Northtown Mall: Blaine, MN

September 4, 2008
The Northtown Mall gives off that high class, puttin on the Ritz kind of vibes

With MGM Liquor as a neighbor, the Northtown Mall gives off that high class, puttin' on the Ritz kind of vibe.

Now that the Minnesota State Fair is over, us Minnesotans will have to wait an entire YEAR before we can see Minnesota’s best mullets, rat-tails, and muffin-tops on parade.

Don’t deny it – we all know you’re not going to the fair to oogle the riding lawnmowers or fawn over all that informerical shit in the bazaar. Quit kidding yourself; you go there for the PEOPLE WATCHING. And when the Minnesota State Fair shuts down for the season, the people-watching side show also shuts down. So how’s a people-watching afficiando supposed to get their jollies the other 50 weeks of the year? Well folks, I have the answer.

Come to the Northtown Mall.

Along with Billy Big Mouth Bass and mounted deer heads, these moving light pictures are a popular decoration in the typical Northtown Mall patrons homes

Along with Billy Big Mouth Bass and mounted deer heads, these moving light pictures are a popular fixture in the local homes

Normally, youd see at least 3 camaros with flamed-out paint jobs in the parking lot. I mustve visited on an off day

Normally, you'd see several Camaros with flamed-out paint jobs in the parking lot. I must've visited on an off day

Serving the exquisite north suburban communities of Spring Lake Park, Fridley, Coon Rapids, and Blaine, the Northtown Mall naturally attracts some very interesting clientele. Common creatures include -

  • Mulleted men in wife-beaters with a round can popping out of the back pocket of the wranglers (Chicks dig that)
  • Pregnant teens
  • Toby Keith fans
  • Middle-aged ladies with bottle-blonde frizz, teased mall bangs standing 8 inches high, hot-pink nails, and a stained NASCAR t-shirt pushing a stroller with 5 screaming brats fighting over a bag of rapidly cooling Burger King french fries.
Burlington Coat Factory sells CLASS and STYLE to Northtown Mall shoppers

Burlington Coat Factory sells CLASS and STYLE to Northtown Mall shoppers

See, it’s just like the people-watching at the state fair! Only in an enclosed, climate-controlled enviroment, open year-round! What fun.

110 stores? Really? I think someones doing a little fuzzy math here...

110 stores? Really? I think someone's doing a little fuzzy math here... (photo taken August, 2007)

OH NOES!

OH NOES! (2008, Herberger's remodel)

Herbergers is coming to save the mall! And hopefully help the Northtown shoppers dress like their from this decade)

Herberger's is coming to save the mall! And hopefully help the Northtown shoppers dress like they're from this decade)

Northtown Mall is a one-level mall, which opened in 1972 with a whopping 33 stores. It was remodeled in 1988 and, at the time, had 120 stores. Prior to this renovation, I’ve read that this mall was very dark & dreary (probably very Brookdale-esque), but I never visited this mall until 1992. I was a tween in 1992, and the best part about going to the Northtown Mall was checking out Spencer Gifts, Mr. Bulky, and Woolworth’s for their selection of “RUSS” Troll Dolls. Actually, I shouldn’t include Woolworth’s on that list – they only sold the “Treasure Troll” brand Troll Dolls, which weren’t as desirable as the Russ trolls. Anyway.

So if Brookdale is the Twin Cities’ ghetto mall, then Northtown is its trashy counterpart. I wouldn’t quite say it’s in Brookdale Center dead mall territory yet, but it has seen its better days. This isn’t a mall around which you’d plan your entire afternoon – unless you’re people-watching.

A popular hangout for Northtown Mall workers to take a smoke break

A popular smoke break hangout for Northtown Mall workers

Northtown’s anchors have seen a lot of turnaround. Here’s how some of the anchors have changed (I am going completely by memory – if you have corrections, please let me know!)
Donaldsons (closed early 90s) > Carson Piere Scott (closed early 90′s) > Mervyn’s (Closed 2004) > empty space/hallway/Banks (sealed off early 2008) > Herbergers
MainStreet (closed 1989) > Kohls (closed Summer 2004) > Burlington Coat Factory
HomeGoods (Closed 2001) > Steve & Barry’s (opened 2003)
Montgomery Wards (closed 2001) > sealed off > demolished to make way for Home Depot
Woolworth (closed early ’90s) > Best Buy

Ahoy, mateys! For some reason, Northtown had somewhat of a pirate theme back in the day

Ahoy, mateys!

Another view of old skool Northtown signage

Another view of old skool Northtown signage

Other former non-anchor stores in the Northtown Mall include:
Applebee’s (now moved to a location in the middle of the mall parking lot)
Petite Sophisticate
Casual Corner
First Barber Stylists
Some pet store, next to the hair salon
Mr. Bulky
Picadelly Circus Arcade
Kay Bee Toys
…I honestly can’t remember any other stores. If you know of any, please let me know!

