Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.
Shops on Main in Schererville is newer and more buzzed-about.
You can find better deals at Lighthouse Premium Outlets in Michigan City. The proposed 80- to 100-store outlet mall a developer wants to build near Interstate 65 in Crown Point likely would peel some traffic away.
Enclosed malls everywhere are not exactly at their height of popularity and cultural relevance, especially as department stores are folding across the country.
But Southlake Mall in Hobart remains the king of shopping in Northwest Indiana. The super-regional mall at U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street, the second largest in the state of Indiana, continues to attract new tenants.
Mr. Kay's recently opened a shoe store in Southlake Mall, its second location. The footwear retailer has been located in River Oaks Center in Calumet City since 2007, and specializes in shoes, socks and accessories for larger customers. It's known for a "large stock of hard-to-find sizes," including for formal occasions.
Southlake Mall already has many shoe stores, including Aldo, DTLR, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Kids Foot Locker, Payless ShoeSource, Skechers, Tradehome Shoes, and Vans, though many focus mainly on athletic sneakers.
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On the lower level of the Southlake Mall near Sears, Fashion 5 opened a women's clothing store that caters to younger customers. The retailer sells shirts, tops, blouses, cardigans, jackets, knit sweaters and fleece jackets in various styles, including casual, sporty and on-trend.
The growing chain says it lets customers "express themselves." It has a few other Chicago area locations, including in the Woodfield Mall and Chicagoland Premium Outlets.
Kumar’s Jewelers also opened a new jewelry store in the mall. The locally owned business sells engagement rings, pearls, watches and jewelry make with silver, stainless steel, tungsten, titanium and contemporary metals.
The store offers financing and layaway, as well as engravings, jewelry and watch repairs, battery replacements and custom orders such as charms and dog tags.
About six months ago, Luxury Waist Training opened a health and beauty and women's clothing store geared at slimming waste lines in the Southlake Mall.
The store sells shapewear such as cinchers, shapers, fajas and body wraps that are supposed to help female customers attain an hourglass shape.
"At Luxury, every woman deserves to look and feel her best everyday. Waist training/shape ware helps improve confidence and slims your waist line. It's capable of really putting things in immediately," the locally owned retailer says on its website. "It's also going to help you activate muscle groups without any direct activity on your behalf — giving you work out like results throughout your whole day."
Baseball Card Exchange, the Schererville-based sports card and collectibles store, opened an outpost on the second floor of the mall in August. The shop, which feels like a shrine to Chicago sports, sells baseball cards, signed jerseys, signed photos, signed footballs, and other sports collectibles for the casual fan, the hobbyist, the serious collector or the nephew you need to buy a birthday gift for.
There's no more free tea in those little plastic cups for mall-goers, whether they pretended to be interested in purchasing a tea pot for a few seconds or just strode on.
The Teavana in Southlake Mall was one of the longest in the country to hold on, drawing visitors from as far as Missouri looking to stock up on its liquidated goods in its final days. But the tea shop finally folded along with all the others, as parent company Starbucks decided to close all 379 Teavana stores nationwide after acquiring the fancy loose leaf tea purveyor in 2012.
If you missed it in an earlier column, Oooh Wee Candy and Cereal Bar hopes to open in the Southlake Mall on April 20. The retailer, which also has a location at River Oaks Center in Calumet City, sells cereal by the bowl with 10 different types of milk and 25 topping options, as well as old school candy that can be purchased by the piece so it's more affordable for kids.
If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219.933.3316.