MACON, GA.-- - The Macon Mall was once considered the largest mall here in Georgia, but now, it is struggling to keep its store fronts full. Though the parking lot is still full, many of the stores at the Macon Mall have disappeared over the years.
"Back in the '70s is when they built the mall. It's been here for a long time. There's a lot of business that came from this mall that moved to other places,” says Maconite Roger Geyton.
He says he remembers when the mall was first built. Geyton says it used to be the place everyone would go to shop, but he says now what many people refer to as "the new mall" on Riverside Drive has taken most of the businesses.
"The only thing good about this mall is all the businesses are on the inside, so if there's bad weather outside you can go inside and shop, but the new mall everything's on the outside. So you kind of have to stay in the weather and prepare for the weather when you go there. This is a better mall, I think, but other people may think it's better because they have businesses at the other mall and not this mall,” explains Geyton.
The most recent closing was announced Friday. J.C. Penney will be closing. WMAZ spoke to other people about the mall and they say bringing more attractive businesses to the area may help draw more people to the mall. They suggested things like a movie theater, sports bar, or a video arcade.
"This mall is worth saving because it comes from a long, long background of people. It has a lot of history. There's a lot of older people that were younger when they came here, and it's still here. They believe in shopping here. There's the same prices here,” says Geyton.
A business they say is worth saving after more than 40 years of retail history in the city. WMAZ reached out to the Macon Mall for comment, but did not get a response back. Macy's was another store that announced last year that they'd be closing some stores, but the one at the Macon Mall will remain open.
© 2017 WMAZ-TV