About MallMemories.com

MallMemories.com is a site about something totally unexpected in our culture. At least it was unexpected to me. It's about the special connection that we form with the retail stores and spaces of our life and in particular, of our youth. Sound crazy? I would have said yes three years ago.

Nathan Rye's comments on the Mall of Memphis page at DeadMalls.com describe the feeling very well:

"I imagine that every person has a mall to which they feel connected. I guess that my sentimentality regarding the Mall of Memphis stems from the years of my youth that I spent there. As a 38 year old adult, I spend very little time at malls now. When I do, I am usually going to purchase something and am not there to revel in the experiences and stimulation that a sensory overloading mall can provide to a young person. And that is why no mall will every again ignite the memories that this mall did for me."

A little background...

I didn't know that other people felt saddened the same way I did to see the Mall of Memphis slated for destruction. On a Wednesday night/Thursday morning just after Midnight in November 2004 (17-Nov-2004 06:48:43 UTC to be exact) I registered the domain name MallofMemphis.org - essentially on a whim. On the 11th it had been announced that the Mall of Memphis would close forever on Christmas Eve. For some reason this struck me as very sad. I had worked at the mall for a summer after high school and had spent a good bit of time there off and on in later years but as time slipped by other things took priority and I just never got around to checking back in at the mall. Things had gone badly at the mall since my last visit; only 13 stores remained in the 1.2 million sqft retail palace.

I didn't have any pictures of my own from the mall, in spite of the time I had spent working, shopping or hanging out there. I could find ONE and only ONE picture of the mall on the internet; this one:

I posted it at the site with a "Rest In Peace" caption and that was pretty much the whole Mall of Memphis site for almost a complete year.

A Wiki to the rescue.

While commuting or road tripping, I will often listen to a podcast or two just to pass the time. One of the people I listen to is Leo Laporte- a well known TV and radio technology show host. Leo had setup a Wiki (a special kind of website that anyone can modify) in support of his radio show notes. On a weekend road trip, it occurred to me that a Wiki might be just what the Mall of Memphis site needed. Other people (if there were any) could post their favorite stories, pictures, etc and together we could build a tribute to the mall.

Not really expecting anything (meaning that no one would add information to a mall wiki) I set up the site - it was a good way to learn something new if nothing else. They wiki site was easy to setup (I am a technology person anyway) and in short order, a plain but live mall wiki was online. For two days, I was the only visitor. On the third day of the sites existence, someone posted some REAL mall related information! The next day, someone from North Carolina entered the entire store list for the mall - over 100 entries!

To say I was surprised is an understatement. Traffic continued to grow and as I communicated with these contributors, we built friendships and content that no one else had compiled in one place about the mall. It was real web collaboration - on its own. Amazing.

The story continues to this day and just last week a local business newspaper called to interview me about the web site, and the malls former physical site - which is on track to become another big box location (a disturbing common occurrence). I am quick to point out in these interviews (and there have been several now as of Jun 2007 - which continues to surprise me) that I am not a mall expert, a social historian or in any other way qualified to state anything except my opinion. The real story is that the MallofMemphis.org site (and now this site) are being built by the people who remember the malls and shopping center hangouts of their youth. The people who grew up in them. The people who constructed them, worked in them and who lived the "sensory overloading" of the mall experience. These people who contribute their time, memories, thoughts and collected information are the experts.

And we continue to find new material, update the site and share the memories. Not bad for an unplanned diversion.

What does that have to do with this site?

So, what does all that have to do with MallMemories.com? Well, there are lots of really good retail history and tribute sites on the web - which I didn't know about when the Mall of Memphis 'project' was started. Many of these sites are linked here and everyone is free to add more - or to build pages here commemorating their stories. The goal of this site is to put together in one place the mall memories of people from around the world and/or to serve as a directory of Lost Malls tribute sites that already exist. We don't care if your mall or shopping plaza is just a memory or if you just got home from shopping there. Perhaps you may be witnessing your mall being converted into the non-mall of the future.


The stories; YOUR stories are the words on pages that will make this site of interest. Your stories will cause others to remember things they may have have forgotten and perhaps they will post their stories. That would be great!

We're building the great virtual Mall Memory book - and we hope you will join in!

To read a real book on this subject, try this one:

It gets good reviews at Amazon, it talks more in depth about the behind the scenes operation of our beloved malls. Malls are dying all over the U.S. and the replacement story is very often the same - Sams Club, Costco, Target - are they the malls of the future?

Other related stuff here - Mall of Memphis at Amazon....

We have already solicited the help of well known retail historians on the web; people like Steven Swain, shown here. But you don't have to be well known to be a contributor. Anyone and every one can participate - and that diversity is what makes it interesting!- We need your help!

Thanks for stopping by!

Doug Force

Want to know more about me? http://www.mallmemories.com/Profiles/DougForce

MallMemories.com is hosted by DreamHost. Need your own web site? Try DreamHost and get a FREE domain name registration with your account - a $15 value! Use promo code MALL.

So, Before You Go Post Your Mall Story, Enjoy This...

While roaming the mall sometimes you just come across the greatest gems from the past and all you can do is smile and enjoy. For those of you who only know Johnny Cash as the hip artist covering new music in his final days, here is a lighter look at him in his prime - playing at a prison.

What does this have to do with malls or mall memories? Not a darn thing.