KARCHER MALL
Caldwell Boulevard and West Karcher Road
Nampa, Idaho

The Gem State's first shopping mall was built by the Nampa-based Daum Development Corporation. It was constructed on a 34.9 acre tract, located 19 miles west of downtown Boise, in the city of Nampa.

KARCHER MALL, a single-level, fully-enclosed structure, originally encompassed approximately 103,000 leasable square feet. Its first tenants, Kinney Shoes and a (34,000 square foot) Buttrey's Super Store grocery, opened for business August 26, 1965. By September, eleven stores and services, including a Sprouse-Reitz 5 & 10 and Tempo variety store, were in operation.

Construction commenced on a eastward addition in February, 1968. This was to add nineteen stores, including Singer Sewing Center, Skagg's Drug Center and Jay Vee Women's Wear. The centerpiece of the expansion was a 2-level (140,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, which was dedicated in October 1968.

The Penney's ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by Harry Daum, the mall's developer. The mayors of the cities of Caldwell and Nampa were also in attendance, as was Karen Ryder, "Miss Idaho 1969".

In late 1969, the mall's variety store was rebranded as a Rasco Tempo. 3 years later, work got underway on a second eastward extension. This would include a 1-level (60,000 square foot) Seattle-based The Bon Marche, a Boise-based Falk's Idaho department store, Virgil O'Dell Red & Blue Twin Cinemas and nineteen new stores. The addition opened for business August 3, 1973.

The KARCHER property, which now encompassed 545,000 leasable square feet, was the exclusive regional-class shopping mall in the Boise-Nampa metropolis for several years. In 1970, a community-class complex, WESTGATE CENTER, opened for business in Boise.

The superregional BOISE TOWN SQUARE {15.8 miles east, in Boise} was completed in 1988. KARCHER MALL now had its first true commercial competitor. The new super mall immediately snatched J.C. Penney, the primary anchor of KARCHER, along with several inline stores. To add insult to injury, BOISE TOWN SQUARE was expanded, to 1,170,000 square feet, with additions in 1998 and 2000.

KARCHER MALL persevered. The first level of the old Penney's spot was leased to Eugene, Oregon-based Troutman's Emporium ("The Emporium") in the late 1980s. Other KARCHER MALL stores during this time frame included Pay Less Drug, Sears Appliance Outlet, Orange Julius and the Red Baron Video Arcade.

The shopping hub was in foreclosure by the mid-1990s. It was bought and sold several times, with a major renovation done in 1998. This 10 million dollar project included the installation of an upper level Food Court and new Main Entrance.

Vacant spaces were leased to new retailers. Intermountain Sports replaced the old Woolworth, which had been sitting empty since 1997. Jo-Ann Fabrics assumed the PayLess Drug space, vacant since 1996. Big 5 Sporting Goods filled the storefront vacated by Sears Catalog & Appliance in 2003.

KARCHER MALL soon lost Troutman's Emporium. Pleasanton, California-based Ross Dress For Less leased the old Buttrey's Food location in 2004 . The mall's west anchor was rebannered as a Bon-Macy's on August 1, 2003 before being fully "Macy-ated" March 6, 2005.

The shopping hub changed hands four more times. Its current owner, Anaheim, California's Milan Properties, began a refurbishment in mid-2007. A much more ambitious remodeling, which had been proposed by the previous owners, was scrapped.

Milan's scaled-down renovation concentrated on a face lift of the interior, remodeling of entrances and painting of the exterior of the structure. The 14 million dollar project was completed in the spring of 2008, just in time to herald the opening of new Burlington Coat Factory and Steve & Barry's University Sportswear stores. Unfortunately, Steve & Barry's went bust after only 11 months.

The cinema space, which had operated as the Karcher Reel Theatre until February 2000, re-opened, as the Northern Lights Cinema Grill, in September 2009. The primary Macy's store had been shuttered October 14 of the same year.

Macy's had moved to the new open-air NAMPA GATEWAY CENTER {4.3 miles east, in Canyon County}. A KARCHER MALL Macy's Clearance Center remained intact, for a time. Meanwhile, a second commercial competitor came on the scene. The TREASURE VALLEY MARKETPLACE power center {.7 mile northeast, in Nampa} opened for business in August 2010.

The Macy's Clearance Center at KARCHER MALL was finally shuttered in July 2014. Apparently, Discount Furniture, Mattress & Carpet moved from an original location, in the old Steve & Barry's space, to the vacated Macy's Clearance Center. The primary Macy's store became a Mor Furniture For Less in June 2016.

Sources:

"Karcher Mall" article on Wikipedia
Canyon County, Idaho property tax assessor website
www.cinematreasures.org
www.idahopress.com
http://www.baumrealty.com (Baum Brothers LLC)
http://www.rinconadadevelopment.com (Rinconada Development, LLC)