The old Mervyns location was converted into a mall hallway. This was sealed up in 2008 to make room for the Herbergers

The old Mervyn's location was converted into a mall hallway. This was sealed up in 2008 to make room for the Herbergers

Another view of the creepy hallway, July 2007

Another view of the creepy hallway, July 2007

In 2006, this was a Banks store for a little while

In 2006, this was a "Banks" store for a little while

Today, Northtown mall keeps chuggin’ along. In the past year, LA Fitness and Home Depot have set up shop, as well as a new Herberger’s store that’s expected to open within the month. Sure, it’s a trashy mall, but it has character, which many of the new malls simply do not have. In all honesty, it might not be the prettiest place, but it’s an okay-place to shop. It’s safe, has your typical mall offerings, and it usually isn’t terribly crowded (especially when NASCAR races are on the boob tube).

Enjoy the rest of the photos! (Photos taken August 2008)

This way to Steve & Barrys!!! Hurry, quick! Ill-fitting highwater olive green chinos are on sale! ONLY $8.98 (or less!) Supplies are limited!

This way to Steve & Barry's!!! Hurry, quick! Ill-fitting highwater olive green chinos are on sale! ONLY $8.98 (or less!) Supplies are limited!

Northtown Mall has a kids play area with equipment that looks like a giant piece of shit in a blue bowl

Northtown Mall has a kids play area with equipment that looks like a giant piece of dog shit atop a blue bowl

Creepy mall hallways have been scaring Northtown shoppers for decades

Creepy mall hallways have been frightening Northtown shoppers for decades

Lockers at the mall. WTF. I suppose if all the lockers at LA Fitness are in use, you can stuff your gym bag in here

Lockers at the mall. WTF. I suppose if all the lockers at LA Fitness are in use, you can stuff your gym bag in here

Applebees is closed. Youll have to walk across the parking lot to get your microwaved dinner, folks

Applebee's is closed. You'll have to walk across the parking lot to get your microwaved dinner, folks

Another view of the dead Applebees

Another view of the dead Applebee's

Ladies, if youre looking to flirt with the Federline-type, pick up your man at the Northtown Best Buy! Hubba, hubba!

Ladies, if you're looking to flirt with the Federline-type, pick up a man at the Northtown Best Buy! Hubba, hubba!

The Northtown Bath & Body Works still uses the old store front

The Northtown Bath & Body Works still uses the old store front

Along with B&BW, Express hasnt updated its signage in years either. A rare sight indeed!

Speaking of old store fronts, Express hasn't updated its signage since 1986! A rare sight indeed! "Camgainge Internationale"

This shiny blue tiled wall once housed the Picadelly Circus arcade, ripping off thousands of teens back in its heyday

This shiny blue tiled wall once housed the Picadelly Circus arcade, ripping off thousands of teens back in its heyday

At Victorias Secret, they just dont leave you alone until theyve chased you around the store a few times and forced a black shopping bag in your hand

At Victoria's Secret, they just don't leave you alone until they've chased you around the store a few times and forced a black shopping bag in your hand

Seduce your man by picking up some new lingerie at Victorias Secert

Seduce your man by picking up some new polka dot lingerie at Victoria's Secret. That's hot.

Upon entering Victorias Secret, a perky sales associate will chase you around the store, pestering you to apply for an Angels card

Upon entering Victoria's Secret, a perky sales associate will chase you around the store, pestering you to apply for an Angels card

Radio Shack is still in business. I bet you could even find a VHS deck inside, if you looked hard enough!

Radio Shack is still in business. I bet you could even find a VHS deck inside, if you looked hard enough!

Another view of the cosmopolitan food court

A picturesque view of the cosmopolitan food court

Northtowns recently renovated food court

Northtown's recently renovated food court

Which way to the Dollar Tree?

Which way to the Dollar Tree?

Nothing says class better than an outfit from DEB

Nothing says "class" better than an outfit from DEB

This is where Kohls used to be.

This is where Kohls used to be.

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47 Responses to Northtown Mall: Blaine, MN

  1. The Old Scowl on September 21, 2008 at 5:12 AM

    Northtown (back in the day) had somewhat of a water theme. In the early 1980′s I recall two aquatic/nautical displays. One was an enormous aquarium or aquariums in the center of the main court. I have no idea of what fish were in there, but over time, it began to remind me more of a example of one of Minnesota’s small lakes, with gloomy, murky water, or algae crust on the glass. The second item was more historical. There was a showcase window type display in one of the creepy hallways that is now where Best Buy is that had a diorama of the RMS Titanic. It was at sea at night, and presumably minutes before hitting the iceberg. The thing looked to be 12 feet long, but it left long before I reached the age of figuring out dimensions of arcane sights in public places, which for a suburban Minnesotan male, would be about 11 years of age.

