West 41st Street and South Western Avenue
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Minnesota's Crawford-Mertz Company developed the Mount Rushmore State's first regional-class, fully-enclosed shopping facility. The complex was built on 34.8 acres, located 2.4 miles southwest of downtown Sioux Falls.

Construction commenced on the WESTERN MALL project on November 1, 1967. The complex opened, with twenty-five initial stores, October 31, 1968. WESTERN MALL encompassed approximately 380,000 leasable square feet and, when fully leased, contained fifty-two stores and services.

The primary anchor was a 1-level (78,100 square foot) Montgomery Ward, which had opened for business October 3, 1968. There were also a 1-level (35,500 square foot) Britts department store and 1-level (56,700 square foot) Tempo variety store.

Charter inline stores included Three Sisters ladies' wear, Geyerman's, Olson's Clothing, OK Hardware, Brodie's, Walgreen Drug, the Fireside Lounge, Zales Jewelers, Musicland, Bostwick's apparel, Stewart's Beauty Salon and Mode O' Day Frock Shop.

The single-screen ABC West Mall Theatre showed its first feature November 22, 1968. A second auditorium was added, which opened December 25, 1974. The venue was now known as the Western Mall Theatres 1 & 2. A third auditorium was created in 1984.

The glory days for WESTERN MALL were short. In 1975, SIOUX EMPIRE PLAZA {.6 mile west, in Sioux Falls} was completed. SIOUX EMPIRE quickly established itself as the region's preeminent retail hub. Expansions opened in 1978 and 1988 increased its size to around 1 million leasable square feet.

Meanwhile, at WESTERN MALL, the first anchor nameplate change involved the Tempo store. It was rebranded as a Rasco-Tempo in September 1969. The location was shuttered in 1979.

The next major change at the shopping center took place March 25, 1979, when the Britts space re-opened as a Sioux Falls-based Shriver's. This store lasted until April 1986. The space became a Richfield, Minnesota-based Best Buy in the late 1980s.

Inline store space in the southeast corner of the mall was reconfigured as a new movie house. The Mid Continent Theatres (Midco) Western Mall 7 showed its first features June 24, 1988. Montgomery Ward had closed their WESTERN MALL store July 29, 1981. It was replaced by an Omaha-based 1/2 Price Store. By the year 2000, this had been shuttered.

The mall was acquired by a joint venture, headed by Bill Hinks (of Sioux Falls), in 1993. Mr. Hinks eventually established full ownership of the property.

The Rasco-Tempo space at WESTERN MALL housed a Phar-Mor Drug for several years. This went dark in 2002. Best Buy expanded and retenanted the structure. The old Ward's building was demolished and replaced with a 3-level (109,000 square foot), Fargo-based Scheels All Sports Megastore. This opened in November 2002.

In August 2005, the East Wing mallway at WESTERN MALL was closed off. South Dakota Furniture Mart expanded into the space. By the Twenty-tens, Scheels All Sports was planning a major expansion of their mall store.

Construction began in September 2012. The existing building was doubled in size, to 200,000 square feet, with a south side addition. The new super-sized superstore would include a 45 foot-high ferris wheel, shooting gallery, mini-bowling alley and various sports simulators (golf, baseball, football and hockey).

Moreover, lines of sporting goods, outdoor footwear and apparel were greatly expanded. Topping off the new store's many features were Gramma Gina's Cafe and Starbucks Coffee. The new Scheels Superstore held its grand opening in May 2014.


The Argus Leader                          
Minnehaha County, South Dakota property tax assessor website
Comment posts by "Bill In Jax" and "Lefty"