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From Star Market to The Container Store/Boloco/Ben & Jerry's

Address: 1265 Worcester Street, Natick, MA, 01760

Original Facility built: 1966

Construction Stage: 1995

New Facility opening: 1995

Known stores in former: Star Market, The Disney Store, The Walt Disney Gallery, Sneaker Stadium, Just for Feet

Current stores: The Container Store, Boloco Inspired Burritos, Ben and Jerry's

Mall (Store) website: http://www.containerstore.com, http://www.boloco.com, http://www.benjerry.com

News stories: None

The Natick Mall has long had an outlot located near the Filene's building, close to Route 9. The facility opened in 1966, the same year that the Natick Mall was construction. When the building opened, it was part of the Star Market grocery store chain. The grocery store was 36,206 sq. ft, and had rather tall warehouse-style ceilings, unusual for a store of that era. I recall specifically that they stacked their paper towels/toilet paper very high in that aisle. The Star Market closed its doors for the final time on Saturday, November 12, 1994, around the same time that the Natick Mall closed.

Not long after, the building was converted into a multipurpose facility housing numerous retailers, and became managed by S.R. Weiner, whom had previously managed the Natick Mall. It was originally slated to house a facility known as DisneyQuest, which is considered by Disney as an "indoor interactive theme park". Plans for this facility were shelved, and DisneyQuest ended up being built in Lake Buena Vista, FL, instead. Disney did stay as part of the project, placing The Disney Store in the plaza, rather than in the mall. They made their store larger than most, and added a separate entrance for The Walt Disney Gallery, an upscale section of the store. To the right of The Disney Store was Sneaker Stadium, a store that sold a variety of athletic shoes. Sneaker Stadium did not last long, and within a year or two, the space was replaced with Just for Feet. Just for Feet was very similar to Sneaker Stadium, especially in the fact that they did not last long either. Despite my expectation that Just for Feet would be replaced by Famous Footwear, it never happened. Finally, on the right most side of the plaza is Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, a tenant that has been there since the plaza opened.

Despite the closure of Just for Feet, one would have expected a new tenant to have come in soon, given the state of retail in the area. Yet that was not to happen, and the space remained vacant for the rest of its life as an independent parcel. The plaza hit another sour note when The Disney Store hit financial troubles and decided to close the Natick store in mid-2003. This left the small Ben & Jerry's as the only tenant in the plaza.

Just as the plaza seemed slated for demolition, it was announced that in October 2004 that a new tenant would come to the plaza. The Container Store, a store that sells storage supplies and the like, was entering the Boston area through an initial Newton location, and would soon begin work on a Natick store at the plaza. The Container Store would be taking the place of both The Disney Store and Just for Feet. S.R. Weiner had certainly taken their time, but The Container Store, following extensive exterior renovations, filled the long vacant plaza when the new store opened on April 9, 2005.

In June 2007, Boston-based Boloco Inspired Burritos opened in a small space between The Container Store and Ben & Jerry's.

My Pictures: taken June 18, 2006

The Container Store

This is The Container Store, which sells overpriced containers in an IKEA-like setting. When The Container Store took over the site, they took off the Disney-style facade and implimented this new look. While the building is very plain in style, the blue awnings give the building an upscale look that comes off a lot better than the former Disney Store facade. This picture is from the exact same angle as the picture below.

My Pictures: taken May 8, 2004

Vacant Just for Feet and Ben & Jerry's

Vacant Disney store and Just for Feet

Media: A photo of the plaza when it was last fully occupied from the S.R. Weiner web site, floorplans below.

old floor
new floor

Related Links: None

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