This Is Framingham

This Is Framingham
Life in the ‘ham

Shopper’s (stupid) World

October 6th, 2006

As stated in my previous Shopper’s World post, I am not a fan of the new “world”.  I hate it.  I know some people say it was cold in the winter to shop at there but it’s also cold to walk around and shop here in the winter too- or are you supposed to get in your car and drive from one end of the parking lot to the other?  I can’t tell what the purpose of this layout is but I think it’s horrible. 

I avoid this place as much as possible out of spite but there are times I have to go.  A few weeks ago I was there with my little sister, her infant in a stroller and my mom.  We were at Babies R Us and wanted to get to DSW (pictured in the background). 
It’s such an uncomfortable process to get from one side to another. Cars don’t want to stop at the crosswalks and then when you get into the parking lot you have to cross the lanes looking both ways 2 or 3 times to make sure no one is zooming down the lane or from around the corner. There are some sidewalks that go in one direction through the parking lot but if you’re trying to go in the direction from south to north on the east side then there is no path and you have to dodge traffic.

I can’t help but wonder what people were thinking when they approved demolishing the historic old shopper’s world and the not-so-functional plans for the new one.  It’s not a relaxing place to stroll around and shop. It’s sad that I dread going to a place that I used to look forward to going to.

The Wrentham Outlets have the same idea of old shoppers world and put the parking on the outside of a pedestrian-only shopping area.  Maybe someday they’ll tear this thing down and reformat.

That’s all I have to say about that right now.


  1. I hear ya!
    Most people do drive from one store to another and that’s part of why the parking lot is so horrendous.
    I do stop for people in the cross walks but by the time I get from say AC Moore to the cross walk at Starbucks I’m kind of done with being patient for pedestrians. The whole layout is crap.

    Comment by Jennifer October 6, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

  2. Yes, I forgot this is true about driving around in there. It’s painful to drive through because pedestrians are always crossing and not always in crosswalks so it takes 10 minutes to drive across.
    I’ve seen pedestrians just stop in the middle of the crosswalk (or not even) and start yelling over to someone parking the car what store they’ll be in or start checking their cell phone and it’s frustrating. I really just try to avoid this place, it’s never an easy visit.

    Comment by michelle October 6, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  3. Complete agreement here, the new “mall” is a mess. It’s really a shame – it went from a truly groundbreaking design to what is really two strip malls that share a parking lot.

    Out near me they opened the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley not long ago. Similar design, but they had the sense to separate the two strips by a greater distance making it unlikely for pedestrians to go from one side to another. Also the main road is down the middle instead of all over the place. Still a mess in its own way, but mostly because there’s only one in/out than anything else.

    The big box stores want parking lots at their front door so you can drop that new 32″ TV into your car without traipsing through a real mall. Wrentham is nice, but wouldn’t work for Best Buy. With the move away from small retailers to the big guys I’m afraid this general design is here to stay a while.

    When I was eight years old (in Framingham) I decided the Framingham/Natick area could use a monorail. Have one giant parking lot, and monorail between that and all the malls. The other malls wouldn’t need parking any more, so just build more stores. You know we want them. Some monorail trains could have storage areas for the big stuff. All the new property tax and rent would more than pay for the monorail operation. Raytheon even has (at least as of five years ago) a great working demo of a “personal rapid transit” monorail system at its office in Marlboro. Smaller trains than typical, room for four or eight people, just hop in and press the button of the store you want and it’ll take you there. Drive up, park, and shop all day all over town.

    (I’ve been on hold the past hour and apparently needed to ramble…)

    Comment by Mitch Cohen October 6, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  4. The big three in outdoor shopping malls in Massachusetts were Shoppers World, Northshore Peabody, and Southshore Plaza in Braintree. When indoor malls came along, with Burlington and Natick, the Southshore Plaza and Northshore Peabody enlarged and put up roofs. The owners of Shoppers World (I think Allied Stores at the time) decided a roof was too expensive, for such small storefronts, especially with the larger anchors like Filenes and Sears at Natick being so close. So they listened to the experts, and architects, and anyone who thought they saw the new trend being “big box” and went with that, calling it a “Power Center”. At the same time, the original Natick Mall was demolished, and rebuilt to hearly double it’s original size. Someone at the time wondered why it was that Natick got a Mall and Framingham got a giant parking lot surrounded by boxes.
    On the upside, there aren’t any telephone poles running throught the lot, and the lighting doesn’t create a glow in the sky, it’s actually pretty dark as you travel past on route 9. I miss the old Golden Mile, with it’s glaring neon, and bright lights. There used to be something exciting about Route 9 in Framingham. Now it’s pretty boring looking.

