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80s Everett: The Everett Mall

80s Everett: The Everett Mall

In 1988 Barb Lamoureux started selling real estate. Thirty years later we’re celebrating Barb's legacy in Everett by heading back to the beginning to remember what Everett was like in the 1980s. Our next stop: The Everett Mall


The 1980s was a decade of radical transformation for Everett, Washington. As the era of hairspray, soft-lit music videos and Molly Ringwald came to pass, our little lumber town suffered from growing pains as it tried to adapt to the depletion of the region’s natural resources.

The closing of most mills meant that the city had to diversify its economy. What did that look like? Nobody seemed to know.

The old brick-and-mortar department stores in the downtown core of North Everett began to shutter their doors as more and more local shoppers were drawn down I-5 to South Everett to spend their money at the relatively new Everett Mall.

Interior of the Everett mall in June 1975 // Neil House (from the NW Room’s digital collection).

Interior of the Everett mall in June 1975 // Neil House (from the NW Room’s digital collection).

Initially conceived in the late 1960s by Tacoma architects and backed by Hollywood investors, for the first ten years or so the Everett Mall appeared to be a bad investment. The mall’s opening in the early 1970s corresponded with a national economic recession and cutbacks at Boeing. Even with a big movie theater, the mall remained a ghost town for about a decade after opening, its unused storefronts covered by drapery.

In 1980 builders completed a brand-new $20 million east wing. The expansion and new anchor tenants were just what the fledgling shopping center needed. The newly-expanded mall benefitted from a boost as free-market Reaganomics put a flush of cash into the pockets of shoppers’ acid-washed jeans.

And so the shoppers came to the Everett Mall. They came in their high top white sneakers and peg-leg pants. They came in their oversized sweaters and sideways ponytails, smoking indoors, clacking their heels on the tile walkways, and filing their bags with delicious must-have fall fashion accessories from Mervyn’s.

The 1980s was the heydey for mall culture both in Everett and in America at large. The Everett Mall thrived, thanks to its anchor tenants Sears & Roebuck and The Bon Marche. The Sears & Roebuck, when it originally opened, had 50 departments, auto repair stalls, and a coffee shop.

The mall continued to do well until the late 2000s when the Great Recession again damaged the retail center. The mall has continued to struggle to recover from the recession and adapt to changing consumer patterns.

Fewer modern shoppers desire the mall experience, preferring instead to patronize smaller boutique shops and enjoying the convenience of online shopping. Local politicians have talked about converting the mall to be a mixed-use space with great public transportation access and green spaces.

South Everett still remains a vital retail center, filled with big box stores and strip malls emanating delicious food aromas. Neither extremity of the city is superior; they simply offer different shopping and dining experiences for residents and visitors.

Shopping venues come and go, but one thing is still the same as in the 1980s: Everett is a great place to call home.  

Also still the same; Lamoureux Real Estates dedication to serving the Everett communities real estate needs. Cheers to Barb Lamoureux on 30 years!

That’s it for this month’s '80s Everett! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get all of our articles in your inbox.

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