The Bygone Mall Stores That Lubbock Misses the Most (Part 1)
It's the mid-90s. Your pants are extremely low, but also extremely wide. Your overly protected wallet is chained to you like a spiky ball to a morningstar, and your Airwalks are untied. You've lapped the South Plains Mall chatting with your friends for hours, and for hours of entertainment, you've spent about $10 on a clearance Nirvana t-shirt and a bag of shark gummies. Life is WONDERFUL.
Many of us miss those pre-decent internet days and the analog shopping that came with them. After the year we've had, we really miss seeing people in person. The mall was a huge part of many of our childhood and teenage years. Each store was carefully curated to fit a certain look, feel, mood and even identity. I asked a ton of people (at least 50) what stores they missed the most, and here are some of the answers. For fun, I've totally stereotyped who went where.
Nerds, Sensitive Types and Future STEM Majors miss Nature's Gifts. It was by far the most popular answer, and it was my number 1 answer as well. Full of fascinating gift-type items, such as loose semi-precious stones, plushies of exotic animals and mini-glitter tornados in bottles, it was a place to pick things up and poke at, imagine and explore.
Reformed emos and goths miss the "original" Hot Topic. While we still technically have a Hot Topic at the South Plains Mall, it's majorly changed its image over the years, and with that, its stock. Gone are the gates, the pseudo-thrash metal logo and, really, all the edge. In the long-ago times, you could buy records, comic books and overpriced Tripp pants to scandalize your mother with. Now, it's the Disney store with hair dye, which brings me to the next store.
Theater kids and people who were toddlers at the time miss The Disney Store. It's always befuddled me why this store ever went away. It was always popular, and now more than ever there's a huge demand for everything Disney. The massive display of plushies always called to me to just throw myself into them. Wanting to retain my mall privileges, I always somehow kept it together.
Introverts and Type-Bs miss Waldenbooks. Sure, there's an enormous Barnes & Noble at the South Plains Mall, but it's pretty busy and fairly exposed, as it has an outside-the-mall entrance. Waldenbooks was downright private, so you could creep the vanilla erotica books in peace.
People who now have back and knee problems miss Gadzooks. Ah, so you thought you were really cool as a skater? Now your knees are busted and bloated silica gel packets. Gadzooks also had some of the best alternative fashion, but it was all built for teeny skinny people. Like 5/7/9, but significantly cooler. I still have a bowling ball purse from 90s Gadzooks that's black glitter. I miss everything being black glitter.
There were many more wonderful answers that are totally worth exploring, so be on the lookout for part 2 of my list of defunct Lubbock mall stores.