The University Mall Is Pathetic


A closed store inside University Mall

The University Mall in Carbondale is simply a shell of what it once was. The hallways are reminders of the great place it used to be. 


During 2020 and the rise of the Coronavirus pandemic, the University Mall suffered several closings. On March 17th, Macy’s all around the country closed their doors for good and Carbondale famous S&B’s Burger Joint closed as well. Three months later, JCPenney closed, leaving us with very little options for purchasing clothes. The combination of lack of business and the surge of online shopping also made GameStop’s closet of a store shut down.


Even before the pandemic, the poorly kept and low quality AMC Theaters located in the back of the mall closed in 2018. And the nail in the coffin, for me and mostly every other patron, Gloria Jeans, the Carbondale staple ended their business. Even if you were not going to buy anything, Gloria Jeans was the one place you could get any type of coffee or hot drink, considering the Starbucks next to Panda Express hadn’t opened yet and the closest one was inside of a Kroger of all things. 

Macy’s mall entrance at University Mall, May 2012, taken by Mike Kalasnik


One of the mall’s biggest draws are from teenagers especially. On weekends, you could always find middle and high schoolers walking around the mall, even if they weren’t going to buy anything. It used to be a hangout spot, and now one of your main targets doesn’t even visit you anymore. 


When I think back to my childhood, I remember amazing weekends where the entire household would leave and go to the mall. We were able to stop by and enjoy the various stores around. My brother and I would go to GameStop to check out the latest games, and my mom and sister would visit Earthbound, Hot Topic, American Eagle and the other clothing stores. These memories are all the mall has become. 


Looking back, the mall was slowly fading away to what it is now, and the pandemic only sped it up. I have no idea what they are going to do with it, but the mall will eventually close completely. There is no way that they are making money with the abysmal amount of customers they receive.  It is purely shameful.