Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carolina Circle Begins Business (Newspaper Article from August 4, 1976)

I’ve had this article in my possession for the past 4 years. This article is from the Greensboro Daily News talking about the grand opening of Carolina Circle Mall dated August 4, 1976, aka “The Day Human Life Changed Forever”.

As you will see, this article gives a list of all 22 stores that were open that day, as well as a list of businesses that were planning to open near the mall, all of which did open the same year.

Somewhere amongst my junk, I have an article from the Greensboro Record (Greensboro’s evening newspaper) from the same day. It includes a badly library microfilm compressed picture of large balloons being lifted into the sky by the main entrance. If I ever find it, I’ll post it as well.

Also keep in mind that at this time, Circle Six Theatres and Piccadilly Cafeteria and not opened yet. Both didn’t come along until November 1976.

Here it is, in its full length. No challenge to copyright intended.

Carolina Circle Mall officially opens today, and both the shopping and entertainment aspects of the 750,000 square foot complex will be featured.

Twenty-two stores will be in operation when the mall opens at 10:00am. Among these are Belk Department Store and Montgomery Ward, both of which have been open for several months, and Ivey’s, which will be opening its first Greensboro store today.

These three stores together account for 428,000 square feet of the enclosed, two-tiered complex, which features natural sky lighting, interior landscaping with live trees and a climate-controlled environment.

Architecturally, the mall centers around a sunken ice rink, called the Ice Chalet, where free public skating will be scheduled this morning, in addition to two skating exhibitions.

Other activities scheduled for the next three days at the mall are concerts by an Eastern Music Festival and “Bluegrass Experience,” visits by characters from Alice’s Wonderland and a hot air balloon exhibition, weather permitting.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10:00am today with Mayor Jim Melvin and Bob Alpert, president and chief executive officer of the mall’s development firm, Alpert Corporation, officiating.

Built over a two-year period, the $25 million-plus mall is the first phase in the full development of the 220-acre tract located on US-29 at Cone Boulevard, north of downtown Greensboro. The properties surrounding the mall are available for commercial and residential development.

Among the business establishments already slated for construction on this peripheral property are a Kmart, Weiner King, and Shoney’s.

Access to the enclosed mall, which is expected to attract shoppers from 10 North Carolina and Virginia counties in addition to Guilford, is by US-29, 16th Street, or Cone Boulevard. Parking for more than 4,000 cars is available.

The mall will generate more than 1,000 jobs and sales of more than $50 million annually are projected.

In addition to the three department stores which anchor the mall, stores open for business today include three fast food restaurants- Chick-Fil-A, the Karmel-Korn Shoppe, and Orange Julius of America; three jewelry stores- Kay Jewelers, Gordon’s Jewelers, and Carlyle & Company; three shoe stores- Kinney Shoe Corporation, Thom McAn, and Butler’s Shoe Corporation and two clothing shops- County Seat and Foxmoor.

Other stores opening include Radio Shack, a stereo equipment and electronics store; Camelot Music Store, Ridgeway Optical Company, the General Nutrition Center (a health food store), K&K Toys, Waldenbook Company, and Champs (a sporting goods store).

Electronic America, a family entertainment center featuring electronic arcade games, is located on the lower level near the ice rink and will also be open.

Some 21 businesses are scheduled to open in the mall during the coming months. Total occupancy of the mall is 76 stores.

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