BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — It is an iconic landmark of Minnesota. On Friday, the Mall of America celebrates 25 years since it opened.
The Minnesota Twins and Vikings left Metropolitan Stadium for the Metrodome in 1982. The space left behind would later become Mall of America in 1992.
So what would a 25th birthday be without a party? They had events going on all day in the mall’s rotunda, including live music.
There have been a lot of changes since the doors first opened in 1992. We even had fun seeing WCCO’s first broadcast at the Mall of America.
Today, the Mall of America is a multi-billion dollar money maker — but it was just a vision when crews broke ground in 1989.
“It was cold outside. People were like Minnesota? How is this going to work?” Jill Renslow, the senior vice president for Business Development at the Mall of America, said.
The nation’s largest mall debuted on Aug. 11, 1992. WCCO had a live broadcast ahead of the grand opening.
“There will be 270 stores but there will be 400 of them when this is all said and done,” Colleen Needles reported at the time.
Make that 522 stores today. Of those, 40 were here 25 years ago.
“I think there was a lot of to do. It’s a big place, just how huge it is,” Diane Dudzik of Stillwater said.
It had it all — food, entertainment and an indoor theme park. It’s been featured in Hollywood movies.
When the mall opened, there was a store called Bare Bones –that sold bones, replicas and skulls.
I’ve pretty much had every job on the operations side,” Richard Hoge said.
Richard Hoge is one of the nearly 11,000 employees that work at the Mall of America. He worked in maintenance when the mall opened 25 years ago.
Today, he’s executive vice president of operations.
“All of this mall is extremely beautiful and we have a lot to offer. We have a great team here and that’s what makes this really special,” Hoge said.
Special that even with upgrades and makeovers, or the changeover from Camp Snoopy to Nickelodeon, Universe in 1998, mall officials have kept some of the fan favorites for a walk down memory lane.
Mall of America officials say one big change that has happened over the year is making the mall even more of an experience. They say today, about 70 percent of the revenue is from shopping but 30 percent is entertainment and restaurants.
They said making the Mall of America a family experience is why it has done so well.
The mall also has partnerships with tech companies like Amazon and Uber to make sure that they can deliver a more convenient and personalized experience to shoppers.
The mall is hosting many events in honor of its 25th anniversary.
A complete list is available here.