The parking lot was full of vehicles. Every available parking space for several blocks in all directions was full too. The crowd was shoulder to shoulder. Parents held tightly to their children. Great excitement in the City of Minot!
The year was 1962. The occasion was the grand opening of Arrowhead Mall, the first shopping center in all of North Dakota. Although Minot’s retail heart remained on Main Street, Arrowhead Mall provided an expanded shopping experience in an entirely new environment. People loved it.
Minot was solidifying its grip as a retail destination for northwest North Dakota. Within two years all eyes in the state focused on Minot once again as the sprawling Town and Country Shopping Center opened its doors. For several years it was billed as the state’s largest shopping center, adding to the city’s distinction of having the state’s first shopping mall.
There were a number of popular stores in Town and Country, which boasted “air conditioning” and parking for more than 1,000 cars. Sears Roebuck and Company was the main anchor store. Special events were held inside the mall to attract customers. There was even a giant slide, the “Sky Slipper”, located for time in a small parking lot behind Town and Country.
In the late 1970s construction got underway on Minot’s south edge for yet another shopping center – Dakota Square Mall. It was a huge undertaking with an opening much anticipated by shoppers throughout the Minot trade area. It finally opened in 1980 with major retailers including Sears and J.C. Penny.
Minot’s shopping malls have changed considerably over the years. Retailers come and go, often making room for professional services and the like.
Is there another shopping center in Minot’s future? Not likely, at least not in the same form as in the past. Also, Minot has expanded considerably since the opening of Arrowhead Mall and shopping habits have changed along with the conveniences and variety offered by the internet.
Still, there was a time when Minot boasted both the first and largest shopping malls in the entire state.