LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Plans began in 1978 to turn 34 acres of land on the corner of 59 and Loop 287 into a 300,000 square foot shopping center. Two years later, the Lufkin Mall opened its doors to eager East Texas shoppers. This weekend, the mall celebrated its 30th anniversary.
The first shoppers entered Lufkin Mall thirty years ago this month. February 1980 marked a new era for East Texas shoppers.
"We were big dogs! After all, when you got a mall - you've got something," said Marion Bradford, shopper since the mall opened.
Before Lufkin had its mall, residents had to settle with smaller shops or drive out of town.
"The best part? Because all I had to do is drive across the highway and go shopping and I didn't have to go any other place," said Bradford.
Since it opened, the Lufkin Mall has become a gathering place - not just a place to shop.
"You get to hang out with your friends," said Courtney Comoro, Lufkin Shopper.
"We used to come down early and walk the mall and I made lots of friends," said Bradford.
Its as true today as it was thirty years ago, it provides the best selection for the fashionably inclined. Many things have changed since the mall was built, but it's still seems to be the best place to find whatever you're looking for.
"You can find things for the kids, for myself, my wife - anything we need," said Gabriel Hidrogo, Lufkin Mall Shopper.
"Cause you get a lot of choices instead of Wal-Mart or whatever it's a whole lot better," said Conarroe.
And since it's the only mall for miles - it brings all kinds to town.
"Everybody came to the mall. You would see people here that would come from all towns around. They even came from Nacogdoches," said Bradford.
"It boosts our economy," said Hidrogo.
Most people agree, without the mall, life in Lufkin just wouldn't be the same.
"Probably pretty boring. Be no place to go… other than Wal-Mart," said Hidrogo.
Three stores: JCPenny, Bealls and Sears anchored the mall when it opened and all three still serve Lufkin mall shoppers thirty years later.