Santa Rosa Mall, Mary Esther Florida – Not So Bright and Happy for the Holidays

Out for my annual Christmas and Hanukkah shopping excursion for my husband, I trekked over to Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther, Florida. On Black Friday! Was I nuts? Yes and yes! Yes, I was nuts because it WAS Black Friday, a traditional zooey day to shop, but the second “nuts” part was… it was Santa Rosa Mall!  My first clue was the parking lot… half-empty.  My second clue was… Sears. My go-to store for tools, stocking stuffers and all things my Hubby likes was also half-empty! What happened to the tool department?  They used to have rows and rows of every tool imaginable, from the center aisle to the left and of course, to the right.  Before the big turn into the clothing department, a major power tool section was missing! There were only lonely shelves and wide-open spaces.  The myriad displays of screwdriver, ratchet and toolkit gift packs in all sizes were… not there! I used to roam wide-eyed, even last year, wondering what to get my Hubby from the vast Craftsman goodie selection. Alas, there was nary a tool bauble to be found.  I could not even find a Craftsman Christmas ornament, one of the traditional gifts I give him on a Hanukkah night to decorate our tchotchke tree! As you may know, Sears isn’t doing so well. They recently closed 63 stores and their revenues are down 25% over last year’s third quarter. But not to stock the surviving stores? How sad.

I left Sears empty-handed to head toward the Hallmark store, another Christmas staple for us, to buy classic action hero or goofy film character ornaments for Hubby. (After I hit the scary, buggy Sears bathroom). I walked and walked. Wasn’t the Hallmark store there, next to Gamestop? Was I losing my mind? I found a directory and stared at it for a while, being map-challenged (one of my best Realtor qualities) and located the Amy’s Hallmark Store. I sauntered back, noticing the steel bars shuttering parts of the mall, and the few patrons strolling about. I still didn’t see the Hallmark store. I tried asking iPhone’s Siri for walking directions. It sent me in a circle. Finally, I asked one of the mall employees, “Where’s the Hallmark store?” “Oh, they closed last year right after Christmas. They had no business.” Oh my. Gulp. Why it was still listed on the Santa Rosa Mall directory, I don’t know, but I was depressed at that point and left. I drove over to Destin Commons – what a difference! I could barely find a place to park! People were crossing roads like families of ducklings! It was a happy place.  I found all the tools Hubby could want at Lowe’s and headed home. That Sunday, an article about Santa Rosa Mall appeared in the Northwest Florida Daily News.  There is a proposal to convert the former Belk store at the mall to a 228-unit apartment complex, called the The Renaissance at Santa Rosa Town Center.  Repurposing of indoor malls is going on all over the country.  For Mary Esther, it may be better than the gloomy shopping center that exists there now.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

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