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July 20, 1976: Opening of the Ocean County Mall

Today, it is still Ocean County's only enclosed mall.

On July 20, 1976, the then owned by the DeBartolo Corporation, was opened.  The grand opening was a big deal to people in Toms River and the rest of Ocean County, as the area did not previously have a large shopping mall and people had to head to Monmouth or Atlantic Counties to get their shopping done.  Ownership has changed hands over the years, including CPI and current owner, Simon Property Group.

Stores have come and gone over the years.  Now-defunct chains, such as Woolworth, KB Toys, and B. Dalton Bookseller, all called at one point or another.  The mall also once had a two-screen movie theater and an arcade, both of which have now been gone for some time.  There are four anchor stores and a food court.

The recession has hit the mall particularly hard in recent years, forcing many stores out.

gussy July 21, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Your comment fits your name, Jethro.
Sue July 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I believe in supporting our local shops - if I can't get it in Brick I will go to Ocean County Mall.
Once Loved NJ July 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I agree to support locals however, the OC Mall is a nationwide corporation. I remember when local owners could afford the rent there like Harris Store, but they were forced out by the big chains..I wish malls had to lease 25% of their space to locals at a resonable rate then I would shop there more, also when you travel all malls would be unique instead of carbon copies of what you see at home.
Carol Aller July 24, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I never liked the Ocean County Mall and I've lived within walking distance ever since it was built. Toms River always does the same thing. They approve smaller versions of big chain stores which don't carry enough merchandise to choose from. So we are forced to go to Freehold or Eatontown, or even further away. Homegoods is a good example. I love that store and was so happy when I heard one was opening here. But once again, it's way too small with limited merchandise so I continue to drive to the one in Neptune as I did before. This Macy's is a joke. I had to go to Menlo Park Mall to get a dress for a wedding because of the lack of choices here in Ocean County. BTW...does anyone remember the year/day that a store named BEST opened? It was late 70's early 80's I believe. It used to be across from the OC Mall many years ago in the building that is now Bed Bath and Beyond. Mickey Mantle was at the grand opening. Anyone remember that? I stood in line for hours waiting for a Cabbage Patch Kid! LOL
Barry Fleckmann July 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I can remember when Macy's was known in New Jersey as Bamberger's. The Bamberger's at the Ocean County Mall had a good restaurant up on the second floor, where the appliance department now exists. I can recall when the J.C. Penney's store had a coffee shop, where the portrait studio now exists. It was, at the time, the BEST place to eat at the mall. Remember when the Tiffany's Bake Shop was located in the mall? I do. La Crepe? The Harris clothing store was in the mall, too. Now you have to go to the downtown Toms River branch. Woolworth's, with its soda fountain. Yeah, the Ocean County Mall WAS a big deal, back in 1976! Now you couldn't pay me to go there! Three restaurants (Benihana, Chico's and Friendly's have gone out of business. The mall doesn't have a bookstore, anymore, since The Walden and B. Dalton went out of business. The front parking lot resembles a gypsy camp, with tents featuring cheap furniture, rugs and bath equipment. The parking lot, itself, is falling apart, with grass growing-up from the cracks. The Sears store is owned by K Mart, now, so shopping carts can be found lurking in parking areas. It's a damn shame that the mall just looks SO shoddy! I agree with an earlier poster: They should just bulldoze the Ocean County Mall. It HAS become an embarrassment!


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