15 May 2013

No Supply, No Demand - Cloverleaf Mall, Richmond, VA

Cloverleaf Mall was another place that I was never fortunate enough to visit in person, but, man, I wish I had. From the pictures I've seen on the internet, the exterior was severly seventies in every stylistic way. It even bordered on revolting in places, and this opinion is from someone who thought that the yellow tinted glass porticoes of the JCPenney at Norfolk's Military Circle Mall were quite handsome. Labelscar and Deadmalls.com have excellent photos where you can see for yourself exactly what I mean.

Cloverleaf Mall Mallmanac ca. 1988. View the full PDF version here.

I was lucky enough to pick up this mallmanac when Cloverleaf was in the midst of their first, and apparently only renovation during its lifespan. Completed in the late eighties, the renderings made the "new look" of Cloverleaf appear bitchin' enough, at least from my inexperienced teenage eyes. They were installing placards of big happy fish in the food court; how appetizing. Ceramic was replacing what I'm sure were either dark wooden or tile floors, and I'll bet they were Miami Vice pastel. Pink or blue; it had to be. It's in the Renovating a Shopping Mall During the Late Eighties and Early Nineties For Dummies handbook.

Cloverleaf Mall in the eighties. The blue spaces represent vacancies, so it's pretty evident that the mall is in decline already.

Cloverleaf Mall, making its debut in 1972, was named for the cloverleaf shaped interchange of Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway. The mall was fairly successful in its early years, even surviving the addition of Regency Square to the market. But the nineties brought a change in demographics to the surrounding area. Along with it came a perception of crime that became a reality when in 1996 a couple of mall employees were murdered inside their store. By then, Thalhimer's had closed its store along with the rest of the chain and the space had remained empty. Eventually, both Sears and JCPenney decided not to renew their leases. The mall, then anchorless with no prospective replacements, was finally laid to rest in 2008 with that 1988 renovation, big fish and all, still gracing the interior.

Remembering 35 Years of Cloverleaf Mall


  1. (smiles) you would have liked it in the older days prior to the (groan) "miami worse" makeover a great 5 & 10 store but post '90's they did get a few great stores prior to the "crash & exodus) lets see um babages later eb games (the older ones with the monitors just outside streaming game footage) and a smallish tracks record store (i'm not kiddin when i mean "small") and later still a HUGE blockbuster music after cbs had bought blockbuster vdeo and tracks/record bar

    1. Man, I really wish that I would have seen Cloverleaf in it's heyday. Its extreme seventies decor would have put me in heaven.

      Having never gone there, did it really end up looking like those mallmanac renderings after its late eighties remodel? The circular food court with neon fish seemed a little tacky even for that decade...

  2. Very nice! I spent a great deal of time documenting the demise of Cloverleaf (I have loads of pics if you'd like any), and just wanted to make a correction. Thalhimers was never empty - they sold out to Hechts, which took over the spot. JCPenney was actually the first anchor to leave. To answer your question about the food court, it DID have a ton of neon, but I don't recall any fish (nor are there any in the pictures I took just prior to demolition). You hit the nail right on the head though - coral pink and turquoise blue abounded.

  3. As a child of the 70-80s plenty of my days were spent there with my mother and grandmother. I loved it and I even had the pleasure of taking my daughter there as a baby for her first pics in 91 and shopping at Sears. For its time it was a great mall!!!

  4. I saved a map from ca. 2000 that originated on Storetrax. Not sure what I did with it though.