In the early 1900s, a cattle farm existed on this piece of property in central Phoenix, Arizona. Fast-forward to around 1959… The Mars family, who owned the cattle farm, signed over a 100-year lease of the property, and the Town & Country open-air shopping mall was built.
Like water in this arid land, much of the history of Town & Country mall has evaporated. No one seems to know who built the original mall, and no one seems to recall who the first tenants were. But two long-time tenants of the mall, G. Darrell Olsen of Jewels by G. Darrell Olson and Fred Vanderlann of Town & Country Roffler Styling Salon provided some of the institutional memory of this mall, dating back to the mid-1970s. “This mall has never enjoyed full tenancy, but some very interesting businesses have come and gone,” says G. Darrell Olson. Residents of Phoenix may share his memories of the Food Bazaar (several restaurants in one, where you could choose several cuisines of different cultures), Jutenhoops (for all kinds of funky gifts, cards and paraphernalia), Tangs Imports, Alpine Ski Keller, and a small Harkins movie theatre. Two famed Phoenix restaurants, Pizzeria Bianco and Rancho Pinot got their start at the Town & Country location.
Residents who remember the disco era in Phoenix probably went to Bogart’s or the Jockey Club. Shoppers in those eras may also recall the UNICEF store and Smitty’s. Golfers may remember the nine-hole Milky Way golf course south of the property below Highland. In the same spot since 1975, Fred Vanderlaan of Town & Country Roffler Styling Salon says that he plans to be here until 2014. He says that the mall was built in 1959 but opened in 1960. He thinks that the structural and decorative improvements that the Grossman Company did in the 1980s were great.
The lease will be up in about 50 years so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the sense of Phoenix history present at Town & Country’s open-air mall.