Could Kennedy Mall Get a New Anchor to Replace Younkers?
It's been several years since the Iowa-based department store Younkers closed its last remaining brick-and-mortar stores. It was acquired by BrandX.com in 2018, who announced that they plan to reopen Younkers stores in 2023. Even the company's website teases a relaunch. Time will tell if that ends up happening.
One thing that's indisputable is that Younkers' closure led to Dubuque's beloved Kennedy Mall losing its original tenant and anchor. It was back in 1968 when Younkers became the first store to be a part of Kennedy Mall. Times have changed significantly, and we've seen the likes of K-Mart, Sears, and other big-box retailers all fall following their decades of sustained success.
The closure of Younkers impacted 90 employees, according to the Telegraph Herald back in 2018, but it finally seems as if there will soon be another tenant occupying the space that propelled Kennedy Mall to great success.
According to the Telegraph Herald, construction inside the old Younkers building is underway just as mall management negotiates with three national retailers in hopes of bringing a new business to the area. Kennedy Mall spokesman Joe Bell could not specify which businesses with whom mall officials were speaking, but he did say that the goal was for one of them to occupy the former Younkers building.
Work on cleaning out and maintaining the Des Moines-based women's store began in September, more than four years after Younkers closed its doors. In 2021, the space was used as one of many Dubuque County COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Bell added that should a national retailer move into the Kennedy Mall, some current stores might need to be moved and relocated within the mall. He declined to specify which stores those would be at this time.
Between the ongoing pandemic and shifting consumer shopping habits, malls across America have had great difficultly, not only in adapting, but maintaining tenants in recent years. Some sources say malls are soon to be extinct. Others say the quintessential American shopping experience is far from dead. Nevertheless, Kennedy Mall persists as a beacon of shopping in the Tri-States. It would be wonderful to see a new tenant occupy a long-dormant space.
Kennedy Mall is located at 555 JFK Road in Dubuque.