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Author Topic: Simsbury Commons (formerly Farmington Valley Mall)  (Read 8627 times)
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Marc82
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« on: January 28, 2007, 07:32:24 PM »

My Mom and I went to the Simsbury Commons for the first time in many years. I was surprised that there were at least 4 vacancies.  There was also a lot of graffitti, mostly bashing British People.  :huh:

Of course now that I've been to their parent companie's website I now know why the place has gone down hill. It's owned by the same company that owns the decrepid and almost abandoned mall in Norwich.
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 07:51:47 PM »

While I never go to the Simsbury Commons, the Farmington Valley Mall was truly terrible throughout it's later life. It just felt distressed long beyond its (70s) years. As a matter of fact, this and the Bristol Centre Malls were some that were dead even when I was a young kid! Well, Farmington Valley did alright with some savior shops and Bob's inside, but the decor was reeeally old (we actually went just for Bobs most of the time).

Anchors were D&L (remember it very well) which became 3D Bed & Bath now Bed Bath & Beyond (original building and former mall entrance actually still exist!). Other side was Sage-Allen, then Bob's which is still there. Has a center anchor too which was Cherry & Webb (hated that store because my mom dragged me in there whenever we went there).

Whle I'm not a fan of lifestyle arrangements, various changes along the Avon/44 corridor were kicking its butt including the 1994-built Avon Marketplace right behind it. Nod Brook Mall, another outdoor mall down the way a plaza over from the former Caldor, was also killing the Farmington Valley Mall. In the end, it's probably best this mall was de-indoored because the lot is typically packed because of the strong anchorage of Borders, Bob's, BB&B (lots of Bs there!) and Hoyts. The Stop & Shop needs a renovation - I think it entered behind the mall in the early 90s.

We had a few cars from Hoffman Toyota in our time and whenever we got our car(s) serviced, it was either wait in the stale-coffee wait room with screamy kids or go across the street to the mall which we did. They used to have a decent arcade there. Actually, that hallway is still there as a security hall but the arcade has since become a nail salon and the other parcel belongs to "mall security".

I miss it, especially the awesome Walgreens (before they expanded beyond reason) and corner Luna Pizza parcel. The mall had a Friendly's too next to it and a Kay-Bee.  A few stores stuck with the revival effort but have since collapsed (Kay Bee has been vacant for years now). My guess is that the place is probably too expensive to rent being in upper-income Avon/Simsbury.

I've been trying to compile info on this mall for my site so any furhter info you've got I'll include it. I would kill to see some vintage photos of this mall even though I remember it's primarly brown interior scarred in my memory. To my knowledge, it stayed 70s until they demalled it.
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Marc82
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 08:06:23 PM »

I remember when it was the mall. Pathetic.
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d_fife
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 12:03:52 AM »

Quote
Originally posted by Marc82
I remember when it was the mall. Pathetic.


I just read that bradlees was in this mall.
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XISMZERO
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 03:40:22 PM »

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Originally posted by d_fife

I just read that bradlees was in this mall.


Where'd you read that? I once thought there may have been a Bradlees in the Bob's space. But I'm really not too sure now. Come to think of it, there were none in the area and Stop & Shop, its once parent company, was right behind the mall. I need some confirmation...
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Marc82
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2007, 06:38:18 PM »

I don't think it's mall security. I believe it's the Simsbury Police department.

I remember D&L, KB, Walgreens, Luna Pizza, Friendly, Cherry & Webb, Browns Optical (a newer tenant), Bishop Travel, The Gap, The Arcade, Themes (a gift shop), Bob's, a kiosk in the middle that sold candy, 3D Bed & Bath, and that's all I can remember. *LOL* Oh and in the last years of the mall Luna Pizza operated a Hotdog joint next to Walgreens.  I remember The Gap closed and moved next door to The Avon Marketplace. When 3D Bed & Bath moved to the old D&L their location became a store called The China Shop. Other locations included Meriden Square, Brassmill Mall, and Torrington Commons.  China Shop became part of Simsbury Commons, but has since closed. I think the only location left if Brassmill Mall.
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2007, 08:08:15 PM »

