❗ A struggling Middlesex County Mall has been sold

😟 It is home to a beloved retailer

❓ Workers worry their jobs may be in jeopardy

A beloved retailer is staying in Woodbridge and assuring employees their jobs are safe.

Worries were mounting after the struggling Woodbridge Center mall was sold to an unnamed investor for pennies on the dollar in February, leading to concerns the mall was in danger of closing or being used in a new redevelopment deal.

The rumors were getting so bad, the CEO of Boscov's visited the store in Woodbridge to assure workers the store was not closing.

Google maps
Google maps

According to NJ.com, Jim Boscov told employees they were at the heart of the success of the Woodbridge location and sales have remained strong.

Store manager Hillary Kessler said after the meeting "we are staying at this mall and we will not be closing' even as the mall undergoes changes.

Malls in New Jersey are struggling

Shopping habits have dramatically changed. The rise of on-line shopping was the beginning of the end for many malls.

The pandemic only accelerated the changes, and in-person foot-traffic is a fraction of what it once was.

Old Dover Mall Staples in Toms River, NJ (2011)
Mike Brant - TSM

Mall operators have been forced to make significant changes to try and draw people back through the doors. Failing that, some malls have just closed.

Monmouth Mall is trying to do a little of both.

Major renovations are underway to try and save the iconic shopping center.

Monmouth Mall opened in 1960 and is one of the oldest in the state. It is being rebranded as Monmouth Square.

Monmouth Mall
Mike Brant - TSM (Canva)

Renovations will remove the roof and make it open to the air.

Two of the biggest anchor stores, JCPenny and Lord and Taylor are long gone. Their buildings are being demolished to make way for a 1,000 unit apartment complex.

What will happen to Woodbridge Center mall?

At this point, no one is sure.

In addition to Boscov's, the mall still has JCPenny and Macy's as anchor stores.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac has been adamant that they will not follow the path of the Monmouth Mall.

The mayor and other local officials have told the new owner of Woodbridge Center they will not be able to incorporate housing into any renovations and McCormac has said he fully expects it to remain a shopping center.

No specifics have been offered by the mall's buyer, who hasn't even come forward publicly to confirm the purchase.

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Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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