  2. Drew Williams on December 15, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    I always thought Northtown was a boring turd. Being from Mounds View, Apache and Brookdale were our usual haunts when Northtown was first built in ’72, but seeing as how it was a new mall, we gave it a try.

    Long story short, didn’t go back again until 1977 and then once again in ’80 before moving away. Three times in 35 years? I know what you’re thinking: once too much, shoulda’ skipped that ’77 visit. Agreed.

    In my opinion, Brookdale and Apache were much more attractive places in their primes than this bunghole has ever been. Should have torn this one down and saved Apache.

    • Tom Freeman on January 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      One of the original “anchor” stores was POWERS ! I worked there for a year or so. It was pretty much dead but it was an ok place. I am sorry it’s gone. When POWERS ceased to exist, I believe Mervyn’s took over the place? I liked Northtown. I liked the whole goddamn thing along with Montgomery Ward and the automotive repair area. Handy!

  3. Mike on December 16, 2008 at 5:48 PM

    Power’s was one of the original anchors, Donaldson’s bought them… I remember Team Electronics, Schaack electronics were in several malls… you list Wilson’s Leather, but it always sounded cooler when it was “Berman’s Buckskins”… and the Titanic display was in front of one of the anchor tenants… I heard a local newscast say the model was in storage but brought out for the Titanic wreckage display at the old depot in downtown St Paul

  4. Steve on January 9, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    The Best Buy at Northtown is one of the best ones I’ve been to. Compared to the service and knowledge of the employees at the Coon Rapids and Blaine locations, this one houses by far the best of the best. Anytime I have to go into the mall, I park in the Best Buy parking lot, so that on my way out I can check out the latest and greatest.

  5. Beth on January 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    First off, I love this blog!

    Secondly – the anchor you have listed as HomeGoods was actually called Homeplace – I know this because I used to work there – worst job ever!! I lasted one summer. Yuck!

    Other stores that I know used to be there – Braun’s/Christopher and Banks (my mom’s favorite store), Stuarts, County Seat, B Dalton, Ragstock

    Great stuff!

  6. The Old Scowl on January 11, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    I think that many years ago (like 25 or more) there was an outparcel business that was a movie theater (4 to 6 screens) on the north or east side of Northtown.

    • Grey Ghost on August 5, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      There was a 3-screen (later updated to 4 and maybe 5 or 6) cinema on the northeast corner in a separate building. When I was a kid cruising the Mall in the late ’70s, that’s where you went for first-run movies (about $3.50 IIRC). If you were cheap, it was a buck at the main street theater in Anoka, for second-run stuff.

  7. Sentimental Expat on January 15, 2009 at 2:47 AM

    My family used to come here from Anoka all the time when I was a kid, and there was only one way to get us to behave: the threat of withholding the coveted Cheese Dog from Orange Julius. It was the only place (outside the State Fair and Valleyfair) we could find them, and that was all it took. That and one of them gigantic cookies.

    If we were really good, though, theyd take us to ogle the puppies at Pet Ranch. This was, I can only imagine, a supreme sacrifice for anyone whose sense of smell was not overpowered by “puppy love”, as the place had a STANK that let you know you were getting close.

    When I graduated from Anoka High School, they gave us all coupon books for Northtown, which included a free goldfish option from Pet Ranch. I tried it three times, and they all died within days. Lucky I never tried to buy a puppy.

  8. The Swedish Meatball & The Manly Slovenian on January 18, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    I predict that Northtown will make a comeback. The Herberger’s is small, but I’d rather deal with Northtown than Riverdale or Maple-Effing-Grove. I’m surprised by what they still have lurking around inside (besides my fellow East Anoka Rednecks).

    Thank you to the Old Scowl for the Titanic reminder!

  9. Darin on January 22, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    Cool article – Here’s a few other non-anchor stores I remember. Some might still be there for all I know, I haven’t been there in about 5 years.

    20/20 Sound – independent music shop, seemed to specialize in used and bootleg CD’s – was around for most of the 90′s

    Musicland, later changed to Sam Goody

    Mrs. Fields

    2 Hallmark stores on opposite ends of the mall, one by KB Toys, the other close to Montgomery Wards

    Schmitt Music – Opened a small-scale store (around 1995?) next to what is now Burlington. Closed maybe 5 years later.

    Waldenbooks

    B. Dalton

    Structure

    Suncoast Pictures – I believe this was their first mall location anywhere (it was owned by Musicland, a Minnesota company). The concept of actually owning a movie on VHS was slightly crazy in the mid-1980′s since they were so expensive. It went on to be pretty successful.