Don't know if it's security or a police office but here's a sign on what might've been a former office. Took this way back in April 2006.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 08:12:07 PM »

Here's the former mall entrance to Bed, Bath & Beyond. It appears they're operating out of the very same building D&L once did.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 08:13:34 PM »

The former mid-mall entrance now a security hallway. There was once an arcade where you see that door on the right. Across from it was a "Themes" gift shop.
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 08:15:10 PM »

Here's the other, sealed entrance to what was once D&L still there today on the BB&B parcel! This was sealed up even back when I remember coming to the mall as a kid.
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Marc82
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 09:50:19 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by XISMZERO
Here's the other, sealed entrance to what was once D&L still there today on the BB&B parcel! This was sealed up even back when I remember coming to the mall as a kid.


Yeah I remember that too. I thought it was odd.  I also thought it was odd how D&L had the main level and then like a lower level. From the Mall Map that was in the main entrence by Walgreens I too was under the impression that Stop & Shop was attached to the mall.

I just remember a couple more stores that were in the mall. Radio Shaft (as us who have worked in radio have called it), a hair salon, and I think Weathervane or Jeans West. And I think there was a Record Town, which I think became a nail salon.
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2007, 01:09:58 PM »

Hmm...

     back in 1996, I believe, WTIC had their 'Salvation Army Gift Store' at the mall.

JimS
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2007, 07:26:04 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by Marc82
Quote
Originally posted by XISMZERO
Here's the other, sealed entrance to what was once D&L still there today on the BB&B parcel! This was sealed up even back when I remember coming to the mall as a kid.


Yeah I remember that too. I thought it was odd.  I also thought it was odd how D&L had the main level and then like a lower level. From the Mall Map that was in the main entrence by Walgreens I too was under the impression that Stop & Shop was attached to the mall.

I just remember a couple more stores that were in the mall. Radio Shaft (as us who have worked in radio have called it), a hair salon, and I think Weathervane or Jeans West. And I think there was a Record Town, which I think became a nail salon.



I think Stop & Shop was added sometime in the early 1990's. Pretty sure it was always an outparcel, inaccessible from the interior of the mall. Bob's always blocked it. There was a Record Town (very small one too), it was right near the middle mall entrance corridor (where that police hallway is now). Kaybee was on the furthest end next to D&L and Luna Pizza was across on a corner parcel. Walgreens co-anchored the mall entrance corridor on the D&L side.

I also remember the mall having wooden fence-like faux skylight (artificial made to look natural) over the seating/planter areas right outside Bob's. I'm certain this mall was dark looking. Towards the end of the mall's life, I seem to remember Bob's sealing its entrance to the mall - not a big surprise at all.

Does anyone remember when Bob's opened? I seem to remember 1994, a year after Sage Allen croaked.
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Marc82
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2007, 09:22:57 PM »

Not sure what year Bob's opened. I remember when I was young I saw a billboard somewhere for BOB STORES and it say AVON/SIMSBURY now open. (Maybe somewhere on Route 6 in Bristol was the billboard).

I remember sending one of those comments/suggestion cards to BOB's headquarters suggesting that they open in the former Sears store at the Centre Mall in Bristol. I remember getting a note back saying thanks for the suggestion and that they'd look into it. (Too bad they didn't).

It was weird being in the store last week. I was trying to remember it when it was the mall store. (Unfortuantely like most places, they don't sell my size).

Yes I remember the mall was dark and depressing.
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Marc82
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2007, 02:37:25 PM »

Had to go to Verizon in the Avon Marketplace to get a new cell phone today. We also stopped at Borders in the Simsbury Commons. When did Famous Footwear open?
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Aaron
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2007, 02:58:21 PM »

Hello everyone,

Here's my recollection of the Farmington Valley Mall.

