Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the nation, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. The mall will re-open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
"Thanksgiving is about families," Mall of America senior vice president Jill Renslow said. "And we wanted to allow or employees to spend holiday with their families."
Renslow said MOA management just felt like cutting off the retail encroachment on a valued family holiday was the right thing to do. The Bloomington, Minnesota megamall has been open on Thanksgiving Day since 2012.
"Over time, it kept getting earlier and earlier," Renslow said. "First midnight, then 8 p.m., then 6 p.m. We really want to reverse that and really give the day back to families."
Renslow explained that the mall itself has more than 1,200 employees and has operated its theme park and movie theater every Thanksgiving. But not this year.
There is a huge Walk to End Hunger that will happen Thanksgiving morning, and individual retailers can still open for Thanksgiving Day shopping if they so decide.
"In the retail world, we don't get many days off," said store owner Tamra Kramer. "So this is great news for us."
The small business entrepreneur felt pressure to open her specialty oil, vinegar and win shop, Von Fass, on Thanksgiving night two years ago. She didn't like the Thanksgiving openings, and neither did her employees. So the Mall of America's big decision is a big win in her mind.
"I was excited, thrilled," Kramer said. "I'm happy to have the mall support to not be open. They have taken a leadership role in the retail area to make changes."
Top holiday shopping destination in Minnesota
Mall of America has been the top "shop-at-least-once-for-the-holidays" mall for all 14 years of the St. Thomas survey, with the exception of 2004-2006 when Rosedale Center in Roseville, Minn., was No. 1.
Walk to End Hunger
The 9th annual Walk to End Hunger benefits 12 hunger relief organizations in the Twin Cities: Aliveness Project; The Food Group; Hunger Solutions; ICA Foodshelf; Keystone Community Services; Loaves and Fishes; Meals on Wheels; Minnesota FoodShare;, Neighbors, Inc.; The Salvation Army; Second Harvest Heartland; and VEAP. This year's walk includes a new route, an appearance from the Minnesota Vikings Skol Line, and the addition of 4 "fun zones." For more information or to sign up, go to http://www.walktoendhunger.org.