    P.S. I can’t believe that Deb store hasn’t changed since 1985, ho-ly shit

    P.P.S That Picadilly Circus was awesome, somebody please revive 1980′s style arcades

  10. Crusty Dan on January 26, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    I kind of grew up around this mall, watching it start from the Love Boat motif in the 70s, comlete with the ginormous aquarium and the tacky Woolworth’s diner next door. Captain Stubing would have been proud.

    In the late 80s, they opened a food court featuring some of the worst food I’ve ever encountered. I once had some pork fried rice at the Chinese place there, where the pork was an unnatural shade of purple/pink, and it was explained to me that it was the color was from the BBQ sauce. Huh?

    I do agree, what’s old is new and I could see this place making a comeback. They’ve done pretty well vs. other malls with the odd niche stores that have popped up inside over the years, so it’s possible. Anchors there can forget it, however.

  11. Muddy289 on February 15, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    Don’t forget about the Bombay Bicycle Club Restaurant!! It was knocked down was used as a parking lot and now Applebee’s is there, I think. Anyways Bombay Bicycle Club was across the parking lot from what is now Herbergers.
    Also, you can thank Gold’s Gym for attracting LA Fitness to the mall. They set up a gym in an old storefront that was across from the dollar tree. I know it was a clothing store but don’t know the name. Structure maybe?

    Gold’s gym is now at the corner of hwy 65 and main street/county road 14 on the south side. There used to be a strip mall there with a rainbow foods grocery store at one end and wallgreens at the other the only other stores that I remember being there was Video Update and a pet store.
    Anybody remember the name of that one? I was too young to care….

    On north side of main street/county road 14 was another strip mall. It had Snyders drug store and the original Anoka County Library. Now Cub Foods is there along with the other stores in that strip mall. Anybody remember the name of that old strip mall also? Once again, I was too young to care…I’m 22 now and moved to Blaine in 1993…oh the good ol’ days, the area has changed so much I think it sucks!

  12. Disco Studd on February 19, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    Muddy – I live down the road from the former “Northgate Mall” (that was the one with Rainbow that they knocked down.) I don’t believe the mall on the north side of 65 with Cub ever had a name (neither my wife, who grew up in the area, nor I can recall it having an official name.) I remember when the mall had an indoor corridor, with Snyders on one end and a Marshall’s/T.J. Maxx-style store called “Sylvester’s” on the other end. Snyder’s is now in a free-standing store in the parking lot of Cub. The space occupied by Sylvester’s is now home to a liquor store, and the rest of the mall was converted to “outdoor” style.

    They relocated the Taco Johns, KFC, and Perkins and the old structures were knocked down to make room for a new interchange at Main & 65.

    And holy crap, do I ever remember the Bombay Bicycle Club! My wife and I were there with some friends 13 or so years ago, and one of said friends had a complete meltdown after downing close to a dozen shots of Rumple Minze at the bar there. He caused such a commotion that we had to drag his ass out of there before our food arrived. I don’t think we ever set foot inside there after that! And yes, Applebees has risen from the ashes of the Bombay.

    And speaking of shitty restaurants at N-Town, anyone remember Pasquale’s? One of my friends from high school became a Karaoke junkie and spent every Thursday night there for Karaoke night. Ugh that place sucked! From the decor to the food to the drinks, I wish I had more hands so I could give that place 4 thumbs down!!!

    • dumpystripmalls on February 19, 2009 at 9:19 AM

      Oh my gosh – I completely forgot about Pasquale’s!! (If anyone doesn’t remember, it was that sports bar-type place located in a creepy corridor, near the pet store and the North County Barbers salon). Talk about a blast from the past. I can’t believe I forgot about that place! In high school, my best friend and I would eat there every time we went to Northtown. Yes, the food was bad – their fries were ALWAYS soggy and greasy. But my friend LOVED that place for whatever reason.

      For some reason, I don’t remember the Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant AT ALL. Obviously, I never ate there, but I can’t even picture the place :(

  13. Disco Studd on February 19, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention the old TGI Friday’s that used to reside next to where Home Depot sits now. They converted an old 2-story Minnesota Federal (Savings & Loan) Bank building into a Friday’s, complete with a banquet hall on the 2nd floor (which I never personally saw, but they had pictures of it inside the lobby.) The thing that I remember the most about that Friday’s is my wife and I met my mom and step-dad there for lunch on the day Paul Wellstone’s plane crashed. We were sitting in a booth right next to the bar when the news broke on the TV we were watching. Everybody in the whole place was huddling around the TV’s in complete shock. They knocked that place down ~ 3 years ago to make way for Home Depot, but the funny thing is when they re-routed the frontage road behind HD, they put in curb cuts in the same location as if they plan on putting another business there.

