#1
Old 05-14-2015, 06:12 AM
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Shopping center names no one uses

I used to tease my wife when we'd visit her hometown, by referring to a shopping center there (by "shopping center" I don't mean a mall with indoor corridors, but basically a large strip mall) by the name displayed on the prominent, large sign out in the parking lot. (It was one of those anodyne names along the lines of "Peachtree Village" or "Grandview Plaza".) What I found funny was that no one who actually lived in her hometown ever referred to that name, or even seemed to consciously notice it. They would just say the name of whatever store within the development they were going to; and my wife would in fact seem mildly annoyed by my mischievous insistence on using the "real" name.

Then this morning, I noticed for the first time ever (as far as I can recall) that the town I've lived in for over a decade also has one of these! LOL I have just completely had a mental blind spot for it, even though I've driven or biked by it countless times. I noticed it, I guess, because it was dark and rainy, and the brightly lit sign, probably fifty years old by the style of it but well maintained, stood out.

But that made me wonder: why do these places bother to have names, and big expensive signs featuring them? If they were assigned decades ago by overly optimistic developers, why keep maintaining the signs? Just cheaper (at least at any given moment) than totally tearing them down, I guess?
#2
Old 05-14-2015, 06:28 AM
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Near where I work (California, Maryland) the main street has 4 or 5 large strip malls in a row. Each one is named, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what any of them are. A couple miles down, there is one strip mall by itself, and it is called San Souci Plaza, and everyone knows that. San Souci has been around a lot longer than the other ones.
#3
Old 05-14-2015, 06:34 AM
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Aha, a sighting of one that is actually used! Interesting. As a Francophile, I love that name btw.
#4
Old 05-14-2015, 06:48 AM
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It may be more to impress potential tenants than to impress customers.

Glossy brochures that say "Locate your business at the strip mail on Main near Oak" don't have that certain je ne sais quoi that brochures which proclaim "Locate your business at the OakMain Mall" have.

Last edited by Alley Dweller; 05-14-2015 at 06:53 AM.
#5
Old 05-14-2015, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfop View Post
Near where I work (California, Maryland) the main street has 4 or 5 large strip malls in a row. Each one is named, but I would be hard pressed to tell you what any of them are. A couple miles down, there is one strip mall by itself, and it is called San Souci Plaza, and everyone knows that. San Souci has been around a lot longer than the other ones.
Hiya, neighbor! Leonardtown has "The Shops at Breton Bay" but I had to look that up - it's McKays, fercryinoutloud! And I think the adjacent strip with the Food Lion has a different name.

Come to think of it, apart from San Souci, the only other one I refer to by its name is Wildewood, and I had to look it up to verify that it's called Wildewood Shopping Center. Oh, and does San Souci cover both the part with Shoppers and the part across the street with JoAnn's, or does that have another name?
#6
Old 05-14-2015, 07:48 AM
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"The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza" has a ring to it.
#7
Old 05-14-2015, 08:18 AM
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It's usually the leasing companies business name. A shopper is not going to that company, but a tenet of that company.

Referring it as I'm going to Fairview Plaza, instead of I'm going to Foodtown, would be like saying I'm going to Bayview Tenements instead of saying I'm going to Grandma's.
#8
Old 05-14-2015, 08:22 AM
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We have a couple of those around here. I can't tell you there names because they're totally forgettable and never used. On the other hand, there is a shopping center well known as the Benny's Plaza even though the Benny's left there 10 years ago.
#9
Old 05-14-2015, 08:25 AM
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Here outside Boston they revamped the Natick Mall into a high-class joint, and decided that they shouldn't call it a "Mall" anymore. So it became The Natick Collection.


Nobody ever called it "The Natick Collecti9on". It was The Natick Mall. Now even the owners have given up on that bit of flummery. It's now officially The Natick Mall.
#10
Old 05-14-2015, 08:27 AM
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I believe San Souci covers both sides of the shopping center. I forgot about Wildewood, but remember the whole housing development is called Wildewood, so it makes sense to connect the shopping center with all of the housing.

