The Good Old Days of North Kent Mall and Its Grand Opening [Video]
Here's a real "blast from the past," with film from the grand opening of North Kent Mall in 1971. Who's doing the ribbon cutting? Our own Congressman Jerry Ford.
The website, GR Retro, turned up this film of Ford helping cut the ribbon for the Grand Opening. Amazing to think that just three years later, Gerald Ford would become the 38th President of the United State.
For those of us who remember, North Kent opened in 1971, anchored by Montgomery Ward and Wurzberg's, with a Turnstyle on an outlot. Wurzberg's closed in 1974, and was replaced by Kmart. The Turnstyle building was used by Meijer for a while as a clearance center and offices, but now sits vacant.
The mall went into a slow decline and by 2000 was nearly dead. The last remaining stores were Waldenbooks, JoAnn Fabrics, Bargain Books, Radio Shack, Zales Jewelery, and GNC. In 1999 there were displays posted about plans to renovate the mall, and add a third unnamed anchor, but those never came to pass.
In October 2000, it was announced that the mall would be demolished for a Lowe's. Both anchors (Kmart and Wards) would remain. The mall closed in March 2001 and Wards closed a week later in bankrupcy and Kmart soon followed. Life goes on.