    Pasquale’s – I remember when you ordered a pizza there, they’d bring it out on a rack with stilts on it and set a lit Sterno can underneath it. The intent was to keep your pizza warm but it just baked it to the bottom of the pan. I also remember they had a scoreboard on the wall that they salvaged from some old arena, and when they had Karaoke night, if you sucked they’d blare the scoreboard’s buzzer and kick you off the mic. My friend who thought he could sing used to butcher “Look Away” by Chicago every chance he could get at Pasquale’s (surprisingly he never got buzzed – he wasn’t horrible, but not as great as he thought he was.)

    To Muddy again – I happened to drive by the “Sylvester’s Mall” today and it seems as if they finally given it a name. There’s a new monument sign next to the liquor store proclaiming “River Town Plaza.” They also added that moniker to the top of the free-standing Cub Foods sign that’s visible from Hwy 65. It must’ve gone up within the last month, as it sure wasn’t there the last time I went to Cub…

  14. Muddy289 on February 24, 2009 at 11:27 PM

    Oh, that’s right! Sylvester’s was the name…I remember now. The only other thing that I remember at North Gate Mall is the shitty burger king that was in southern corner of the mall lot before they knocked it down. I went there once and then never again. even after they built the new one.

    North Town Mall did have a movie theater in the parking lot. that’s why there’s a big empty corner in the north eastern corner of the mall parking lot. I remember that Mervyns was quite a big place too. escalators and 2 floors oh wow! fancy compared to the other stores. On the side that pasquale’s is on was there always a chicago pizza restaurant that was there? how about the buffalo wild wings?

    I heard that the TGI Fridays at the mall was closed because of health code violations. who knows though….

  15. Disco Studd on February 25, 2009 at 1:33 AM

    Yeah, who could forget the movie theater! They tore it down shortly after they put up Showplace 16 Theaters up the road at Hwy 10 & Foley Blvd. The lot sat vacant for a while, but they ultimately put up a new mini-strip mall in its place that has a Potbelly Sandwich shop, a Starbucks, a Verizon store, and a Game Stop.

    Old Chicago used to be “Budget Power.” I never set foot inside Budget Power, but I believe it was a home improvement-type store. The entrance to Old Chi-town still has the remnants of the “pressure pads” from Budget Power’s antique automatic opening doors.

    The building housing Buffalo Wild Wings used to be another mini-strip mall, converted into a gigantic restaurant. I remember there used to be a Fantastic Sams or some other type of franchised “salon” in said mall. They used to have an H&R Block in one of the parcels as well before they moved into Northtown, proper. I seem to remember a Mail Boxes, Etc. store there as well.

    I never heard about any health code violations at Friday’s. I thought it was closed in part due to the construction of Home Depot. That and they had just built a new one up in Riverdale Crossing.

    I can remember going into Carson Pirie Scott right before it became Mervyn’s. The escalators were on the very front edge of the store, and the walls surrounding the escalators looked like they hadn’t been painted since 1972. Thankfully they gutted the whole store when Target Corp. took over.

    I drive by N-Town at least twice a week, but I don’t recall having setting foot inside since Kohl’s was still there (okay, not counting the time I bought a Hawaiian shirt at Steve & Barry’s last summer for Hawaiian Shirt Day at work LOL.) Now I feel like I gotta go there and walk the mall for shits & giggles just to see whether it’s thriving or not…

  16. Muddy289 on February 25, 2009 at 10:36 PM

    Damn, there should be a history of all of the stores that came and went in in/around northtown mall. It would be a long list…
    I for one think that this mall is in the begining of the end, i see it as a lame horse just waiting to be shot. just like brookdale mall, only northtown is a younger horse. They’ve attracted large stores back but I think the smaller stores will slowly be leaving. After all, apple bee’s moved out.

    Look at the google maps satellite view of northtown. It was before all of the new construction was done. you can still see the outline of Montgomery Wards and TGI Fridays.
    I forgot about Mervyn’s being owned by Target, heh, smooth move there! It was a failure in the south and since target headquarters were in Minnesota i would guess that there were big expectations and the store was closely watched when mervyn’s was tried at northtown. I don’t know of any other mervyn’s that were around the twin cities. Target also made a smooth move with their grocery department add-ons. They chose the cheapest refrigeration equipment out there and now it’s all falling apart.

  17. Disco Studd on February 26, 2009 at 12:49 AM

    Ha, that’s awesome! You can even see the outline of where the Ward’s Auto Center and Bombay Bicycle club used to stand. If you zoom in close, you can see the old turquoise pyramids that used to frame the mall entrances. I looked up the aerial image using Google Earth and it said the pic is from April 2006.

    Regarding Mervyn’s, I believe all of the ‘Dales had one at one time. I’m pretty sure all of the former Carson’s stores were converted (except for the one in City Center, which was converted to a Monkey Wards well before Target bought up the rest of the Carson’s.)

