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Darien Outlet Mall, 1111 Magnolia Bluff Way (Darien Georgia): 2016-ish   no comments

Posted at 11:30 pm in closing



This outlet mall is in Darien Georgia on the west side of I-95 Exit 49 (across the interchange from the old Cafe Risque). I used to stop there from time to time on my way to Fernandina as they had one of those overstock "Giant Book Sale" storefronts where I picked up an interesting title or two over the years.

Starting around 2015 however the place started going downhill fast. I'm not sure why, as at the time the decline started, the buildings were still well maintained and attractive, and I-95 was certainly as busy as ever. I suppose it was part of the general Internet-based retail hollowing out that we have seen in many places. Now the entire place is vacant, and even the antiques store, which I thouht might still be going, is just abandoned stock from the defunct operation, though it does host a large colony of feral cats.

Apparently there have been a number of things that have *almost* happened here, with one of them, International Decor Outlet getting as far as opening their doors before folding. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, but the whole concept which seems to be something like connecting manufacturers in China with US storefronts seems odd and hard to understand, and the company also got into trouble in a Jacksonville mall and downtown Jacksonville as well.

In mid-2020 another developer passed on the mall due ostensibly to COVID-19. I suspect that is what led to Ruby Tuesday giving up the ghost. As I recall, it was still open when I drove to Fernandina in December of 2020, but the building is now a local sports bar. Along with the restaurant, several gas stations and convenience stores a victim to the mall's closure, and I may feature some here later.

You can see the mall in happier times in some nice pictures at this real estate site and note the demographics that make this place really dependant on Interstate custom: Less than 20,000 people live in a ten mile radius of the site.

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Written by ted on August 9th, 2021

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