While a number of malls around the nation are dying, Columbia Mall is adding stores and is currently at 90 percent of where it was before the COVID pandemic.
That was the message from Columbia Mall general manager Rusty Strodtman to area business leaders and elected officials on Wednesday. Mr. Strodtman says Columbia Mall had $150-million in sales last year.
“About $12-million is the sales tax collected. Obviously about half (of) that stays here locally. So that’s a big number to consider that that goes to our schools, our police departments, our roads, a lot of things that we live on and deal with everyday,” Strodtman says.
Mr. Strodtman briefed the Regional Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) board of directors. He says the mall now has 80 stores, and he’s especially pleased with the success of Level Up. Strodtman also announced that downtown Columbia’s popular Rally House will open its second Columbia store this fall. He tells 939 the Eagle that Rally House will be located across from Victoria’s Secret inside the mall.
“It’s going to be open before the holiday season, so we’re excited about them. Now you can get your Cardinals wear, your Mizzou gear and so we’re very excited about having Rally House join us,” says Strodtman.
Mr. Strodtman says Rally House will take possession of its new mall store in September. Rally House also carries Kansas City Chiefs and Royals gear, St. Louis Blues gear and Stephens College Stars gear.
Columbia Mall has also invested more than $5-million into its parking lot in the past few years. Strodtman says while it’s a ton of money, it’s critical to do.
“Unfortunately it’s a lot of money but it just scratches the surface. We have about a $20-million parking lot, so we’ve got a ways to go. But, that’s a very important thing for us because that’s a huge factor to make it easy and safe for our guests (to) come and go,” Strodtman says.
He notes Columbia Mall was built in 1985 and that’s replacing infrastructure like a roof, signs and other things are essential.
Another issue that came up during Mr. Strodtman’s presentation was dining. He tells the audience that the mall currently has the food court, Panera Bread and a Wendy’s. Strodtman would like to see a restaurant where you can take a date. 939 the Eagle listener Megan Potter and others are weighing in on this issue on 939 the Eagle’s Facebook page. Ms. Potter would like to see a Cheesecake Factory and an In-N-Out at Columbia Mall.