    I think the next 10-15 years will prove to be interesting for N-Town. The “Lifestyle Centers” popping up around “New” Blaine and “New” Coon Rapids are certainly stealing both traffic and tennants away from N-Town today, leading to rumors of its demise. Its ultimate survival in the future will hinge upon how much of a ghetto Fridley, Spring Lake Park, southern Blaine, and southern Coon Rapids become. You know damn well it’ll become another Brookdale if the ghetto moves up into southern Anoka County.

  18. Muddy289 on February 26, 2009 at 10:48 PM

    and you know the ghetto will move into southern anoka county. this area is going down hill at a steady pace. Maybe I’ll move to canada where EVERYONE likes hockey and beer, eh?
    Also, I was not alive at the time but I heard one time long ago that Columbia Heights was once a nice area…..HUH?I can’t remember the last time I drove through that shit hole.
    I do remember visiting an aunt’s house in North Murderapolis and that we couldn’t go to the park anymore because of the people getting arrested because of the drugs and gangs there.
    I didn’t know about mervyn’s being part of other stores at one point. I did read on wikipedia that target tried to save the stores they had in the south and failed.
    I thought that because Target is so special that they just pulled mervyn’s out of their asses. They can do that y’know. Say your prayers north town. your glory days are OVER!
    !!!!THE SKY IS FUCKING FALLING!!!!

  19. Your pal, Erin on March 15, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Musicland
    County Seat
    KG Menswear (home of S.E.X. musk cologne & Zubas!)
    Hallmark
    Pearl Vision
    Claire’s Boutique
    Things Remembered
    Suncoast Video
    Kenny’s Shoes
    B Dalton Bookstore
    Joanne Fabric
    Walgreens (with a SODA FOUNTAIN woo-hoo!)
    Karmel Korn
    Mrs. Field’s Cookies
    Picadilly Circus
    Some game & hobby shop (Chessmate, maybe?)
    The art gallery across from that that sold statues
    An office supply store
    Schmidt Music
    Maurice’s
    The Kitchen Store
    Foxmoor
    Wilson’s Leather

  20. Kelly on March 17, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    Don’t forget about JR Riggins. It was located on the southeast side of the mall.

  21. Shirley on March 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    Erin… Woolworths had the soda fountain, not Walgreens.

    And yes, TGIFridays got shut down for a health code violation. I was thinking they re-opened, but I could be mistaken.

  22. Jon on March 29, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    I don’t think anyone mentioned Spencer’s Gifts which I think is still there. My friends and I always stopped in there if we wanted to see anything raunchy or crude humor. Good times.

  23. Disco Studd on April 6, 2009 at 1:55 AM

    The store that sold board games (and darts) was called Games By James.

    Okay, Things Remembered was (or still is) in a kiosk down the “Wards” corridor, but anybody remember the standalone booth that sold watches with the giant watch over the top of it?

    Couple of other stores I remember were Herman’s Sporting Goods (which later housed Ragstock) and The Eye Guys (a booth/kiosk/whatever that was near the giant water fountain.) I bought a pair of neon-yellow Oakley Razor Blades with the Iridium lens at that place (and a matching Oakley sticker that I put on my car’s back window – WOO HOO!)

    Wasn’t there also a Foot Locker there at one time? There was a Kay Bee Toys there before the chain went belly-up as well.

    I’ll never forget Spencer’s. That was THE place to shop for gag gifts (as lame as they were.) I still have my cassette tape of “Forbidden Spanish” that I bought there when I was taking Spanish class in High School. Aah, good times!

    Oh hell, can’t forget about Helzberg Diamonds. I’ve dropped thousands of dollars at the one in N-Town in my lifetime!

  24. Darin on April 10, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Disco, you get big points for remembering Herman’s Sporting Goods – I have been racking my brain trying to remember the name of that place.

    Got my “Bo Knows” Nike airs there circa 1989, hells yeah.

  25. Spaz on April 19, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    Were the fishtanks recessed into the floor, where you had to go down steps to go up to them? Cuz I vaguely remember being really young (early 1980′s) visiting a mall with these fishtanks, and couldn’t remember what mall it was, not thinking it was my own hometown N-town.

    The new Herbergers seems out of place considering the locale and the economy, I had a bit of sticker shock looking through their mens clothes, I felt like I was in Edina! Classy!

    It seems like the whole place will just be Dollar stores/Jewelry shops/cell phone stores-kiosks in a few years, padded out with a rotating selection of doomed small niche stores (brass crap, calender stores).

    I remember the Best Buy used to be where Steve&Barry/Homeplace was and when Woolworths closed Best Buy moved into that spot.
    I recall about 10 years ago DEB changed their sign from an ugly 1970′s look to an ugly 80′s look. Apparently they sell enough fugly prom dresses to stay in bizness.

