Doors Close: Remembering the Indian Mall

JONESBORO (KAIT)- On the doors of the Indian Mall, the sign still remains. " Thanks for shopping with us. Come again soon." But Friday, that is bittersweet for those who have been patrons of the Indian Mall for years, as the doors will now be locked for good.

"It's sad. It's sad. This mall, this is the only mall we ever knew," said Tammy Belk.

Since the late 1960's Jonesboro's Indian Mall stood as a major retail outlet for Northeast Arkansas.

"It catered to any age group. That's the biggest thing. It catered to any age group. That's what I hear all the time, that people are missing,"

Connie Harper has been a supervisor in the mall for several years.

She says the bustle of the Indian Mall would come to life every morning.

"It was a good morning, and everybody had something good to say. Everybody was getting their carts ready, and all of the doors were opening at the same time," said Harper.

And each and every morning folks like Tammy Belk and her mom would walk the Indian Mall as a way to reduce stress.

"My best experience is the people. The people that work here. The way they treated you. They were just common people. That's all any of us are," said Belk.

It was that relationship that made the Indian Mall so attractive.

In photos you can see the days of past.

Every year the mall played host to dozens of events in it's common areas.

Everything from games, to shows, and even the annual visit from santa.

"We were the closest family. We acted like family in here," said Harper.

A family that's now being separated by business endeavors.

"They're taking away a lot of good things in Jonesboro. They've added a lot of good things, don't get me wrong. Everything has to thrive. I understand that, but it's been here so long. It's what everyone was accustomed to, and now everything is changing," said Belk.

But while times change, the years of past won't be forgotten.

On the mall's last day a group of walkers surprised Harper with a card, wishing her well, and thanking her for being part of the family.

"It says, before you leave here's a sign to point you in the right direction. When you open it, it says come back for visits and a lot of people signed it," read Harper.  "That meant a whole lot to me. When I saw them even coming through the front doors, I started tearing up. We saw each other for years and years every day."

And as the years go by, and new takes the place of old - it's the memories that will keep the true spirit of the Indian Mall alive for years to come.

As the mall closes, two businesses will remain.  Sears and the Farmers Insurance Group will be accessible from their outside entrances, as construction is set to begin soon on the Shoppes of Caraland.