Shopping center names no one uses

I used to tease my wife when we’d visit her hometown, by referring to a shopping center there (by “shopping center” I don’t mean a mall with indoor corridors, but basically a large strip mall) by the name displayed on the prominent, large sign out in the parking lot. (It was one of those anodyne names along the lines of “Peachtree Village” or “Grandview Plaza”.) What I found funny was that no one who actually lived in her hometown ever referred to that name, or even seemed to consciously notice it. They would just say the name of whatever store within the development they were going to; and my wife would in fact seem mildly annoyed by my mischievous insistence on using the “real” name.

Then this morning, I noticed for the first time ever (as far as I can recall) that the town I’ve lived in for over a decade also has one of these! LOL I have just completely had a mental blind spot for it, even though I’ve driven or biked by it countless times. I noticed it, I guess, because it was dark and rainy, and the brightly lit sign, probably fifty years old by the style of it but well maintained, stood out.

But that made me wonder: why do these places bother to have names, and big expensive signs featuring them? If they were assigned decades ago by overly optimistic developers, why keep maintaining the signs? Just cheaper (at least at any given moment) than totally tearing them down, I guess?

Near where I work (California, Maryland) the main street has 4 or 5 large strip malls in a row. Each one is named, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what any of them are. A couple miles down, there is one strip mall by itself, and it is called San Souci Plaza, and everyone knows that. San Souci has been around a lot longer than the other ones.

Aha, a sighting of one that *is *actually used! Interesting. As a Francophile, I love that name btw.

It may be more to impress potential tenants than to impress customers.

Glossy brochures that say “Locate your business at the strip mail on Main near Oak” don’t have that certain je ne sais quoi that brochures which proclaim “Locate your business at the OakMain Mall” have.

Hiya, neighbor! Leonardtown has “The Shops at Breton Bay” but I had to look that up - it’s McKays, fercryinoutloud! And I think the adjacent strip with the Food Lion has a different name.

Come to think of it, apart from San Souci, the only other one I refer to by its name is Wildewood, and I had to look it up to verify that it’s called Wildewood Shopping Center. Oh, and does San Souci cover both the part with Shoppers and the part across the street with JoAnn’s, or does that have another name?

“The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza” has a ring to it.

It’s usually the leasing companies business name. A shopper is not going to that company, but a tenet of that company.

Referring it as I’m going to Fairview Plaza, instead of I’m going to Foodtown, would be like saying I’m going to Bayview Tenements instead of saying I’m going to Grandma’s.

We have a couple of those around here. I can’t tell you there names because they’re totally forgettable and never used. On the other hand, there is a shopping center well known as the Benny’s Plaza even though the Benny’s left there 10 years ago.

Here outside Boston they revamped the Natick Mall into a high-class joint, and decided that they shouldn’t call it a “Mall” anymore. So it became The Natick Collection.
Nobody ever called it “The Natick Collecti9on”. It was The Natick Mall. Now even the owners have given up on that bit of flummery. It’s now officially The Natick Mall.

I believe San Souci covers both sides of the shopping center. I forgot about Wildewood, but remember the whole housing development is called Wildewood, so it makes sense to connect the shopping center with all of the housing.

The Lowess, Target, Walmart, and K-Mart shopping centers are all named, but I have no idea what the names are.

Yeah, usually I’m aware that the strip malls have names from seeing the signs, but they’re not commonly used, and I rarely remember them. Ultimately the end result is that if there’s a shooting or problem at one of them, the news people talk about something happening at X Shopping Center and I’m totally baffled until I Google it, and realize that it’s one of the places I
regularly go grocery shopping.

Case in point, I was visiting my parents a while ago, and the news mentioned the “Universal Shopping Center” on Bellaire in Houston as being where a statue was unveiled, and I was completely stymied as to where that was, until I looked it up and realized that it was one of the nearby shopping centers we’d gone to since I was an infant!

You can tell how long a person has lived in Fairfax Virginia by how they refer to the strip mall at the intersection of Rt. 29 and University Drive.
:smiley: If they call it “down by Patriot’s” then they are natives, or nearly so. And older ones at that.
:slight_smile: If they say “by the Florist shop” or “Baskin-Robbins” they’ve been here 15 years or so.
:rolleyes: If they say “by the Direct Furniture Shop” they are here less than five years, but probably all right folks.

:eek: If they say “over by the Hooters” they are brand-new, carpet baggers, and not to be trusted.

For years, there was a Rotterdam Plaza in Rotterdam, NY. The owners actually ran a trivia contest in the stores asking “What is the name of the Mall you’re in?” It was generally referred to by the anchor store (usually a supermarket). Now, it’s referred to as “Hannaford Plaza,” since the owners just gave up on the old name.

I hardly ever know the names of shopping centers. Since they almost always have exactly one large grocery store, I generally refer to shopping centers by approximate location and grocery store, e.g. the shopping center with the Giant in Prince Frederick, or the Safeway shopping center in Dunkirk.

People always seem to know which shopping center I’m referring to, so the names are superfluous.

That and I think it needs to be called something for zoning purposes and the like. Much like I technically live in a subdivision but it’s just an old neighborhood and not what you’d typically think of with HOAs and bylaws and all that nonsense. But they need to call it something so someone else can say “Sunflower Meadows students go to this elementary schools and Sparkling Pines students are zoned for that school…”

Wait a second. There are 3 people from Southern Maryland in this thread. Holy crap, that’s weird. RTFirefly, FairyChatMom, and myself. That just seems weird. Hi neighbors!

And my family always refers to the Safeway in Dunkirk as the place with the invisible McDonalds, since the only Golden Arches visible from the outside are a tiny set at the entrance to the drive-thru.

Reminds me of the PeopleMover in the Magic Kingdom. Was rebranded as Tomorrowland Transit Authority, but everyone kept calling it the PeopleMover. Now it’s back to PeopleMover by Tomorrowland Transit Authority

No one ever really calls it “Southern Maryland,” though. It mostly just goes by “the part with those shopping strips.”


It’s hard to keep straight with all of the:

Oakland Square
Oakland Plaza
Oakland center
Oakland Place
Oakland Market
Oakland Marketplace
Oakland Station
Oakland Crossing
Oakland Court
Oakland Square Market
Oakland Place Square
Around here.

I’m guessing that you live in Oakland?