The Lowess, Target, Walmart, and K-Mart shopping centers are all named, but I have no idea what the names are.
#11
Old 05-14-2015, 08:38 AM
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Yeah, usually I'm aware that the strip malls have names from seeing the signs, but they're not commonly used, and I rarely remember them. Ultimately the end result is that if there's a shooting or problem at one of them, the news people talk about something happening at X Shopping Center and I'm totally baffled until I Google it, and realize that it's one of the places I
regularly go grocery shopping.

Case in point, I was visiting my parents a while ago, and the news mentioned the "Universal Shopping Center" on Bellaire in Houston as being where a statue was unveiled, and I was completely stymied as to where that was, until I looked it up and realized that it was one of the nearby shopping centers we'd gone to since I was an infant!
#12
Old 05-14-2015, 08:39 AM
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You can tell how long a person has lived in Fairfax Virginia by how they refer to the strip mall at the intersection of Rt. 29 and University Drive.
If they call it "down by Patriot's" then they are natives, or nearly so. And older ones at that.
If they say "by the Florist shop" or "Baskin-Robbins" they've been here 15 years or so.
If they say "by the Direct Furniture Shop" they are here less than five years, but probably all right folks.

If they say "over by the Hooters" they are brand-new, carpet baggers, and not to be trusted.
#13
Old 05-14-2015, 08:48 AM
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For years, there was a Rotterdam Plaza in Rotterdam, NY. The owners actually ran a trivia contest in the stores asking "What is the name of the Mall you're in?" It was generally referred to by the anchor store (usually a supermarket). Now, it's referred to as "Hannaford Plaza," since the owners just gave up on the old name.
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#14
Old 05-14-2015, 09:01 AM
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I hardly ever know the names of shopping centers. Since they almost always have exactly one large grocery store, I generally refer to shopping centers by approximate location and grocery store, e.g. the shopping center with the Giant in Prince Frederick, or the Safeway shopping center in Dunkirk.

People always seem to know which shopping center I'm referring to, so the names are superfluous.
#15
Old 05-14-2015, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
It's usually the leasing companies business name. A shopper is not going to that company, but a tenet of that company.
That and I think it needs to be called something for zoning purposes and the like. Much like I technically live in a subdivision but it's just an old neighborhood and not what you'd typically think of with HOAs and bylaws and all that nonsense. But they need to call it something so someone else can say "Sunflower Meadows students go to this elementary schools and Sparkling Pines students are zoned for that school..."
#16
Old 05-14-2015, 09:58 AM
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Wait a second. There are 3 people from Southern Maryland in this thread. Holy crap, that's weird. RTFirefly, FairyChatMom, and myself. That just seems weird. Hi neighbors!

And my family always refers to the Safeway in Dunkirk as the place with the invisible McDonalds, since the only Golden Arches visible from the outside are a tiny set at the entrance to the drive-thru.
#17
Old 05-14-2015, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Here outside Boston they revamped the Natick Mall into a high-class joint, and decided that they shouldn't call it a "Mall" anymore. So it became The Natick Collection.


Nobody ever called it "The Natick Collecti9on". It was The Natick Mall. Now even the owners have given up on that bit of flummery. It's now officially The Natick Mall.
Reminds me of the PeopleMover in the Magic Kingdom. Was rebranded as Tomorrowland Transit Authority, but everyone kept calling it the PeopleMover. Now it's back to PeopleMover by Tomorrowland Transit Authority
#18
Old 05-14-2015, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tonyfop View Post
Wait a second. There are 3 people from Southern Maryland in this thread.
No one ever really calls it "Southern Maryland," though. It mostly just goes by "the part with those shopping strips."