    Is the NASCAR crap store still open? Its near the Hot Topic of course.

    Suncoast was where you went if you wanted to pay $5-10 more than you would at Best Buy (see also Musicland/Sam Goody). I think there was a creepy mini arcade in the old sam goody spot. Always empty.

    Their used to be another Schmitt music store with pianos and stuff in the 80s.

    And as someone who grew up there, the area is full of morbidly obese mulleted trash, and the elderly. As the generation that moved there in the 60s-70s dies off, their trailer trash spawn moves in. And Anoka county votes pretty rightwing (Michelle Bachman represents most of it) as its full of creepy homeschool folks. And also Meth. Lots of Meth.

  26. El Basterdo! on April 23, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    Good grief, no wonder you elect pro wrestlers, islamists and failed comic communists… Misery loves company.

  27. amandilla on July 5, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    haha-
    yeah…
    deb kinda fucked up everything.

  28. Rick on July 15, 2009 at 8:42 AM

    These comments really made me laugh. I was raised in Cooon Rapids and worked at N-Town from 1979-1984. (Montgomery Ward, Woolworth store, Woolworth Coffee Shop and The Great Hot Dog Experience) (all sucked) I moved away in ’85 and only return to visit the parents. I remember all the stuff you guys mentioned and more. Remember how all the entrances were numbered with giant repeating numbers. I would tell my friend to pick me up at door 44444444. This door had the Titanic replica. And now I know what happened to it. Haha.

  29. Erwin on September 23, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I remember the Bombay Bicycle Club and the great Tequilaberry’s! Both had high ceilings and lots of foliage, like you were in a jungle. I will never forget Tequilaberry’s though, they had a deilicious fruit plate that you could get with your meal, and the best multi-grain bread. They had such good steaks too and the whole place was just really a class act. When I went to these places as a little kid they were really special!

  30. Gate Latch · on November 4, 2010 at 1:43 AM

    my 8 year old daughter always want me to take her to pizza restaurants because she loves to much pizza “

  31. Joseph on November 25, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    The Titanic model was in door entrance 44444444 just inside the door, behind a glassed of enclosure in the wall.

    The model was historic, as it was used in the 1953 version of “Titanic” one of the earlier productions about the great disaster and starred Clifton Webb and Barbra Stanwyck. It resided at Northtown from 1972 until 1984.

    It was then moved by the Titanic Historical Society to Fall River, Massachusetts where it is currently on display after much restoration.

    This beautiful model was not stored locally, nor did it go on display at the 1999 tour of Titanic artifacts in a traveling exhibit which took up residence in St. Paul’s Union Depot for several months. I don’t know what news program stated that or whatnot, but the facts are now presented.

    I saw this ship for the first time in 1973, when I was five, and remember it vividly.

    In fact, it inspired me to learn more about the story of Titanic, and the next week I went over across the street to K Mart and found a copy of “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord, bought it, and was hooked on Titanic ever since.

    I guess its little wonder that I now head a company working to build the world’s largest ocean liner to carry on the legacy of the great liner I saw when I was 5 so many years ago …

    Who would’ve known?

  32. Joseph on November 25, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    The Titanic model was in door entrance 44444444 just inside the door, behind a glassed off enclosure in the wall.

    The model was historic, as it was used in the 1953 version of “Titanic,” one of the earlier movie productions about the great disaster and starred Clifton Webb and Barbra Stanwyck. It resided at Northtown from 1972 until 1984.

    It was then moved by the Titanic Historical Society to Fall River, Massachusetts where it is currently on display after much restoration.

    This beautiful model was not stored locally, nor did it go on display at the 1999 tour of Titanic artifacts in a traveling exhibit which took up residence in St. Paul’s Union Depot for several months. I don’t know what news program stated that or whatnot, but the facts are now presented.

    I saw this ship for the first time in 1973, when I was five, and remember it vividly.

    In fact, it inspired me to learn more about the story of Titanic, and the next week I went over across the street to K Mart and found a copy of “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord, bought it, and was hooked on Titanic ever since.

    I guess its little wonder that I now head a company (SS Titan Foundation) working to build the world’s largest ocean liner to carry on the legacy of the great liner I saw when I was very young so many years ago …

    Who would’ve known?

  33. Jim on November 30, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    Nelson’s Office Supply. Eventually torpedoed by the large chains. But the best bic pen you could buy for only $12.95.

  34. joe watkins on September 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    A dollar Plus is the best store in the mall ….i love to shop at that store …thats the only best store left in the mall

  35. jessica on November 3, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    i use to dance at stage door where the school is now.I remember a smoke shop with a wooden indian by the door.The fish tank that was under ground and the old food court.I worked at mrs feilds til they closed a few years ago.i miss those cookies:P

  36. Tom Freeman on April 17, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    Whoever wrote this dossier has a future in writing. I worked at Northtown Powers when I just out of school. We almost never had any customers. I lived across the street from door 11111111 and later I worked at Walgreens. My house was on Jefferson Street. Many years later (2007), I visited the area and it was sad.

