Brookview Plaza: Brooklyn Center, MN

June 19, 2012

*sigh* Just another abandoned strip mall in the north suburbs…

This sad little strip mall is all but abandoned, save for the for-profit college holding down the fort. Today it looks more like an abandoned office park, but back in the day, this was all retail. There’s not a whole lot goin’ on here.

This strip mall was built in 1986, coinciding with the opening of the Target store located in the back of this strip mall. Next door, there is soon-to-be-closed Best Buy (soon as in this week — and yes, Dumpy Strip Malls is on it!). Across the street lies Davanni’s Pizza and the Big Lots/Slumberland combo (the old Kmart – check out the post here).

From the weedy parking lot, you can see the Davanni’s across the street. I love the ’80s style neon squiggle on the sign!

Back in the day, Brookview Plaza did hold a few tenants, but it always seemed had a vacant spot or two. This strip mall never did quite catch on.

It used to be a brick structure with blue accents until it was remodeled in 2003. Whoever did the remodeling decided to take a shortcut and not bother with the side of the building:

Repainting the side of the building either was either out of the budget or wasn’t important to the developer.

Some of the tenants I remember:

F&M: This opened in March 1990. At one point in the late 80′s/early ’90s, there seemed to be a boom of giant drugstores. Drug Emporium and F&M were the major players in Minnesota (maybe there were more chains? I don’t know. I was like 11. Brooklyn Park/Center was my entire world).  These super drugstores were larger than a Walgreens but smaller than a Target.  I loved both of these stores, especially as I grew into my later teen years and had my own money from my McDonalds job and became interested in makeup. Both of these stores had a great selection of makeup and it was cheaper than buying it elsewhere. Like many teen girls, I’d spend some of my hard-earned McMoney on drugstore makeup and would spend hours carefully applying it to my face. Of course, all that hard work would no doubt melt off my face later on that day in the heat of the McDonald’s grill area, as I staged trays of Big Macs and Arch Deluxes for the dinner rush. By the end of my shift, I looked like the Dark Knight version of the Joker.

Do yourself a favor and please do not sit here unless you’re 100% sure you’re up-to-date on your tetanus shots…and even then, I still wouldn’t sit here unless I wanted a splinter or paint chip stuck up my bum.

They also offered an extensive movie theater candy selection for $1/box. I’d always buy a box of Milk Duds, even though 9 times out of ten, the chocolate would be half-melted and stuck to the box and I’d have to spank the bottom to get it out.

I believe this is the interior of the former F&M drug store.

This F&M store went out of business sometime in the mid ’90s. Then, I believe Office Max moved into the old F&M space, although my memory could be wrong.  They both might’ve occupied space in this mall at the same time.

Drug Emporium was located over in the nearby Brookdale Square shopping center and hung on until 2001, when Snyders Drug bought the chain and shut down all stores.

Throw a car up on this and we’ll feel like we’re in Coon Rapids! ;)

Designer Depot: This clothing store didn’t last long — maybe a few months. It opened when the strip mall opened in 1986. I believe it was an off-price retailer, resembling a TJ Maxx/Marshalls. I’ll be shocked if someone else remembers it. I’m surprised *I* even remember it, being that I was only  7 or 8 when it was around. I remember it because my mom bought me a pair of pink Moon Boots there, which to every ’80s child, is clearly a defining moment in life.

Brown College

Commercials for this school air on daytime TV, among ads for motorized wheelchairs and bankruptcy lawyers

Shop NBC:  A call center for this Eden Prairie-based home shopping channel was located in this strip mall for several years. So if you ever ordered a Lady Di doll, a tunic-and-leggings set or some semi-precious, multi-faceted costume jewelry set you saw on a cable TV shopping channel, your call could’ve been routed to an agent working at this strip mall. Fascinating.

Brown College: The Brooklyn Center campus of this for-profit school is currently located in this strip mall.

Other than that, I can’t remember anything else. Have you got any dirt on this strip mall?

Photos taken June 2012:

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5 Responses to Brookview Plaza: Brooklyn Center, MN

  1. Jake on June 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Wasn’t there an office max/depot on the far right up until a few years ago? I also think a Highland Electronics was here from late 80′s till about 1991.

  2. Ralph on June 19, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I remember when that Best Buy was a La Belle’s/Best catalogue store until the late ’80s. It sat empty for a while before becoming Best Buy in the ’90s. Toward the end of the ’80s, Leeann Chin moved in behind it on the opposite end of the Target Shingle Creek strip mall where the Indian restaurant is now. My family was jazzed when classy Leeann Chin moved in to Brooklyn Center and we didn’t have to drive all the way to HarMar for it. I remember sitting in the old Shingle Creek Leeann Chin in the late ’80s looking out the window at the closed La Belle’s/Best on one side of the street and the vacated ShowBiz on the other. It sat empty with all the signage still up for a year or two before becoming an Ethan Allen briefly. It was an early sign of the encroaching strip mall dumpiness. Leeann wised up and moved to the newer development closer to (what used to be) Brookdale around 2000.

  3. Tim on June 20, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    I worked for Highland SuperStores from 1987 till 1991. They came to town to take-on Best Buy on their own turf… They lost!
    I worked for their main service center in New Brighton and they would periodically ship us out to one of these mall stores to help set-up before they opened or to work in the “Fish Bowl” after they opened.
    I remember working at this location. I think Highland had some kind of real estate connection and built a few of these small strip malls around the cities for their stores.

  4. TheOldScowl on June 20, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Office Max was at the other end of the complex from F&M. It took over the short-lived Highland Store’s space.
    F&M was the competition back when I worked at Drug Emporium (1990-1995). One day in 1990, the enterprising store manager at the Emporium went into F&M and blew a few thousand bucks on items that were for sale below the price of Drug Emporium’s, hauled them back the 300 yards to our store, boxed them up and resold them later. He went far in company for however long it existed, but I like one old emlpoyee’s opinion that he muttered with a “nail” in his mouth: “This is bulls**t”. F&M did not last long, but then neither did Drug Emporium.
    Highland was where my folks got me a portable CD player for Christmas around 1990. It was fine (except for the joke CD they got with it–Zamfir and his pan flute’s greatest hits!) for the first one year and two weeks I had it, and then mysteriously conked out. And yes, it had a one year warranty.
    A tech check at Highland was around 42 dollars, and they estimated the cost (over the phone)to replace a dead servo motor was going to be 120 dollars of thereabouts. My parents paid out about 90 bucks for it.
    So Highland got to keep that CD player and I picked up another one that lasted about 3 years longer than that one. And oddly, it too would cost more to repair than what I paid when check at….the Brooklyn Center Best Buy tech service folks!

  5. Jill on July 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    For the life of me I can not envision this place, although I do know where the Davanni’s is. We were more of a Drug Emporium family.

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