Eastwood Mall marks golden anniversary
It’s estimated that more than 2,000 people turned out for an invitation-only gala earlier this month to mark the golden anniversary of Eastwood Mall in Niles.
We suspect the turnout was so immense because this iconic shopping center has touched so many of us in so many ways during the past 50 years.
During the evening celebration, Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of Cafaro Company that owns and operates the mall, addressed the crowd standing at center court and noted the mall’s enormous value to the community.
“It’s much more than a mall. It’s a destination. It’s a community of its own,” Anthony Cafaro Jr. said.
He is correct.
Anthony and his brother, William A. Cafaro, also co-president, saluted their grandfather and fellow retail developer Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. of Boardman as pioneers in the shopping center industry.
“They changed the way people shop. They changed the way we are entertained. They even changed the way people interact,” William Cafaro said. “Even these two visionaries could never have predicted what the Eastwood Mall complex has become in the last 50 years.”
Amazingly, the venue that started out as a unique shopping center when malls were a fledgling idea, still today continues to blaze new trails in the retail development industry.
Combining the shopping center with new uses of the square footage — such as hotels, commercial office space and soon a convention center that will likely bring thousands and thousands of visitors to the venue each year — will provide unique new growth and opportunities for mall retailers.
And a business model that weds the growing e-commerce shoppers with traditional brick-and-mortar stores is something the Cafaro brothers say they have confidence in for a strong future.
Under the Cafaro family guidance, we suspect Eastwood Mall will continue to grown and evolve — hopefully for another 50 years.