Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Richland Mall Waco Tx

Continuing with the Central Texas Waco/Temple/Kileen area posts we have Richland Mall in Waco Texas which opened in 1980. This is the largest of the Waco/Temple/Kileen area malls at over 700,000 square feet of space. The mall was undergoing a significant renovation on my visit to a plain vanilla color scheme. 

 None of the malls in this region have much history available online. They will finally get their 15 minutes of fame on this blog. One of the Dillard's stores was formerly a Wilson's/Service Merchandise store, my guess is that the Dillard's Men's store was the one.

Road side sign
Dillard's Women's Store
A two story Sears store.
Dillard's Men's Store
JCPenney with the mirrored glass entrance. As you can see the mall was under construction so I did not get to see much of the finished product.
The JCPenney corridor facing the center court.
The Sears corridor facing the center court.
The Sears corridor.
The former JCPenney auto center.
The other side of the former JCPenney auto center.
The mall entrance near JCPenney.
The JCPenney corridor looking out from the store entrance.
The center court of the mall.
The entrance to the Dillard's Women's Store
An old school food court sign looks out of place with the new remodel scheme.
The directory.
Bonus pictures, Christmas displays at Sears.


  1. Thanks for the pictures of the mall.‭ ‬I know you’ve mentioned that the Sears at this mall has a similar design to the Baybrook Mall Sears at least in the sense that the exterior doors are out on the corners of the building.‭ ‬This Sears is only a couple years older than the Baybrook Sears so I guess that makes a little sense.‭ ‬It’s hard to tell from the pictures,‭ ‬but I’m guessing that the Waco Sears has not seen the same renovations as the Baybrook Mall Sears.‭

    It looks like the new tiling at the mall is very similar to the new tiling at Almeda Mall in Houston.‭ ‬I guess that isn’t a big surprise either though since mall redesigns follow certain trends.‭ ‬The mall doesn’t look super interesting,‭ ‬but it does some interesting interior architectural features.‭ ‬The Food Source sign is an interesting throwback.‭ ‬I wonder if they’ll remove that sign at some point.‭

    1. The first floor of the store is similar, but the second floor is smaller than the Baybrook Sears. Even the optometrist and escalators near the entrance door are the same as in the Baybrook store.

      I think the food court sign will be replaced, but you never know. Sometimes an old mall entrance or street sign survives a remodel.

  2. Looks almost identical to Broadway Square Mall in Tyler.

    1. It has some similarities, but this mall is slightly larger.

  3. I was shocked to see sears is extremely upscale in Canada with cosmetics and a lot of designer brands even there stores look good
    why don't they do that in the USA maybe sears would get a better image from the traditional appliance store.

    1. Thanks for sending that photo over. The entrance to that store looks much more upscale than Sears stores here in the US.

      Sears does not have a lot of money left to improve stores and does patchwork improvements from time to time. A repainted department here a new sign there, but no full store remodels. Sears has been experimenting with new departments so hopefully it will help them gain money to start remodeling stores again.

  4. The Sears Canada stores are more upscale than the US Sears stores, but there are a lot of factors behind that. For one, Sears has brought out and had/has relationships with upscale Canadian department stores. Thus, the Canadian stores may have to appeal to the customers that used to shop at those upscale stores. Plus, they may have more relationships with the upscale vendors in Canada.

    Also, the discount store landscape in Canada has been even more brutal than it has in the US. Walmart is just about the only one that has had any success along with a few other more specialized local chains like Canadian Tire. Walmart themselves basically took over the struggling Woolco Canada chain. Zellers took over the struggling Kmart Canada chain, but Zellers themselves no longer exists. Target Canada, which had some former Zellers locations, was a failure of epic proportions. Target Canada made Kmart's US operations look highly competent. So, anyway, maybe Sears Canada does not want to compete at the discount store level.

    Sears Canada is somewhat independent from Sears Holdings. Sears only has about a 50% stake in Sears Canada. There have been rumors for quite sometime now that Sears Holdings will lessen their ownership too. We'll see, but it is a pretty different store than the US ones.

    Some Sears Canada stores eliminated electronics a couple years back. Sears US stores have been slowly reducing electronics over the years, but they all have something still. We'll have to see how that goes.

    1. Thanks for giving us a more detailed reason why Sears in Canada is more upscale than here in the US.

      I wonder why so many discount chains have trouble in Canada? It seems like discount chains are everywhere here in the US, and they continue to grow.

    2. Wal-Mart has done well in Canada,‭ ‬but other American and Canadian discounters have struggled there.‭ ‬I’ve done some reading about the subject back when Target Canada closed,‭ ‬but I certainly don’t claim to have any expertise on the subject.‭ ‬Anyway,‭ ‬the thought from the business websites at the time that Target Canada closed is that their pricing was too high and the product selection wasn’t well thought out.‭ ‬Canada has higher transportation and labor costs and perhaps American discounters try to use American models for Canada when it doesn’t really work.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬I think the shoppers over there differ in various areas more than American shoppers.‭ ‬For example,‭ ‬the tastes of shoppers in Quebec are probably quite different than that of places like Alberta.‭ ‬Perhaps that makes it difficult to buy in bulk and get the appropriate merchandise in the right stores.‭

      There’s a small chain of discount stores in Canada called Giant Tiger that operates Alco-like stores.‭ ‬They’re one of the few discounters who’ve had some success aside from Wal-Mart.‭ ‬Giant Tiger uses franchising and they also allow managers to merchandise their stores so they have the right goods for the community.‭ ‬Perhaps that is the right model for discounters in Canada,‭ ‬but it’s quite different from the ridged nature of American discount stores.

      Also,‭ ‬I’ve heard that Canadian shoppers are quite loyal to their grocery stores.‭ ‬I think American shoppers are too,‭ ‬but perhaps it’s even more so the case in Canada.‭ ‬I know stores like Kroger and HEB are trying to compete with the discount stores more and more so that might become a thing here too.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬maybe the mass merchandise discounters in Canada struggle to convince shoppers to do all their shopping under one roof when they’d prefer to do grocery shopping at the grocery stores and buy hardware/housewares type stuff at a place like Canadian Tire.‭

      It should also be noted that Sears Canada is struggling just like the American Sears.‭ ‬They may be struggling even more so than the American stores.‭ ‬Thus,‭ ‬I’m not really sure if the Sears Canada stores are a model for the American stores.‭ ‬Although American Sears stores have never been considered as upscale to other department stores like Dillard’s and Foley’s,‭ ‬they were a tad bit more upscale prior to the Lampert era.‭ ‬Perhaps Lampert sees the current model as being the best.‭ ‬Plus,‭ ‬there may be some crossover effects from having Kmart on the same team.

  5. I used to work at the Sears store in Waco. I was there when they remodeled the store back in 2002. Really nice people to work for and work with. It makes me sad to see Sears in the shape it is today.

    1. The Sears in Waco is one of the nicer stores in the company, I can see why now since they updated in 2002. Richland Mall has a lot of potential these days with H&M moving in. Hopefully Sears will be there for several more years.