    Comment by dave October 6, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

  5. The saddest part about new shopper’s world vs. old shopper’s world is Toys R Us. I’ve never seen one store lose so much magic. I worked at new tys R us 5 years ago. It’s worthess!

    Comment by Hummingbird Goetzl October 7, 2006 @ 2:36 am

  6. Collecting toys in the ’80s was a popular activity. I agree it’s not as much fun anymore. I don’t know if Toys R Us is the problem or if it’s us.

    Comment by dave October 22, 2006 @ 4:22 am

  7. I could not agree with you more.

    The old Shopper’s World was not just a shopping center, but a community center. Petting zoo at Christmas, the beautiful flowering bulbs that everyone came to see in the spring, the musical concerts.

    I really miss it.

    Comment by Perry February 8, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

  8. I used to love going to the old Shoppers World when I was a kid. It was like a magical day at the park. Now I dread it! I can’t get my kids to even consider coming with me unless I bribe them. What a shame. It’s a giant parking lot (that’s always full) with boring stores surrounding it.

    Comment by Tara May 2, 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  9. I totally agree! The new shoppers world SUCKS. Sure the old one was cold to walk through in winter, but who wants to walk around the new one at all? I would only ever go there for A.C. Moore on my way home from work, but they just opened near my town and no I have no reason to go there EVER.

    I miss WIndsor Button Shop.

    Comment by Kris May 10, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  10. I grew up in Framingham, though I’ve lived out of state for nearly 30 years, and I have many fond memories of the real Shoppers World. My first job was at the McCrory’s on the lower level. Even after I moved, I used to love to visit at Christmas time and shop at Shoppers World.

    I hate the new “Shoppers World.” My parents hated the new Shoppers World. It seems everybody hates the new Shoppers World. So why was it so crowded when I visited this summer?

    Framinghamians, if you have any pride in tradition, organize a boycott! If people just refuse to go there, the place will have to close or change. Demand safe and sensible design, at the very least!

    I miss the Windsor Button Shop, too! And Laurence Stationery. And Kennedys. And. . .*sigh*

    Comment by Catherine July 27, 2007 @ 3:17 am

  11. I agree and fortunately don’t live near Framingham anymore so wouldn’t need to go there. However, other towns around Boston (and every other city in America, sadly) have very similar big box shopping centers, which I do visit as little as possible. This is the unfortunate time we live in.

    I think a Wrentham Village design would actually work for Shopper’s World. The Best Buy type stores that sell the massive appliances could have a pick-up area in the rear of the store facing the parking lot, much like Lechmere used to have. This design could be implemented by raising 1/2 of the current mall and rebuilding close to the remaining side. Picture a brick walkway going down the middle, trees, maybe an outdoor cafe or 2, a gazebo like the old SW w/ Santa in winter. Won’t happen, but it’s fun to imagine…

    One last idea would be to submerge parking and build either a park in the center or, if it had to be buildings, bring some decent, non-chain dining options to the area and build them around a park-like environment featuring fountains, outdoor, cafe-style seating, etc.

    Comment by Nathan August 12, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

  12. For some nostalgia, check out this video of the Natick Mall just as demolition was beginning in June, 1993:

    Comment by Nathan September 16, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  13. All of our malls here in Florida are set up like your new Shoppers World. It’s like the parking lot is the center of it all surrounded by a Marshalls and a Best Buy. What happened to the shops being the center of it all?

    Comment by Alli June 27, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  14. You mean there’s more stores past Best Buy? I don’t even bother going that far… If I need anything from over there I always figure I might as well drive to the Natick Mall. Barnes and Nobles is really the only good thing left in that wreck.

    Comment by Hygor November 12, 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  15. My pregnant wife was almost hit by a car while walking across that crosswalk. People drive like idiots over at Shoppers World and I’m not really sure why, but it just seems like they do.

    Comment by Nick Inglis August 13, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  16. Nice blog, actually interesting stuff! Anyway, yes I loved the old Shoppers World and if I end up at the new more than twice a year that’s something… Just a dumb collections of boxes.

    Comment by Charlie September 2, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  17. I hear you guys. I especially miss the old dome…and the courtyard…and the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins.

    There are rumors that they are changing Shopper’s world…again. Hopefully, they will get things right.

    Like, get RID of the parking lot and replace it with a public courtyard (that can be used for seasonal events and festivals), build a parking garage, and even put another floor on top and put smaller tenants on top.

    Yes, I even written a blog on a hopeful new design:

    Comment by James December 19, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

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