In January of last year the Ames City Council approved a plan to overhaul the North Grand Mall. Thursday night was the grand reveal.
Shopping, shopping, more shopping and fireworks. Shoppers took a few minutes in the chilly night air to enjoy the display celebrating five new stores at North Grand Mall, which many people say were badly needed.
"Everybody just thought that it was boring, that nobody was going to go there, that it was just for the occasional mall walkers," said Shelby Ihle of Nevada. "But now I think with the new stores more people will come out."
Ihle is shopping for shoes and pants for a new job. Before this week, that would have meant a trip to Ankeny or Des Moines.
"I think it's a great opportunity to just be able to come to Ames. It's a lot closer," she said.
Shoe Carnival, T.J. Maxx and Kohl's are the three big retailers putting down roots in Ames along with Rue21 and Justice. Several other current stores including JCPenney are taking on major renovation projects.
"We've always enjoyed the mall, and we're really excited that it's getting some revitalization," said Sara Vanderheyden of Nevada.
The three stores opened this past weekend and have been packed all week.
"I know this community's been wanting something like this for quite some time, and I figured they'd come out and support us very well and they have," said Jeremy Ferguson, the general manager at Shoe Carnival. "They've done a very, very good job. I'm very, very please with everything."
There are still a few vacant spaces at the mall. So while the mall's owner, GK Development, is very excited to have these stores open, they are always looking to add more name brand retailers to the mall.