Here’s an interesting fact your newest Xpress reporter recently discovered about himself: I find old malls fascinating. It’s not an important fact, not the sort of thing you put on a resume or even a Facebook profile, but for the particular story I’m currently working on, it’s particularly apt. I’m doing a story on Asheville’s own Innsbruck Mall.
The story idea comes on the heels of the recent news that 34-year Innsbruck tenant World Magazine has moved from the sparsely populated mall to a new location in Biltmore Village, prompting questions around Xpress about the fate of the mall itself.
Though I’m not from Asheville, and my most recent trip inside Innsbruck also qualifies as my first, walking around the mall was not an entirely unfamiliar experience. In my hometown of Spartanburg, we had a similar mall still in operation when I was a teenager (Did you notice I said “had”?).
Innsbruck, for those of you who haven’t been there anytime recently, has been renovated, but more than half the inside spaces are not occupied. And apart from the line out the door at the DMV (an odd place for a government office if ever there has been one), the inside didn’t appear to be a bustling hub of activity. There were overgrown plantings, and the lighting was poor. It was uncomfortably hot inside, and one set of escalators appeared to be permanently out of service.
Overall, the experience was eerie. If it hadn’t been for the aforementioned DMV line and the stores on the outside of Innsbruck, the whole scene could have passed for something from The Stand after all the people were killed off by the superflu. Still, what I’m lacking here is context. I know the basics of the Innsbruck Mall, but I don’t have any personal history with it, only the wide-eyed looks I’ve gotten from people every time I mention the place.
That’s where you, the Xpress readers, come in. Obviously, I’ll be doing plenty of traditional reporting for this story, but one of the things I’ve learned in my short time here is that we have some great, knowledgeable folks who frequent this site, people with the sort of experience that can really spur a story like this one forward.
Below you’ll find a quirky video I shot during my recent trip to Innsbruck. Give it a look. Let it stimulate those informational muscles, and let’s hear some stories about Innsbruck. Nothing is too trivial: interesting factoids, anecdotes, rumors. They all have their place, and all have the potential to add context to a story like this one.
So how about it Asheville?