    I do think Northtown was a special place when it first opened. It was chic and clever. The biggest problem they encountered was the failure to woo Dayton’s into the mall. I remember also Montgomery Ward which I always thought was a good store, not great, but good. Does anyone remember NATIONAL grocery store? When CUB finally came into the parking area of Northtown, I think National probably failed (overall actually).

    I remember that Woolworth’s had two or three different restaurant options in the mall. I miss the “Five and Dime” stores.

  37. [...] is a school. It’d be awesome if they had a DEB and a check cashing place, but the nearby Northtown Mall has that covered, so I’ll let it [...]

  38. Coon Rapids Kid on June 10, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    Me and my friends could easily spend a whole Saturday at Northtown back in the 1970s. I remember when Picadilly Circus had mostly pinball machines. I also remember the fish tanks. The stand-alone movie theater was awesome! I saw the original “Star Wars” there in 1977.

  39. Codi on July 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    My mom used to drop my friends and me off at Northtown and we’d spend the entire day there. We’d plan for it; even bringing notebooks and whatnot to pass the time. It was like a feat of some sort to spend the day at the mall.

    When I was 10 I got my ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda in front of Hallmark and Musicland. My mom used to get her hair cut at First Barber Stylists and I would pass the time at the pet store or Hallmark reading the funny cards. My friend and I bought matching Sunflower denim jumper outfits at Maurice’s in 6th grade.

    I have vague memories of a children’s clothing store that had a little fort area for kids (small children, I was probably 5-7) that had a tv inside that played cartoons. It was next to Structure. And I also have a vague memory of a teen clothing store, similar to Contempo Casuals, but before I knew what Contempo Casuals was. I was just barely old enough to buy stuff there and I think they left the mall. I’d love to know the names of either the aforementioned stores.

    Remember Glamour Shots? It was down on the end with the Best Buy, near Deb, and my mom never let me go but I wanted to so bad! It was across from the dollar store.

    I also remember how it was a big deal when Steak Escape moved into the food court, and it was fancy. Up until then I was strictly a Sbarro’s kind of girl, but seeing them cook the meat and cheese together in front of me was a killer selling point.

    I have a million memories from that mall. And I love the crap out of this blog.

  40. Amy on July 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    The Boyfriend and I went to Northtown this weekend to get electronic components (or something) from Radio Shack – which, by the way, does still carry blank cassette tapes for all your mixed tape-making needs! I hadn’t been into the mall in at least 5 years so I was curious to see what was left. I was surprised by the number of jewelry stores that are still there. There’s also a place to sell your gold and a store that sells t-shirts that with clever slogans, like “I <3 Haters." Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of these fine establishments, but I can add some historical value:

    There was a pager store in the late 90's called Cool Vibrations in the current Best Buy/Becker's wing – I'm pretty sure it was to the left of the Orange Julius place (the spot that is currently sealed off). I was lucky enough to have a friend who worked there – my pager always looked super cool (i.e. obnoxious).

  41. Steve on August 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I lived in the area back in 1981 or so – I was in first grade. That mall was “our” mall – I remember the Woolworth’s, the Ward’s, the fish tanks (they had pirhannas by the way), and a way cool hobby shop with model trains. Across the street was a Kmart and a Showbiz Pizza, maybe Chuck E’ Cheese? that our school principal took us to once. VERY dark in the Showbiz. I played Frogger! I also remember red buses with a white “T” logo on them roaring all over. Then we moved to Iowa..

  42. Jeff on August 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Anyone remember the Applebaums (sp?) grocery store where the Old Chicago is now? That was WAY back before we had Cub or Rainbow.

  43. Anonymous Alcoholic on August 27, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Jerry’s Smoke Shop for all your paraphernalia needs, and Piccadilly Circus for after…Also bought a lot of books at B. Dalton Booksellers.

  44. The Old Scowl on October 11, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    It appears that Northtown Mall is celebrating it’s fortieth anniversary.

    http://abcnewspapers.com/2012/10/11/northtown-mall-celebrates-40th-birthday/

    And the article also mentions the fate of the Titanic model that I remember!

    Longtime residents will likely remember another Hollywood connection the mall had. According to an early 1985 newspaper article, a 30-foot, one-ton model of the Titanic was placed on display at the mall from December 1972 until early 1985.

    The ship was used to film the 1953 movie “Titanic” and the model was bought by (Robert)Muir (Northtown’s developer)for display at Northtown.

    One of the principal partners in Rein-Northtown Associates, which bought the mall from Muir in November 1984, donated the model in early 1985 to the Titanic Historical Society.

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