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From the Archives: Parkway Plaza opened in 1972

Parkway Plaza opened in October 1972 as the first air-conditioned, enclosed shopping mall in San Diego County.

It was a $30 million retail development on 80 acres in El Cajon. Its “anchors” were a two-story, 285,000-square-foot Sears store and a 110,000-square-foot May Co. store. A hundred small retailers and a large Woolworth’s store separated the two anchors.

According to the center’s administrators in 1972, the typical customer expected at the Parkway Plaza shopping center was “a 27-year-old housewife with one child and a husband who earned about $11,000 a year.”

From the Evening Tribune, Monday, Oct. 2, 1972:


Three flags to fly at Plaza opening

Tomorrow three flags will be hoisted — the American flag, California flag and the Parkway Plaza flag at opening day ceremonies for the new shopping center.

From 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. a VIP champagne tour will be given for elected officials from El Cajon; other shopping center management teams, and the news media.

Ed Backlund, vice president of the development division for E.W. Hahn Inc., will deliver an opening day address at 9:30 a.m.

At 10 a.m. , the flags will be raised by members of the El Cajon council, Boy Scouts of America. The El Cajon High School marching band will play the national anthem and a medley of tunes.

Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting, a giant-padlock which will lock chains placed across the shopping center entrance, will be unlocked with an equally giant-sized key held by the center’s manager, developer, Merchants Assn. representative, Chamber of Commerce representative and Mayor James Snapp of El Cajon.

The public will then be invited to view the new stores.

Here are some of the original shopping center tenants, in alphabetical order.

Alroe women’s wear, Anita Shop, Vince Bartolone Realty, Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors Ice Cream Store, Bel Aire Uniforms, The Brick Shirt House, California Bicycle Shop, and the Casons Inn seafood restaurant.

Central Federal Savings & Loan, Chess King contemporary sports wear, Cohen’s Kosher Style Deli, Crazy Shirts, Daisy’s restaurant, Edie Adams Cut & Curl and Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor restaurant.

Fashion Conspiracy, Florsheim Shoes, Food Basket Market, Foxmoor women’s fashions, The Gap, Gallenkamps shoes, Happy Steak, Hardy Shoes, Hartfields (women’s wear), and Hatfield Jewelers.

Household Finance Corp. of El Cajon, International Health Foods Ltd., Jacobson’s department store, Jeans West, Karl’s Shoes, Kinderfoto, optometrist Dr. David L. Land, dentist Dr. Terry L. Lawrence , Lawson Jewelers and Leed’s women’s shoes.

Leonard’s men’s wear, Marina Carpets & Draperies, Masters Exclusive Candies, May Company, Mission Music Co., Morrow’s Nuts, Mother To Be Maternity shops, Mr. E men’s wear, Nature Food Centers, Night & Day Formal Wear, Parkway Barbers and Parkway Plaza Laundry.

Pup “N” Juice, Radio Shack, Rafferty’s Candies, Rebel Shop men’s wear, Regal Shoes, Richman Brothers shoes, Riviera Chairs and Sofa Beds and the Sears, Roebuck & Co. anchor tenant that first opened on the site in 1969.

Singer sewing machines, Straw Hat Pizza Palace Restaurants, Streicher Shoes, Swiss Colony, Thom McAn shoes, Thompson Jewelers, Thrifty Drug Stores Inc., Tie Shak, The Tinder box smoking supplies and Triple R shoe repair

United California Bank, United Artists movie theaters, United Sporting Goods, Universal Boot Shops, Walden Book Stores, Weisfield Jewelers, Wherehouse records, Wicks “N” Sticks craft store, Woolworths and Yardage City.

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