More Tales of Dying Retail: Ace’s Adventures

Just in case you missed my last look at dying retail culture on film:

Beautifully Haunting: Dead Mall Culture As Seen By Dan Bell

The Culture of Dying Retail and Malls

With online shopping offering better options, lower costs, and the ability to buy from your living room couch, malls and brick-and-mortar stores are becoming relics of the past. Communities socioeconomic factors only contribute to this trend. Once great places to find what you needed, socialize, and eat are now becoming a thing of the past.

As more and more stores and malls meet the definition of “dying retail” and “dead mall,” some head out on the road, on their way to photograph and film the culture. Dated decor and furnishings, vacant storefronts, and smaller/non-existent crowds serve as the common thread of this culture. For those of us in the nostalgia business, we’re left sighing and remembering when.

The other common thread? Bath and Body Works.

Seriously, the apocalypse of dead mall/dying retail culture could hit, and there will still be plenty of fruity body spray for all!

Bonus points for the old storefront from the early 2000s (the one pictured here is the current storefront).

This Is Dan Bell

A few week ago, I talked about Dan Bell and his Dead Mall Series. Dan’s vast expanse of exploration covers not just dying and dead malls, but also dirty abandoned motel rooms, and dead motels. The stories his videos tell are more than his commentary – the passage of time is not kind to what is abandoned. The images are fascinating. However, I will admit the idea of the motel series grosses me out, so I’m dragging my heels with seeing it.

However, if you’re strong of stomach…

This Is Dan Bell: Another Dirty Room

This is Dan Bell: Dead Motel Series

…And Now, Ace’s Adventures!

Meanwhile, based out of Buffalo, New York, Anthony Ernewein is staking his claim in the amazing culture of dying retail, covering ground in the well-worn footsteps of those before him, but with the added bonus of news footage. Anthony (“Ace”) is a 9-5 guy with who also deejays on the side, but treats dying retail culture the way anyone with an interest should. His videos are thorough, the images speak more than the commentary, and the use of archived news footage is awesome. Anthony does it right, and like those with the same passion, treats the places he goes with the utmost respect.

My point is, there are plenty of Urbex videos out there, and plenty of explorers to cover it all, but only a handfull treat this interest with the respect these places deserve. Like Dan, Anthony is doing this all right.

I just started watching Ace’s Adventures, but I’m loving what I see.

Ace’s Adventures

Be sure to check out this playlist of his series – perhaps you’ll find it fascinating too!

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Beautifully Haunting: Dead Mall Culture As Seen By Dan Bell

I’ll get this confession out of the way  – there is something eerie and hauntingly beautiful about dead malls.

Fascination With Dead/Dying Malls

In 2009, I read a Wikipedia article about Dixie Square Mall. We in the “nostalgia business” know this as the infamous site of the car chase scene in The Blues Brothers. The mall itself has a fairly infamous history due to the aftermath of its closure and the years it was left to decay.

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Pictures of the mall’s recent history shocked me initially, turning to fascination and interest. I found myself researching the culture of photographing and filming dying/dead malls in various states of decline.

I won’t be taking up this hobby any time soon, but it is fascinating to live vicariously!

Images of Dixie Square Mall in the most recent years of its long decay (source).

It is incredible how something so decayed and reclaimed by nature is so calm. It is simutaneously haunting and beautiful to see these images. Or, beautifully haunting.

That’s a thing.

Dan Bell And His Journeys

Columbia, Maryland-based filmmaker Dan Bell explores the fascinating culture of dead and dying malls as part of his You Tube series. His travels have taken him into the dying malls of the United States, including perpetually dying The Gallery at Market East, which I’ve been to. I’m convinced that mall has been dying since the 1980s.

Dan doesn’t just focus exclusively on dying malls, but also dirty hotel rooms you’d never want to rest your head in, and even a K-Mart store in its final gasps of life.

He combines his narratives with his filmed footage and creates opening credits from bizarre old videos. The soundtracks contain stereotypical mall Muzak. The malls he visits are not dead or closed yet, but slowly dying. They’re overrun by mall walkers and Bath and Body Works stores, but not much else.

These are the people who don’t shop in your neighborhood…

Dead mall staples, folks.

Dan Bell’s Dead Mall Series

So, the reason I brought you hear…videos!

Compiled for your consideration by Dan Bell, this playlist of his fascinating (for the niche crowd that loves this stuff) series on the culture of dead and dying malls.


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Featured Image: Screenshot from “The $100 Mall: The Disaster of Pittsburgh Mills” (June 10, 2017)

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