By VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter
How did an Arkansas-based retailer become an anchor store in Stockton’s Weberstown Mall?
Turn back the clock to 1997. That’s when Dillard’s Inc., a then 260-unit chain located primarily in the South and Southwest, looked in to expanding into California.
Dillard’s had its sights on a 200,000-square-foot store in the spot in the mall that was once occupied by Weinstocks.
The Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa was also in the running – those in charge were more concerned about added traffic – but settled on the now defunct Fresno-based retailer Gottschalks.
Rod Ashworth, who was the general manager at Weberstown, was proud to get the higher-end tenant getting mixed in with the other occupants of the mall.
With that, the old Weinstocks building was razed and Dillard’s was built in its place.
“We expect by the middle of next year to be close to 100 percent,” he said of the occupancy rate in an article published Nov. 1, 1997 in the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ve gotten so much interest since Dillard’s opened.”
Dillard’s in Stockton continues to be the only one in Northern California.
The two other stores can be found in Southern California – the Antelope Valley Mall (Palmdale) and the Imperial Valley Mall (El Centro, Imperial County).
Weberstown Mall has plenty of history.
One famous presidential candidate made a stop here during the 1968 presidential primaries.
Sen. Bobby Kennedy was in Stockton for the second time in two months during his ill-fated campaign. On May 21, he was greeted by well over 1,000 supporters during a rally held inside the mall. Sadly, Kennedy fell to an assassin’s bullet some two weeks later in Los Angeles after an all-important victory in California.
The mall is anchored by JC Penney’s and Sears, which is happens to be the last of the original stores.
The Barnes & Noble bookstore is popular hangout spot along with See’s Candies – particularly during the holidays – located smack dab in the middle of the indoor facility.
Food choices here are Mr. Sibs, Charley’s Grilled Sub, Surf City Squeeze, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Cinnabon, Chipotle, and the soon-to-be-open Panera Bread.
In terms of activity, mall walkers and a group doing Tai Chi can be found here in the morning just prior to the opening of the stores.
Location: 4950 Pacific Ave.
Information: www.weberstown.com /209.477.0245
The Sherwood Mall has what Weberstown Mall lacks – a food court.
The Patio Food Court features McDonald’s, Subway / TCBY, PizzaGo, Chinese Gourmet Express, and Toda Sushi & Teppanyaki Grill.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brew opened earlier this year across the mall parking lot at 5202 Pacific Ave., giving locals yet another food option.
Other notable places nearby include Macaroni Grill, Starbucks, Panda Express, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Ono Hawaiian BBQ.
This mall is anchored by Macy’s – one of the original stores still standing – Best Buy, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which opened in the space once occupied by Gottschalks.
Next door to that is the mall’s latest attraction in the Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
“Sky Zone features an array of fun, fit and low-impact activities ranging from Open Jump, Ultimate Dodgeball, and SkyRobics fitness,” according to www.visitstockton.com.
Next to Best Buy are Petco, Ulta and Home Goods.
Location: 5308 Pacific Ave.
Information: www.sherwoodmall.com / 209.952.6277