Northwest Arkansas Mall celebrates 40th anniversary

The Northwest Arkansas Mall recently turned 40 years old.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

The Northwest Arkansas Mall celebrated its 40th anniversary Friday morning during a brief ceremony held at Center Court.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan joined several merchants, mall officials and chamber of commerce representatives to commemorate the shopping center’s milestone.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan speaks at Center Court inside the Northwest Arkansas Mall Friday.

Todd Gill, Flyer staff

“As far back as I can remember, the Northwest Arkansas Mall has been entwined in the fabric of this great community,” said Jordan in a proclamation ceremony. “This vital retail center not only influences our daily fashion choices, but is an economic engine driving millions in annual sales tax revenue to support the city of Fayetteville.”

Jeff Bishop, the mall’s general manager, said the shopping center is “going strong today” thanks to the loyal patronage of the Northwest Arkansas community. “Over the last forty years, we have adjusted with the times, but stayed a reflection of you – your life, your style, your mall – as we merged fashion, food and fun under one roof, and we look forward to a bright future.”

Originally built as a Sears store in 1970, the mall underwent a massive expansion and officially opened as Northwest Arkansas Plaza on March 2, 1972 as a 450,000-square-foot center with room for 50 merchants. Nineteen stores opened that day with 15 following shortly thereafter. Anchoring the center were Sears, Dillard’s, the Boston Store and Woolworth.

Jeff Bishop, right, presents TJ Angeleno with a check for $10,000.

Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Today the mall boasts over 820,000 square feet and is home to more than 100 specialty retailers, several major department stores, a picnic-style food court and employs about 1,500 people.

In 2010, the shopping center became a founding member of the Uptown Fayetteville Association – a joint effort between area merchants to highlight the service offerings and promote commercial growth in north Fayetteville.

Following Friday’s ceremony, mall officials presented Uptown Fayetteville treasurer TJ Angeleno with a check for $10,000.