Ocean County Mall
Center court during Christmas 2006
|Location||Toms River, New Jersey, USA|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||140+|
|No. of anchor tenants||4|
|Total retail floor area||890,000 sq ft (83,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||1 (2 Macy's, Boscov's, and JCPenney)|
|Public transit access||New Jersey Transit bus: 67|
The Ocean County Mall is a super-regional mall, opened in 1976 by Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, located in Toms River, New Jersey on Hooper Avenue (County Route 549). The mall is accessible from Exit 82 of the Garden State Parkway via Route 37 East. The mall is managed by Simon Property Group. The mall has a gross leasable area of 890,000 sq ft (83,000 m2).
The mall is anchored by Boscov's, JCPenney, Macy's and Sears. It also contains several eateries, and a small food court. The Ocean County Mall is the only enclosed mall in Ocean County. It is a popular destination for tourists in the Toms River area during the summer season.
In the 1970s, the Toms River area, although growing quickly, was still relatively rural. The closest malls were the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, and the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor. With the growing need for an enclosed mall, the mall was originally planned to be at the intersection of Route 37 and the Garden State Parkway. However, the mall opened in 1976 at its current location at Hooper Avenue and Bay Avenue, with 3 anchors and a cinema.
In 1988, a small expansion was built which included a Stern's. When the chain went out of business, it was turned into Boscov's. Around the same time, the General Cinema quietly closed down due to competition from the AMC-Loews across the street at Seacourt Pavilion. The Cinema's main mall entrance near Applebee's was sealed off for years, while the small side hallway near Sears remained locked and dark. In 2009, Benihana opened in the vacant space. Benihana closed abruptly in February, 2012, and was replaced by Ichiban, a similar style restaurant, in 2013.
In 2003, the mall received a complete renovation, which added new signage, flooring, lighting, seating areas, and lighting in the parking lot. The renovation was partially sponsored by the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, which donated seating & lounge areas, in part to encourage mall walking. To accommodate, there is a stretch of discolored tile around the perimeter of the mall with numbers engraved marking walking distance. Also, Starbucks and Auntie Annes open at 8:30 am (10:00 on Sundays) to cater to the mall walkers who arrive before the rest of the mall opens.
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Mall anchors, listed in descending order by square footage, are as follows:
- Macy's (174,120 sq ft.) opened as Bamberger's in 1977
- J.C. Penney (173,428 sq ft.)
- Boscov's (165,855 sq ft.) formerly Stern's, a 1991 expansion
- Sears (107,430 sq ft.)
- "Ocean County Mall Fact Sheet" (PDF). Simon Property Group. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- International Council of Shopping Centers: Ocean County Mall, accessed September 21, 2006
- Sardella, Carlo M. (March 16, 1975). "Huge Mall Is Planned in Ocean County". The New York Times.
-  Toms River Patch, accessed 11/1/2015