It turns out we at the Rutland Herald aren’t the only folks getting chased out of the Diamond Run Mall for taking pictures.
Some recent web surfing has revealed a genre of YouTube videos dedicated to “dead mall tours.” Our own local mall was featured in two of them.
The first was posted by someone with the username “Yellowfang” in August 2017. Yellowfang’s walk-through of the mall took place while Kmart and LaFlamme’s were still open. The narration begins by noting the directory sign had not been updated in the month since Eastern Mountain Sports closed.
“There’s still a GNC — of course there is!” Yellowfang declared.
I do have to quibble somewhat with Yellowfang’s journalistic integrity.
The narration says the mall has 100 seats and not a single person sitting in them just a second or two after panning past two people sitting at a table in the food court. Which was otherwise empty. And no longer has any restaurants.
After about nine minutes, the video fades to black and the narrator describes a confrontation with mall security before the video cuts to footage of the parking lot.
“That’s probably the smallest Kmart sign I’ve ever seen,” Yellowfang said while showing the entrance.
The second video was posted last February by “EchoKnightConnor,” who arrives during Kmart’s closing sale.
“This is the first busy Kmart I have ever seen in my life,” EchoKnightConnor says.
This user spends more than half the video in Kmart, and I was relieved not to see myself picking through the Star Wars toys. Once he finally crossed over into the mall proper, he commented on how dark it was, something I’ve noted myself on some recent trips to Old Navy.
Like the first video, the second one notes GNC, calling it and Bath & Body Works “dead mall staples.”
The second video contains a few ironic moments, such as when it notes the LaFlamme’s furniture sign: “Store NOT closing sale” — it’s not clear when exactly the video was shot, but by the time it was posted, LaFlamme’s had been forced to liquidate as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. At another point, a caption reads “This mall could be a spot for a BJ’s Wholesale.” As some may remember, it almost was, but BJ’s decided they’d be better off developing new property across Route 7, and then the owners of the mall held up the permitting process until BJ’s decided to pull out altogether.
Rumors persist that the mall will soon become a Super Walmart. Any evidence — in the form of, say, a property transfer or any sort of permit application — remains elusive.
City Hall is closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means the Board of Aldermen will meet Tuesday next week.