I hope you’ve been enjoying this RVA summer as much as I have. The break from the school-year routine has been fantastic, and it’s given our family a chance to take in some of our favorite spots around the city.
Some of the beloved places from my own childhood and teen years in Richmond are no longer with us, sadly. The Ridge Cinemas and Golden Skateworld are gone, relegated to my ever-fading memory bank. But one RVA spot that had a very prominent place in my past is still with us and is poised to make a comeback: Not only did I spend many a day there shopping, with my mom first, and my friends later, but I worked there right out of college, just after they remodeled the whole place in green marble and brass. Can you guess where I’m talking about? You got it, Regency Square!
If you’re from my era, you’ll remember shopping for jeans at Hip Pocket and Jeans West, or maybe at Up Against the Wall, where they also had all of those crazy stick-pin buttons we put on our shirts, backpacks, and everything else. Back-to-school shoe shopping meant a trip to Hofheimer’s, Kinney, or Thom McAn, or to Bakers or Butlers when the teen years hit. Of course, everyone loved the Orange Bowl for a hot dog, slice of pizza, or soft-served ice cream cone. And who can forget Farrell’s, O’Brienstein’s, The Magic Pan, and Mr. Dunderbak’s?
My recent visit to Regency Square brought back a flood of happy memories from days gone by. “Remember the Limited, back when it was filled with mirrors? Or Ups ‘N Downs, Foxmoor, and Rave, the trifecta of teen girl shopping, all side by side on the second floor, headed toward JC Penney?” I asked my lunch date, a friend I met all those years ago while working at the mall. “I never could afford a sweater from Benetton, but it was fun to window shop,” I added.
There are still some familiar shops at good ol’ Regency Square, including Sears, JC Penney, Bath and Body Works, and Victoria’s Secret, as well as some new faves, like Charming Charlie and the two-story Forever 21. And the mall is slated for a transformation beginning in 2016. Under new, local ownership, all eyes are on the corner of Parham and Quioccasin to see what’s next for this 40-year-old Richmond institution. I just hope it doesn’t change too much, so I can still stroll down memory lane when I visit. Maybe I’d better take some pictures the next time I’m there, just in case. What I wouldn’t do for a picture of me in front of Golden Skateworld, complete with my red-wheeled roller skates draped over my shoulder.