HOLIDAY VILLAGE CENTER
10th Avenue South / US 89 and 9th Street South
Great Falls, Montana

One of the first shopping malls in the Treasure State was developed by a joint venture of Great Falls' John T. Mitchell, Theodore J. Mitchell and Don F. Robinson. HOLIDAY VILLAGE CENTER was built on 20.8 acres, located .8 mile southeast of downtown Great Falls.

A 92,000 square foot, open-air strip plaza comprised the first phase of the project. Its major tenants were a 1-level (40,000 square foot) Albertsons Food Center and 1-level (20,000 square foot) Albertsons Drug Center. These began business in November 1959. By January 1960, stores such as Rosana, Kops Music Mart, Holiday Jewel & Gifts and a Hested's 5 & 10 were in operation.

The second phase of HOLIDAY VILLAGE CENTER added a 2-level (99,000 square foot) Hested's, which replaced the circa-1960 store. This new Hested's began business on November 8, 1962.

The third and fourth phases of HOLIDAY VILLAGE CENTER would occupy an adjoining 20.8 acre plot. A 1-block section of 11th Street South, which divided the two parcels, was removed. The two blocks were then merged into a single 42 acre site.

A 2-level (81,900 square foot) Montgomery Ward was built, as a freestanding structure, on the west end of the expanded site. The store began business on September 28, 1966. Construction was soon underway on a fourth phase. A fully-enclosed West Wing, housing 105,000 leasable square feet, was built.

This section, which linked the original shopping hub and Montgomery Ward, added a 1-level (45,000 square foot) Buttrey-Osco Food & Drug to the north side of the complex and single-screen movie theater to the south.

On October 17, 1967, a section of the mall still under construction caught fire. It was quickly rebuilt, with the official grand opening of the shopping center delayed until December 20, 1967. On this day, the Fox Intermountain Holiday Theatre showed its first feature.

The next mall expansion added a 1-level (65,300 square foot), Havre, Montana-based Buttrey's Suburban department store. Built over the eastern half of the West Wing, it began business July 27, 1969.

Buttrey's Suburban morphed into a J.C. Penney on November 3, 1976. By this time, Hested's store had closed and been replaced by a St. Cloud, Minnesota-based Herberger's. In 1979, the Santa Monica-based Macerich Company acquired the shopping venue, now known as HOLIDAY VILLAGE MALL. The complex was given a face lift renovation.

In 1985, the Skaggs Drug Center was rebranded as a Chicago-based Osco Drug. This gave the mall two different Osco locations. In 1991, the original Buttrey-Osco Food & Drug was demolished and replaced by a 1-level (75,400 square foot) Sears. At this time, the shopping hub housed ninety-three stores and services.

The mall had no competitors during its early years. Other shopping centers in the area, such as WESTGATE MALL, EVERGREEN MALL or AGRI-VILLAGE CENTER, were community-class (or even smaller) properties. It wasn't until 1997 that anything resembling commercial competition came about. However, GREAT FALLS MARKETPLACE {3.1 miles southwest, in Great Falls} was also owned by Macerich.

At the turn of the century, many changes were in the works at HOLIDAY VILLAGE MALL. Montgomery Ward had been shuttered in 1999. Herberger's moved into its space in the year 2000, with their old store sitting vacant for over 6 years. Albertsons also vacated in 2000.

Osco Drug was rebranded, as a Woonsocket, Rhode, Island-based CVS, in late 2006. The mall, itself, had changed hands in July of the same year. Barrington, Illinois-based GK Development became the new proprietor.

By late 2007, all major vacancies had been retenanted. Fargo-based Scheels, who had operated a HOLIDAY VILLAGE store since 1968, remodeled the vacant Herberger's and opened for business February 10, 2007. Union, New Jersey-based Bed, Bath & Beyond took the old Scheels location in the East Wing. The Albertsons space became a Pleasanton, California-based Ross Dress for Less on April 12, 2007.

In early 2010, CVS shuttered their HOLIDAY VILLAGE store. The space was leased to Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots, who opened in November 2011. A major vacancy was created by the closing of Sears, on November 3, 2014.

The building was divided between a (48,100 square foot) Hobby Lobby, (19,100 square foot) PetSmart and two smaller inline stores. These made their debut in mid-2017. The 576,900 square foot mall encountered another large vacancy when Herberger's closed for good, in mid-2018.

Sources:

"Holiday Village Mall" article on Wikipedia
The Great Falls Tribune
www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"
www.cinematreasures.org
www.gkdevelopment.com