#19
Old 05-14-2015, 01:32 PM
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It's hard to keep straight with all of the:

Oakland Square
Oakland Plaza
Oakland center
Oakland Place
Oakland Market
Oakland Marketplace
Oakland Station
Oakland Crossing
Oakland Court
Oakland Square Market
Oakland Place Square
etc.
Around here.
#20
Old 05-14-2015, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
It's hard to keep straight with all of the:

Oakland Square
Oakland Plaza
Oakland center
Oakland Place
Oakland Market
Oakland Marketplace
Oakland Station
Oakland Crossing
Oakland Court
Oakland Square Market
Oakland Place Square
etc.
Around here.
I'm guessing that you live in Oakland?
#21
Old 05-14-2015, 01:45 PM
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In Ye Olden Dayes (early 1960s), what we now call "strip centers" were the big destination retail innovation. They all had puffed-up names (by the genteel standards of the day), and people tended to refer to them by that name.

By the late 60s, the "indoor mall" had been invented, suburbia was filling in all over the country, and strip centers were well on the way to being just minor necessity shops anchored by a single grocery store as all the department stores and specialty retail stores flocked to the malls. Other than grocery stores, big box retail mostly hadn't been invented yet. And the puffery coefficient of retail center naming was on a steady upwards trend.

After the late '60s recession and stagflation followed by the oil crisis, retail had a boomlet in the late 70s. But it was a boomlet of strip centers anchored by KMarts and a new chain called Target. By this time the name of the strip center had become obsolete. Nobody but the centers' owners used it. Everybody else calls them by the anchor store and general location: e.g. "the North side Target".

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-14-2015 at 01:47 PM.
#22
Old 05-14-2015, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
I'm guessing that you live in Oakland?
An Oakland county. But even outside of it, people just love oaks here apparently.
#23
Old 05-14-2015, 03:15 PM
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Not sure whether to post here or the "dead mall" thread, but since it isn't a mall, LSLGuy's post reminded me of the D+F Plaza appropriately on the border of Dunkirk and Fredonia, NY. One of the largest strip malls I've seen before the "Destination" ones of the 90s, it even included a miniature golf course and a department store outbuilding. But its décor never went past the 70s or late 60s, but it still kept up its occupancy of local stores (Laundromat, Book Nook, Quality Markets, except the Your Host left), even when the road it was on was bypassed by another new road a block away. Ironically, when big box stores started to be built on that road, that was when it started to get empty. It still feels weird to drive past it and see crowded big box stores just across the street from an empty strip mall...couldn't one of them have taken the department store location for a lot cheaper?

Oh, and I guess this is the opposite of the theme of the thread. Everyone did call it the D+F plaza.

Last edited by Ludovic; 05-14-2015 at 03:15 PM.
#24
Old 05-14-2015, 04:17 PM
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In my hometown, for a period in the early 2000s they named the outdoor mall with a perfectly cromulent name as "Towne Centre." Sic, I shit you not. You have only two pertinent words, and you manage to misspell and pretentious-the-hell-up both of them!? (by US spelling standards). Made me rage every time I read it. I guess others felt the same as last I checked they changed it back.
#25
Old 05-14-2015, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfop View Post
Near where I work (California, Maryland) the main street has 4 or 5 large strip malls in a row.
There's a city called California in Maryland?
#26
Old 05-14-2015, 11:08 PM
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I, too, usually refer to specific stores instead of the names of whole shopping plazas or malls here in Missoula, but there's two shopping centers I do refer to by name most of the time: Southgate Mall, an anachronistic enclosed 1980s-style shopping mall, and Trempers, a strip mall anchored by an Ace Hardware and the Book Exchange, a used book store. Both of those are, in their own fashion, distinctive enough to be landmarks in their own right, and locals know them by name.
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Last edited by Derleth; 05-14-2015 at 11:08 PM.
#27
Old 05-15-2015, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
"The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza" has a ring to it.
Let's go to the quarry and throw stuff down there! Brilliant!
#28
Old 05-15-2015, 04:58 PM
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Now just where have I heard that before ???? It's vaguely familiar and yet I can't quiiiite place it.
#29
Old 05-15-2015, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?
Yes. Population 11,857 at the 2010 census. Saaaaaa-lute!

