Home Back to the past: Readers share memories of Staunton Mall

Back to the past: Readers share memories of Staunton Mall

Rebecca Barnabi
Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi

Staunton Mall is no more, but the memories are forever. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, but also look hopeful toward the future of construction at the former mall.

Terry L Biby of Fairfield, 66, was a senior at Riverheads High School when she took her first job at Staunton Mall Plaza Cinema.

She said she was a ticket taker and a concessions girl. She made popcorn, and sold candy and sodas.

“I had so much fun and met all the locals. Sometimes by boyfriend would pick me up afterwards or my mom. It was one of the best times of my life,” Biby said.

Linda C. Turning, 64, has lived in Staunton her entire life. She said her mother bought appliances, school clothes and winter coats at the Montgomery Ward that was once in the mall.

“When I was a teenager, I loved getting my clothes from Sydney’s. Cool clothes.

So many memories,” Turning said. She loves Belk, but misses JC Penny. “Wish I was a millionaire. I would rebuild it.”

Turning said that Staunton needs a shopping mall.

Crystal Abbe Graham, 45, of Waynesboro, is Augusta Free Press’s Regional Editor. Her father used to live across the street from the mall in the Manchester Townhouses. She and her late twin sister, Tina, and older sister, Heather, spent a lot of time at Staunton Mall.

“I can’t tell you the amount of time we spent at the mall. In the early days, we’d spend time at the Cinnamon Bun place there or the Woolworth lunch counter,” Graham said.

As teenagers, the sisters walked the mall and looked for boys to meet. They hung out at the arcade and watched scary movies, including the first “Pet Cemetery.”

“I remember my older sister and I sneaking subs from Subway into the movies — and we never got caught — even when she had a meatball sub that smelled up the entire theater. We’d also sneak in yogurt from I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt across the street from the mall,” Graham said.

She said she loved Big Dipper “and their crazy vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone. My mom got us a birthday cake there once with banana and crazy vanilla ice cream flavors.”

As an adult, Graham’s husband bought her first diamond necklace at the mall.

“My favorite store as an adult there was definitely Maurice’s. I still miss that store. It’s just not the same shopping online,” she said.

Graham said that seeing the mall demolished is sad, but other than shopping at Maurice’s, she had not spent much time in the mall in the last 10 years.

“I’m nostalgic thinking of all the wonderful memories there but hopeful that what comes next will create a new generation of memories for those in Staunton and beyond. It’s funny how things come full circle and buying habits change. I don’t remember the mall being outside before it was converted to an inside mall but I hear about it all the time. And now we go back to what it once was. I hope it is as successful as Waynesboro’s Town Center,” Graham said.





Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.