  • It was a 272,374 square foot mall with several front entrances and a rear corridor entrance that brought you into the mall. The exterior walls were a light white/gray brick with dark grey/brown paneling at the top.
  • The mall's interior was rather dark. The floor was primarily hardwood, although grey and yellow brick as well as tile was used in some locations.
  • Over its lifespan, its major anchors included Sage-Allen, Cherry & Webb, Three D Bed and Bath, Bob's Stores, D&L, and Walgreens. Other shops included RadioShack, Regis Hairstylists, Weathervane, The China Shop, Themes gift shop, Bishop Travel, Brown's Optical, Waldenbooks, Kay-Bee Toy Outlet, Luna Pizza, Friendly Ice Cream, a small Record Town, and an arcade.
  • A kiosk situated in the middle of the mall floor, Joanne's Nuthouse, offered things like truffles, nuts, chocolates, and candies sold by the pound.
  • Luna Pizza, located near the east end of the mall, had a fairly large seating area outside the storefront with plenty of tables and chairs that one could sit down and eat at.
  • The Friendly Ice Cream shop consisted only of a counter and waiting line and did not offer any actual food items.
  • Sage-Allen was a mall anchor until the store went bankrupt. At some point, Cherry & Webb moved to a location down the road; its spot was filled by Three D Bed and Bath until D&L went out of business. When this happened, Three D Bed and Bath moved into the D&L location.
  • The was once a Gap store in the mall until it moved next door when the Avon Marketplace shopping plaza was built.
  • Construction to transform the mall into an open-air plaza named 'Simsbury Commons' began around spring of 1999 and ended in late 1999. During the construction process, many stores remained open; to get to Bob's or Bishop Travel you would walk into the mall's rear corridor entrance, then through a temporary white hallway and follow signs to get where you needed to go.
  • Stores that survived the transition included Bob's Stores, Bishop Travel, Luna Pizza, KB Toys, Regis Hairstylists, The China Shop, Brown's Optical, and Walgreens (moved into a new standalone building). New additions to the plaza included Hoyts Cinema, Borders Books/Music/Cafe, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Chili's Bar and Grill.
  • Elements of the old mall that still remain today are the shape of the Bed Bath & Beyond building (it retained the same shape as the old D&L store, with front and side entrances), the position of Bob's Stores (it's in the same exact position as it was in the old mall days... just the entrance and everything around it changed - this made it easy during the construction process), and the rear entrance corridor which once brought you into the mall (now it just connects the front and rear of the plaza).
  • If you go into that corridor today (and the horrible nail salon isn't open), you can still smell a scent that is reminiscent of the interior of the old Farmington Valley Mall. I'm not sure why. (But if the nail salon is open, you'll just smell nose-stinging nail polish.)
  • On the west side of the lot, adjacent to the shopping center is a Stop & Shop supermarket. This has never been connected to the mall or plaza.
I've included some media that I whipped up:



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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2007, 03:16:53 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by Aaron
Hello everyone,

Here's my recollection of the Farmington Valley Mall.


Impressive recounting of the mall. You certainly remember it well, more so than I do. I brushed up on Farmington Valley Mall with a friend of mine today, she remembered the dark, dingy decor here amongst other things.

I don't remember this "bell" logo you're touting. It had this gaudy earthtoned "rainbow" logo which was actually the 70's version of a horse-buggy.

Here's an old newspaper ad featuring the logo from November 1, 1972.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2007, 03:19:34 PM »

Farmington Valley Mall; Christmas 1972. Newspaper ad rom Hartford Courant.
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Aaron
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2007, 03:28:42 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by XISMZERO
I don't remember this "bell" logo you're touting. It had this gaudy earthtoned "rainbow" logo which was actually the 70's version of a horse-buggy.


Ah, that's right! I couldn't exactly remember what the logo was like - all I remembered was that it had orange/yellow colors and was rounded at the top, so somehow the image of a bell popped into mind. It was absolutely that rainbow/wagon logo. Thanks for sharing the ads :dizzy:

// EDIT - I've updated the graphics in my original post to reflect the logo more accurately.
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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2007, 10:14:23 PM »

I'm entirely certain Cherry & Webb faced Bushy Hill Road. I like your updated logo of the mall... really brings a nice tribute to the ol' mall.