Now pardon me, I need to get back to my cornfield.
#30
Old 05-15-2015, 08:19 PM
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Monroeville Mall has been considering changing its name to Thunderdome but Mel could get upset with that.

http://wtae.com/news/monroeville...ights/30419978

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroeville_Mall_shooting

http://refinery29.com/2015/04/85...-shooting-2015

Zombies seem to be the least of their problems these days.
#31
Old 05-15-2015, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
It may be more to impress potential tenants than to impress customers.

Glossy brochures that say "Locate your business at the strip mail on Main near Oak" don't have that certain je ne sais quoi that brochures which proclaim "Locate your business at the OakMain Mall" have.
Good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
For years, there was a Rotterdam Plaza in Rotterdam, NY. The owners actually ran a trivia contest in the stores asking "What is the name of the Mall you're in?" It was generally referred to by the anchor store (usually a supermarket). Now, it's referred to as "Hannaford Plaza," since the owners just gave up on the old name.
But how did they get people to internalize the new name?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
No one ever really calls it "Southern Maryland," though. It mostly just goes by "the part with those shopping strips."

Ha! ISWYDT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
In my hometown, for a period in the early 2000s they named the outdoor mall with a perfectly cromulent name as "Towne Centre." Sic, I shit you not. You have only two pertinent words, and you manage to misspell and pretentious-the-hell-up both of them!? (by US spelling standards). Made me rage every time I read it. I guess others felt the same as last I checked they changed it back.
Is that in Issaquah or Redmond, WA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
In Ye Olden Dayes (early 1960s), what we now call "strip centers" were the big destination retail innovation. They all had puffed-up names (by the genteel standards of the day), and people tended to refer to them by that name.

By the late 60s, the "indoor mall" had been invented, suburbia was filling in all over the country, and strip centers were well on the way to being just minor necessity shops anchored by a single grocery store as all the department stores and specialty retail stores flocked to the malls. Other than grocery stores, big box retail mostly hadn't been invented yet. And the puffery coefficient of retail center naming was on a steady upwards trend.

After the late '60s recession and stagflation followed by the oil crisis, retail had a boomlet in the late 70s. But it was a boomlet of strip centers anchored by KMarts and a new chain called Target. By this time the name of the strip center had become obsolete. Nobody but the centers' owners used it. Everybody else calls them by the anchor store and general location: e.g. "the North side Target".
Interesting – that jibes with the vintage of the signage on the places I am thinking of. I still wonder, if someone offered to completely clear away the signs for free, if they would take the offer rather than continuing to bother with maintaining these huge, internally lighted signs. They can still keep the names for whatever legal purposes they need, after all.
#32
Old 05-15-2015, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SlackerInc View Post
Is that in Issaquah or Redmond, WA?
Nope, not Washington.
#33
Old 05-15-2015, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?
Down the road from Hollywood, Maryland
#34
Old 05-16-2015, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?
Why not? There's a city (or town) called Indiana in Pennsylvania (hometown of Jimmy Stewart, where his Best Actor Oscar for The Philadelphia Story sat in the window of the hardware store for many years).
#35
Old 05-16-2015, 03:39 AM
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And in my state, we have towns called Mexico and Milan (the latter pronounced "my-lunn" despite it having become a majority Latino city).
#36
Old 05-16-2015, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
Down the road from Hollywood, Maryland
Named by the people who went West and then came back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
"The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza" has a ring to it.
"Bulletproof Plaza" might appeal to tenants.
#37
Old 05-16-2015, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
Why not? There's a city (or town) called Indiana in Pennsylvania (hometown of Jimmy Stewart, where his Best Actor Oscar for The Philadelphia Story sat in the window of the hardware store for many years).
I spend a lot of time in Indiana, PA.

Not very far from here are various town names- Yukon, California, Wyoming, Panic, Desire, and the wonderful town I live in currently, Black Lick.

