Thursday, January 01, 2015

How We Got Here


Today is the day! The Livemalls blog officially started in January 1, 2005 with a series of photos from the Raleigh, North Carolina area. The first Livemalls post was actually Saks Fifth Avenue at Triangle Town Center. At least, that's how it's labeled. It's kind of confusing because a lot of the early posts were edited and revamped over time. I never saw this as anything beyond a hobby, so I didn't keep notes.

The crazy part about this whole thing was that Livemalls has captured a lot of retail history. A lot of changes happened in the retail industry in a short amount of time. I didn't realize that it would when I started. This was originally just a way to share what I saw.

In any event, as the year goes on, I will attempt to provide some history on the blog and some content to what was posted and why. If you remember any details, please share in the comments.
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Retail history used to be an under-studied, somewhat frivolous footnote in general history. To be sure, there were several very written books on the subject, but they were mostly business histories and architectural studies. It was not generally considered a hobby and certainly wasn't something that was considered worthy of casual documentation. 

The Internet changed things. About 15 years ago, the first retail history message boards and websites began appearing. In those days, photos were still kind of rare and discussions were largely about nostalgia. But people from all over the world were connecting and sharing and realizing other people shared the same interests. In the early 2000s, the popularity of digital cameras and photo scanners, along with the increase in Internet speeds and the advent of the weblog came together to create an environment where photos and stories could be shared easily. Retail fan sites began springing up almost immediately. It was in this environment that Livemalls was created. 

Livemalls was one of the first websites with a concentrated focus on documenting retail. Initially focused on current operations in Virginia and North Carolina, the website grew to encompass a variety of historical periods and malls and department stores across America, both "live" and "dead." 

The success of Livemalls spawned countless others, each offering their own equally compelling take on retail history, documentary and fandom. The documentation evolved into art, with a number of creative individuals and groups creating museum-quality photos and exhibits. Today, there is a unprecedented recognition of retail history and a substantial amount of documentation. Part of it can be attributed to the decline of malls and physical retailers, but much of it can be attributed to the mainstreaming of the topic by many individuals and groups working tirelessly to create a record of the retail that was and a conversation on the retail of the present and the future.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the origin of "Big B"


Display World magazine; June 1968.

Display World magazine; June 1968
LiveMalls is honored to present an article from the 1968 edition of Display World magazine that described the process and ideas behind the design of the iconic but recently retired.Belk and Leggett logos.

A friend of LiveMalls, Dave Aldrich, from the incomparable retail blog, Pleasant Family Shopping, found this and sent it to me. It is truly a great addition to the blog and our Belk Archive. Many thanks to Dave, and I hope that everyone will enjoy the read.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas at Valley View Mall







A friend of LiveMalls has provided us with a series of photos of vintage Christmas scenes from Valley View Mall in Roanoke, Virginia. The photos were taken during the 1980s and 1990s, and give a definitive example of holiday display during the era.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from LiveMalls


It's easy to get caught up in all the business of Christmas, but LiveMalls wishes you a peaceful Christmas full of the most important things.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Ivey's of Orlando




Ivey's of Orlando, originally uploaded by ferret111.
The Yowell-Duckworth Building was built in 1913 as a department store. It eventually became home to the Downtown Orlando branch of the Charlotte, NC-based J.B. Ivey & Company department store chain. This store was closed on January 30, 1976. Ivey's was taken over by Dillard's in 1990.

Visit The Ivey's Archive

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Even more Belk blasts from the past...

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1937. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1937. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1939. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1940. (Pat Richardson)
Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1942. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1945. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Pattern Room, Print advertisement, 1946. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1947. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1948. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1949. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina.Print advertisement, 1953. (Pat Richardson)