dies. Mall owners must do it on purpose.

Wed Sep 06, 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think sealing off a mall entrance is a theft deterrent. I know Office Max is very deliberate about how customers enter and exit their stores.

Wed Sep 06, 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

Actually I'm not even 100% certain if Big Lots ever had a mall entrance at Rogers Plaza. It does strike me as strange though, since now AJ Wright is the only anchor opening out to the mall.

Wed Sep 06, 10:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anonymous #1 is right, I think these malls are sealed off to stop theft but also they just don't want anyone inside for insurance reasons.

Bobby, Is Old Country Buffet one of those all you can eat cafeterias? I thought those went out with the 80's. I love to people watch in places like that, you always see some customer walking back to the table with an armful of banana splits or a plate full of so much food they can barely balance it all.

Thu Sep 07, 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

I don't know if Old Country Buffet is all you can eat, as I've never been to one.

By the way, this mall also has a Big Boy in it still. Elias Bros. Big Boy used to be a fixture in most Michigan malls, but as far as I know, Rogers Plaza, and Southland Center in Taylor, are the only two malls that still have Big Boys in them.

Fri Sep 08, 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Are there really any malls that have a full service restaurant left as you enter the entrance? It seems as if they are disappearing.

Sat Sep 09, 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Country Buffest is an all-you-can buffet style resturaunt. Yes, Big Boy's is full service. These types of places in malls do seem to be disappearing. Food courts seem to be replacing them.

Rogers Plaza is full of empty space. The mall walkers keep it alive. That and the fact it houses a Secretary of State and Postal Store. I miss Hallmark and Bargain Books. The oweners of Rogers Plaza need to do something to bring in tennants. I personally do not like how the mall is today. I remember when the mall used to house a candy store where the insurance company used to be. That same space used to be a Merle Norman at one time. So many stores have come in and out of Rogers Plaza it is hard to keep track of them all.

Does the plaza still hold craft shows, coin shows, etc? Seems to me in Feb/March they would fill it with RV's and Campers. Also around that time they would have a health fair. I also like the candle shop that comes in the center as a kisosk twice a year. Usually Christmas and Mother's Day/Easter. Christmastime at Roger's Plaza is fun. It's where I take my kids to see Santa. (Easter Bunny too for Easter Pics. I used to go there for my pics with an Easter Chick. Bring her back, please.) At Christmas I love the smell of the Cinnamon Roasted nuts.

Does anyone remember the S&H greenstamp store? How about Hush Puppies store or the engraver? The fashion jewlry store is gone. Seems all the orginal stores are gone. I think sealing off the mall was a mistake. You can enter through Famous Footwear as well as AJ Wright. So there are two entrances on the West side. Big Boy's has a mall entrance. That covers the middle. Though Big Boy sits next to a main entrance in the middle. I believe there are no mall entrances to the East.

I was at the mall the Best had a fire in the early 90's. I believe that was the only "disaster" at the mall.

Mon Sep 11, 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ddmaxs said...

Wow, the memories you all have churned up in me. I was a teen of the 80's and remember my best friend and I going to Rogers Plaza. Even as a child I remember going there and to roger's Dept. store for school clothes. I breifly remember TurnStyle.

Here's a question I am trying to find the answer to. What was the name of the art gallery/store? It was around Fox's Jewelers, and a men's store . . . I used to take my brother shopping there after I got my first job and he was still in school. Cannot remember the name. Also how about the pet store. They used to have a pet skunk. And they had puppies and all kinds of animals. It was where MC Sporting goods is now. Also I remember a little bit about a zenith store? I remember my parents looking at TV's. I also remember the engraving store/booth in the middle of the mall on the S/H green stamp end. Oh those were the good ole' days.

Please post if you know the name of the old art store. My husband and I purchased a painting from there in the early 90's and I am trying to find out more info about it.

Tue Dec 18, 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant that used to be where Big Boy is now? I used to work at Studio 28 in the early
80's and my boss would go there for lunch and come back to work drunk! My wife thinks I'm crazy and says there never was a restaurant in the mall that served drinks.

Thu Oct 23, 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The restaurant in the mall where Big Boy is now I think might have been the sand dollar. Not sure if they served drinks.

Mon Nov 03, 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

The clothing store was Cardinal Mens Wear.

Fri Nov 13, 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

There was a restaurant/bar there.
Has a medieval theme.......something like the Knights bridge Inn

Mon Jan 17, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I did some work there in the 70's...

Mon Jan 17, 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at a store in Roger's Plaza in the late 80s for several years.

There was The Book Company (where the SOS is now), and next to it, Cardinal, a semi-upscale clothing store. The Book Company had both books and records - back when they came on cassettes and LPs. Quite a nice collection of small-label jazz, folk, etc. It closed in 1989ish.

There was a piano store there, as well as Fox's Jewelery. There were two Hallmarks - both owned by the same guy. One was a "regular" Hallmark and one was called The Memory Nook.

Since the 80s, the only constants have been MC Sports and The King's Room (a barbershop).

There used to be a seasonal Halloween store, and also a hot pretzel place.

Down near the King's Room was a disgusting fast food place in the middle of the mall called The Chuck Wagon. When they took it out, cockroaches scattered everywhere. It was removed in 1988 or 1989. I remember the hot dogs were very gross. Its kiosk was made of some kind of laminated wood.

Near the Chuck Wagon was a small kiosk with video games. I remember Sea Wolf (or something like that - a sub game) and Space Invaders. There were four or five games in a single circular kiosk.

Also there was a small kiosk that sold glass figurines. The woman who ran it was an older, overmaked-up woman with a very deep tan.

There was a Rite Aid at one point.

Near the Big Boy entrance there was a beauty salon. Also the Dutch Deli, whose sign was there for literally 15 years after it closed. Only recently (2012? 2013?) was it replaced with a Vietnamese restaurant.

At one point there was a survey place there. Such a different world now, but at one time there was so much foot traffic that they had a marketing research company that would have people standing around with clipboards interviewing people.

BTW, the mall is carpeted now! Cracks me many carpeted shopping malls are there!? There used to be several sit-down places in the mall - all had the same laminated wood with fake trees. I think there were at least two. They've been ripped out and replaced with cheesy 50-cent kids rides.

Outside near Ward's was a key store - may have been part of Ward's. Ward's at that time had a music shop in the store (I bought 45s there) as well as a restaurant very near the entrance - food was greasy.

Outside there was a Sears auto, near the corner.

The mall had huge stamp/coin shows every few months for a long time but I don't think they do any more.

You really can't overestimate the ghost-towny feel of the place now. There's the Secretary of State and the Post Office and THAT's IT. I was there August 2013 and there was no one there. There are literally (not exaggerating) more fake stores that real stores. All the empty stores are covered up with life-sized photos of fake stores - there must be two dozen of those. MC Sporting Goods was empty and didn't see anyone in the King's Room either. There's a couple super-trashy "discount" stores.

The only functioning stores are those without mall entrances - Office Max and Family Fare (a grocery store). Roger's Department Store across the street closed and so did its brief successor, Klingman's. The mall was on a downward trend in the late 80s when I left, but now it feels like a post-apocalyptic scene. Rivertown Crossing was the final nail in Wyoming's retail coffin.

Ah, Roger's many memories.

Mon Aug 12, 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Does anyone remember the restaurant at the main entrance in the space now pied by Old Country Buffet ?

Tue Mar 08, 09:17:00 PM  

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