Is Dunham’s returning to Marquette? It sure looks like it. Check the job search website Indeed and you’ll find employment listings for a Marquette location.
Calls to Dunham’s have gone unreturned, but reliable sources indicate that the prime Westwood Mall space previously occupied by Younkers is under consideration.
And wouldn’t that be a shot in the arm for the mall? Like many malls around the country, the Westwood Mall has seen an exodus of tenants, to the point where there are only 9 of 31 spaces currently occupied.
Locals have been pining for a full-service sporting goods store ever since MC Sports left the mall several years ago.
If Dunham’s opens there, expect to see more businesses follow. At least that’s the hope of mall management.
And here’s another one.
The NORTHIRON Church, with current locations in L’Anse and Ishpeming is another prospective tenant. Well, more than prospective… they’re definitely moving in, as remodeling is about to begin in the old JC Penney space.
At first glance, a church in a mall seems untraditional, but like the NORTHIRON Church itself, untraditional might represent a new trend in religious service.
Lead Pastor Mark Broberg explains the philosophy that drives their mission. Something that doesn’t require an old church in the woods.
“We are a life-giving church, who feel our calling is to proclaim Jesus as the answer to your issues no matter how deep or troubled they are. Our focus is on grace, forgiveness and redemption, and not the religion of man.”
With locations in L’Anse and Ishpeming, and soon to be in Marquette, it appears NORTHIRON Church is bucking the trend of people leaving organized religion.
And just like a new Dunham’s might spur more interest in the mall, a church could do the same. Imagine hundreds of people attending meetings and services and then wandering into the mall to see what else is happening.
NORTHIRON Church begets a coffee shop, which begets a gift store, which begets another clothing store, which begets… well, you get the idea.
With all the activity taking place in Marquette Township, there’s no good reason why the mall can’t become relevant again. They’ll be in our thoughts… and apparently our prayers, too.
And more from the Westwood Mall…
A New Builders’ Show
The builders’ show that’s been a regular stop for homeowners since the 70’s has been totally remodeled with a new home, a new focus, and a new name.
The U.P. Home & Garden Show is the creation of the Home Builders Association, who previously sponsored the popular U.P. Builders Show in conjunction with the Marquette Builders Exchange.
Although the Builders Exchange has opted out, the Home Builders Association has decided the show must go on, albeit with a more residential focus, better targeted at the general public’s interests.
Changes? You bet. The 2021 version will debut at the Westwood Mall… in late April. Not in the Superior Dome, and not in March. With a new spot on the calendar, it’s no longer one of the first signs of spring.
According to Sarah Foster, Executive Director of the HBA, the changes to both the schedule and venue were pandemic driven, but present some interesting possibilities.
“With the show being about seven weeks later in the year, this provides an opportunity for outdoor spaces with nicer weather. We will also be working with Marquette Township and allowing food trucks, and we’ll be promoting the township’s restaurants.”
So what else is new?
“We’ll have a lot of the same things people are used to as well as some changes. We’ve opened the show to non-profits, approved by the committee, and also to some hobbyists that hand-make furniture and home decor, etc.
“Vendors will be set up throughout the whole mall, corridors, some of the empty storefronts, the old MC Sports, and outside.”
And there’s the change in sponsorship. In evaluating their mission, the Builders Exchange decided to get out of show business and address issues of greater concern to their membership.
According to Jennifer Lammi, Executive Director of the Marquette Builders Exchange, the division of duties makes sense.
“Our organizations work together on many issues relating to the construction industry, and help each other in many ways, and this is one way we can divide up the support of the construction industry between us, each working with our strengths and focusing on our missions.”
So what about next year?
The HBA’s Foster offers this… “We are planning on returning to the dome for 2022 if the state guidelines allow and things are back to some kind of normal… but with that said, we’ll see how things go at the mall this year.”
Nice to see a valuable event still rolling and helping build our community.
For more info, visit www.uphomeandgardenshow.org