In that picture, you see those grooved (pebbled) walls? Remember those?! I sure do...
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2008, 10:39:58 PM »

The Farmington Valley Mall was the #1 hang-out/shopping place of my youth, I spent loads of time there thru the years. I have memories from the late 70's til the end. Here are some of my recollections

- The Mall had three main anchors. Grants, Sage-Allen, D&L. Grants was where Bob's is today. In the early 80's Grants was replaced by Bradlees, then in the 90's by Bob's. Sage-Allen was the middle store anchor, replaced by Cherry & Webb. D&L is already well covered in this thread.

- Here is my tour of the mall. Going into the mall through the main entrance between D&L and Medi-Mart (later Walgreens). After heading through the doors here is what was along the right side. Immediately on the right in the corner was a Woodywoodpecker cartoon booth. It played Cartoons from a built in Super 8 sound projector. D&L occupied the whole right wall. Getting past D&L brought you to the back wall stores which started with a Kay-Bee, heading left from there Radio Shack, then a salon, next was at least at one point Pier-One, then Bennent's (later Hallmark?, later Waldenbooks?), Fuzzy about the next few stores though one was a Record Town for awhile right before the back exit corridor. Going down the back corridor all the way toward the back exit, On the left was the Olan Mills studio (later several gift shop type stores), on the right was a barbor shop (later a T-shirt shop then most memorably the Arcade). Heading back to the main corridor and continuing, A shoe place (changed several times), next location doesn't ring a bell, last store on the back wall was Paperback Book Smith (this awesome, and totally out of place store left in the late 80's I believe). After that you go left on the right was the large Grant's entrance (later Bradlees then Bob's), Continuing  were a couple of stores that don't ring a bell but there was Bank on the right  right before you left through the other main entrance. The Bank had a direct entrance from outside too. Once here outside to the right was a Fabric store. This store, although connected to the mall building, had no mall access. I believe is was So-Fro Fabrics for some time. Going back into the mall with the bank on your left, the right side wall was blank here as it was Sage-Allens with no entrance after hanging a right around the corner you eventually came to (you of course would run your hand along that ultra gritty stone wall as you walk) the large Sage-Allen entrance, after that ??, then Friendly's, then a space that changed alot but was Lady Foot Locker at the end, then there was a weird double corner, first corner was a Jewelry store, the second was Luna Pizza (may have been Papa Jons earlier?), then turning right was a Package store, then a narrow corridor where the Bathrooms where, then lastly back to Medi-Mart last on the right before back outside. Did that make any sense, lol.

- Going through the middle in front of Radio Shack/Kay-Bee on the first corner was a rest area. It was square with benches on each side on the outside, They had plants (fake?) around the edge, the inside of this area was used for meetings/card shows and other goofy stuff, later I think they had tables/chairs in there. continuing down the center corridor, in the late 80's a sport card kiosk held a spot sort of in front of Friendlys and Bennets. A couple other kiosks cropped up in the middle over time. The central area in front of Sage-Allens, when it open space, was often used for various set-ups like those giant enclosed trampoline-like tents that kids use to go in and jump around til they puked. These type of things disappeared when America went lawsuit crazy. Just past the back entrance corridor in the center was the Jo-Anns Nuthouse kiosk, then in front of Grants was another of the square type rest areas however this one had a stairs leading DOWN. Yes, there was a small lower lever under the floors here. There was even an active store down there way back when. By the late70's/early 80's this weird bottom level was vacant but we kids could still run up & down the stairs. Then they put a chain fence to stop people from going down there. Phew...

Other tidbits

- Paperback Book Smith was a favorite. This was kind of like a dead head store, T-shirts, records, posters and other junk up front, dusty books occupied the whole back of the store. This store was out of place. Huge blow (to me) when it left, snooty lady shoppers probably rejoiced.

