Yesterday, I had time to kill between lunch w J and my scheduled time in the pool. The First Watch we visited is located on an outparcel of the Regency Square Mall property, here in suburban Richmond, VA. I had not been inside Regency Mall for years. The “anchor” stores have all closed over a period of years, Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney. The lesser stores nearly all closed too. What remains include ethnic hair care salons, a healthcare uniform shop, a tobacconist that promotes their carrying of CBD products, and Spencer Gifts.

This mall , twenty six years ago, had, as its “kitchen store”, The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium. I quit the insurance business one day, walked into this store, applied for a job, and was hired. I had lots of fun for about three years, working there. I was underpaid, surviving on my divorce settlement. On balance, it was the best money I ever spent.

Now, the mall is reinventing itself, like so many other malls. The Surge Adventure Park, whatever that is, and Nova Aquatics, a natatorium for high school and club swimming, will be the new anchors. This is an interesting new trend, activity replacing consumerism.

When I worked at “The Mall”, in what seems not all that long ago, the enclosed mall had the reputation as a perennial fixture of American retailing. Now, young “Vlog-ers” are chronicling their demise across the country. These hobbyist journalists were the “mall rats” of yesteryear, the time of video arcades, Swiss Pretzel Shops, Baskin-Robbins, Sbarro’s, and Spencer Gifts. These folks are recording the lost venues of their youth.

So strange, but encouraging, to see the transformation of Regency Square.