Indiana has a mall, which is no longer an indoor mall bu a collection of storefronts called Regency Mall, but only on the street signage. In the olden days we either called it Hills or Montgomery Ward, the stores which were at either end.

Now it's just Martin's.

(You can see much more at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana now!)
#38
Old 05-16-2015, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Not very far from here are various town names- Yukon, California, Wyoming, Panic, Desire, and the wonderful town I live in currently, Black Lick.
The state of Wyoming is named for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.
#39
Old 05-16-2015, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
Down the road from Hollywood, Maryland
A bit north of Scotland, MD. And while it's not stolen from another place, we've got Loveville, too!!

Beautiful St. Mary's county.
#40
Old 05-18-2015, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?
Yes, there is. That's like, so totally neat, fersure?
#41
Old 05-18-2015, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tonyfop View Post
Wait a second. There are 3 people from Southern Maryland in this thread. Holy crap, that's weird. RTFirefly, FairyChatMom, and myself. That just seems weird. Hi neighbors!
Make that 4. I live in Lexington Park.
#42
Old 05-18-2015, 02:38 PM
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n/m

Last edited by VunderBob; 05-18-2015 at 02:39 PM.
#43
Old 05-18-2015, 11:19 PM
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These poses a bit of a dilemma for us mapmakers. Do we put the official name, known only to a few people at the REIT that owns the place, or the name of the anchor store, like Safeway or Tractor Supply or Target? On a suburban bus system map, there's only room for one or the other. The choice that actually helps people understand where the bus line goes seems like free advertising, or at least favoritism.
#44
Old 05-18-2015, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
There's a city called California in Maryland?

Why not? — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califo...#United_States

Quote:
California City, California
California, Kentucky, a city
California, Louisville, Kentucky, a neighborhood
California, Maryland, a census-designated place and community
California Township, Michigan
California, Missouri, a city
Califon, New Jersey, originally named California, a borough
California, Cincinnati, Ohio, a neighborhood
Big Plain, Ohio or California, an unincorporated community
California, Pennsylvania, a borough
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
These poses a bit of a dilemma for us mapmakers. Do we put the official name, known only to a few people at the REIT that owns the place, or the name of the anchor store, like Safeway or Tractor Supply or Target? On a suburban bus system map, there's only room for one or the other. The choice that actually helps people understand where the bus line goes seems like free advertising, or at least favoritism.

And what about if a feature has a name that is used but it's different from the official name? For example what everyone calls the "Pentagon City Mall" is officially the "Fashion Center at Pentagon City."
#45
Old 05-18-2015, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
"The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza" has a ring to it.
Cheap Shit Centre

The "re" makes it classy.
#46
Old 05-19-2015, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
These poses a bit of a dilemma for us mapmakers. Do we put the official name, known only to a few people at the REIT that owns the place, or the name of the anchor store, like Safeway or Tractor Supply or Target? On a suburban bus system map, there's only room for one or the other. The choice that actually helps people understand where the bus line goes seems like free advertising, or at least favoritism.
I see what you mean, but I think utility has to win out. The one in my city, I've passed thousands of times and--despite that huge, lighted sign--never processed the fact that it had such a name until that one time. And now I've already forgotten it again. I could name most of the stores in it though.
#47
Old 05-19-2015, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii
"The Shoppes At Roving Gangs Plaza" has a ring to it.
Cheap Shit Centre

The "re" makes it classy.
The Caveat Emptorium.

Stolen from Gone With the Wind.

Regards,
Shodan
#48
Old 05-19-2015, 04:34 PM
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I like the double entendre that "emptorium", in addition to advising caution in a dangerous setting, also makes me think of "empty" as in devoid of customers.

Bravo, Sir. Well played.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-19-2015 at 04:36 PM.
#49
Old 05-19-2015, 08:30 PM
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"I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such automated information kiosks as The Caveat Emptorium."
#50
Old 05-20-2015, 11:57 AM
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Short Pants Plaza

I am always going to use that name.
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