- In the pre Arcade days there was several arcade games near the entrance area inside Grants/Bradlees. This always drew big crowds of kids. Galaxian was there. I remember you could wait all evening and be lucky to get in one or two games as so many others were waiting. It was a hoppin place. My mother claims there were arcade games in another area in the olden days??  

- The Arcade, this was my mainstay and the only thing that kept me coming back even to the bitter end. The spot was indeed a Barber shop, then a T-shirt shop briefly I believe, when the arcade came in YIKES was that place fn packed. The place was so crowded it was downright nutty on weekends (no cable TV, no internet will do that). You had to wade through people bumping shoulders and hope to find an open game. Galaga, Mrs PacMan, Berserk, Pin-Bot, Championship Baseball were some of my favorites. The crowds dwindled over the years and eventually it was just a scene from Dawn of the Dead. Originally the arcade used quarters then switched to tokens at some point.

-Another Arcade tidbit, In the late 80's the owner started a weekly contest where the person with the highest score on the basketball machine (the one where you physically shot real basketballs into a hoop, each good shot worth two points but for the last 15 seconds each shot was 3 pts.) won 5 dollars worth of tokens free. This turned out to be great for me big mistake for the owner. I nearly won it every stinkin week, really, if you tried and failed it was me you couldn't beat. This contest didn't last too long. hehe

- To this day I still use a Wallet purchased at Sage-Allens in the mid 80's. I refuse to part with it even though its falling apart badly. Weird.

Yeah the Farmington Valley Mall was dark & dreary but it holds the most memories for me.
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2008, 11:01:26 AM »

Quote
Originally posted by farmingtonvalleymall
...was Luna Pizza (may have been Papa Jons earlier?)


Papa Gino's was here from the start, then it became Luna's Pizza all the way until the final days.

Outstanding recollection of the early years (I don't even remember a lower level/staircase area). You know it hadn't changed too much from when I was a kid and went there in the 90's. Well, it seemed less crowded, but dark, dreary, and outdated beyond it's years.

I didn't know for sure but always suspected there was a Bradlees here until last year when I did some research on the mall and confirmed it. Bradlees, who took over Grants (like you mentioned) in 1982 only lasted until 1992 because the mall location was reportedly an underperformer.

Grants closed in 1976 with the chain and then King's took over.

Here's an ad from the Hartford Courant of when they opened in September 1982 (another big expansion/takeover/inherited year for Bradlees).
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2008, 07:18:58 PM »

Thinking some more I believe that lower lever under the floor in front of Bradlees was eventually covered over with boards. They probably had some fake plants all over so nobody would notice, that's probably all you ever saw and never suspected a thing. But it was certainly there.
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 10:29:24 AM »

Had to go to Verizon in the Avon Marketplace to get a new cell phone today. We also stopped at Borders in the Simsbury Commons. When did Famous Footwear open?


5 years later Famous Footwear closed in July 2012 due to poor sales.

http://simsbury.patch.com/articles/famous-footwear-in-simsbury-to-close-july-21
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2013, 10:34:42 AM »

A current list of tenants in the Simsbury Commons can be here.

http://edens.com/centers/CT/Simsbury/Simsbury-Commons#tabSitePlan

Homegoods is listed as being in the former Border's, but has yet to open.
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 07:10:08 AM »

1980 mall ad

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« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2014, 01:44:26 PM »

A current list of tenants in the Simsbury Commons can be here.

http://edens.com/centers/CT/Simsbury/Simsbury-Commons#tabSitePlan

Homegoods is listed as being in the former Border's, but has yet to open.

Looks like Party City is taking over the former Famous Footwear and Hallmark Stores. I knew Famous closed and only heard rumors about Hallmark closing. It marks Party City's return to the Route 44 area. They shut down a store in Avon some years ago.
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2017, 06:35:17 AM »

There are now only two vacancies left. One is a really small space under 1,000 Square Feet. The other is a little under 3,000 Square feet.
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Brammy
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