From Bob P:
I know it was the first of two malls in Saginaw, Michigan (three if the small Downtown Saginaw Mall counts). It started out with a Kmart/Kmart Foods combo that opened in 1966. The mall itself opened a year later, with the other major stores being Scott's 5 & 10, a one-screen movie theater, and Federal's department store. Around 1975, Fashion Square Mall was built on the other side of town. Easily several times larger than Fort Saginaw Mall, Fashion Square was anchored by JCPenney and Sears, as well as two local department stores: Heavenrich’s and Wiechmann’s, with Hudson's to come in a couple more years.
Federal went bankrupt sometime around 1977 (they also had a store at Green Acres Plaza a few miles away), and Scott's 5 & 10 became part of the T G & Y chain. The Fort Saginaw Mall Theater closed in 1976, reportedly because the manager was murdered. When Kmart abandoned the Kmart Foods concept, the old Kmart Foods space was used to expand the Kmart.
From what I can tell, Federal remained vacant until Burlington Coat Factory took over the space in the 1980s. A Big Lots was added at some point as well. T G & Y became Norman's, a local sporting goods store with branches in Bay City, Standish, East Tawas, and Bad Axe. Nonetheless, the crime rate in Buena Vista continued to climb throughout the 1980s, and Fashion Square's neighborhood was quickly filling up with big chain stores and fast foods for miles around. Despite a plethora of empty big boxes, the north side of Saginaw is still the main retail hub.
By 1990, fewer than a dozen tenants remained in Fort Saginaw Mall. Among these were typical mall fare such as Claire's, GNC, Fashion Bug, as well as a jewelry store and a cafe. This phone book also lists the mall as Saginaw Outlet Mall, which has me thinking that they tried the old trick of converting a dying mall to outlet stores. (I should also note that the outlet mall in nearby Birch Run, which at the time was only four years old, had not yet begun its expansion to the massive mall that it is today.) The outlet mall idea clearly didn't work at Fort Saginaw, however, as the only outlet store that I found was an El-Bee Shoe Outlet. Also, Burlington Coat Factory moved out in 1991, consolidating to a larger store across from Fashion Square Mall. (They have since relocated again.) Phar-Mor replaced the Burlington Coat Factory store, but didn't last long as the chain closed up all its Michigan operations in 1992. The Fort Saginaw Mall itself, except for Kmart, was finally boarded up sometime around 1998. Big Lots probably stayed open a little longer, as it had an external entrance. Finally, Kmart stayed open until May 2004.
Thanks to a couple of Internet friends who remember the mall in its prime, I have been able to identify some of the mall's former tenants over the years. I also found the names of some other tenants by reading some of the names off the delivery doors at the back of the mall, and a few more listings came from a 1990 phone book.
* Adam Shoes
* Albert’s (clothing store)
* Big Lots (1980s-1990s)
* Burlington Coat Factory
* Candle Light (1990s)
* Claire’s Boutique (1990s)
* Docktor Pet Center
* El-Bee Shoe Outlet (1990s)
* Fashion Bug (1990s)
* Federal's Department Store
* Fiesta Hair Salon (1990s)
* Fort Saginaw Cinemas (owned by General Cinema Corporation)
* General Nutrition Center (GNC) (1990s)
* Graystone Company (men's clothing) (1990s)
* Greenley Appliance
* Jo-Ann Fabrics
* Kmart/Kmart Foods
* Lite & Delicious Deli (1990s)
* Muir Drugs
* Nadine’s Jewelers
* Nobil Shoes
* Norman’s Sporting Goods (1980s-1990s)
* Prime Time
* Scott’s 5 & 10 (later T G & Y)
* Thal's (clothing store)
* Thom McAn Shoes
* Wig Land
* Yoko Health Spa (1990s?)
Other stores included a TV store, a cafeteria (which may have been part of the Scott's/T G & Y), and a water bed store.