If you were to list things that define New Jersey, what comes to mind?

Not too long ago, shopping malls would be right at the top of that list. After all, they're everywhere in the Garden State.

However, people are buying more and more stuff online these days, which is putting traditional malls in a tough spot -- they either need to redefine themselves or they'll fade into history.

Sadly, between those two options is a third choice: an extremely slow, painful-to-watch demise.

One such mall that has seen better days is Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing.

Long History

As the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township was becoming older and older back in the 1980s, the $100 million Hamilton Mall opened right in the middle of Atlantic County in 1987.

Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing - Photo: Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media
Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing - Photo: Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media

For its grand opening, Sears and JCPenney, both long-time tenants at the Shore Mall, moved up the Black Horse Pike and joined Macy's along with over 100 other stores for a truly terrific shopping experience.

Times are Changing

Through the 1990s and 2000s, Hamilton Mall did really well but its luck began to change in the 2010s.

In 2018, Sears announced it would be closing...


and then JCPenney followed the next year, leaving two giant holes in the mall's landscape.

JCPenney Hamilton Mall in 2019 - Photo: Google Maps
JCPenney Hamilton Mall in 2019 - Photo: Google Maps

Without those two anchors, the loss of other chain stores (KB Toys, Sam Goody, Sundance Video, just to name a few), and online shopping becoming more and more dominant, Hamilton Mall is one of those shopping centers that finds itself in that third state: a slow, painful demise.

Before I go further, allow me to say this: it is not my intent to bash the mall, its ownership, or the stores that are operating inside. I believe with a little effort, Hamilton Mall can regain a lot of its former glory -- others in the region have. But, let's be honest here: I've been in the mall quite a few times lately and it really needs some help. When buckets on the floor catching water from a leaking roof almost outnumber the holiday decorations that are up, you have some problems that need to be addressed.

The Sad State of This Once-grand Shopping Mall in New Jersey

A look inside Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing.

Gallery Credit: Chris Coleman

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