Tupelo Mall at Barnes Crossing celebrates 33rd anniversary

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – For more than 30 years, Tupelo’s Mall at Barnes Crossing has had a huge economic impact, bringing jobs and shoppers to Lee County.

The area’s regional mall is celebrating its 33rd anniversary and is looking to the future.

It was 1991 when Jeff Snyder was put in charge of the security at the Mall at Barnes Crossing, then only a year old. Snyder had been in charge of the Tupelo Police Reserves and mall management wanted someone with security and law enforcement experience to head up mall security.

“I changed careers,” said Snyder.

Snyder has been at the mall ever since, in the roles of marketing manager, assistant mall manager, and since 1996, mall manager.

Success breeds success, and commercial development along North Gloster Street followed the growth at Barnes Crossing. Snyder said the mall has been a game changer for the area.

“If the Mall at Barnes Crossing hadn’t been built in Tupelo at the time, it would have been built in Columbus, they went out when it probably wasn’t a popular thing to bring a mall to Tupelo, but they did it, had the vision,” said Snyder.

Since then, the Mall has generated billions of dollars in sales taxes and has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes.

Over the years, it has provided employment for tens of thousands. While many of those workers have come and gone, Jessie Wu has been at the Mall since 1991. She worked at her cousin’s Magic Wok until 2020 when it was sold, and she took over Pretzel Twister.

“I like it here, everybody is nice here to me,” said Wu.

The Mall has always been known for its community involvement and that’s still the case more than 30 years later. In fact, the former Sears space is now being used to train Cooper Tire employees, displaced because of the tornado.

“Just a tragedy with their building and employees not able to work. But we’re working with them and giving them Sears, so they can do training over the next few weeks and keep people on payroll,” said Snyder.

Snyder said the mall has weathered ups and downs in the economy and a changing retail landscape, but he believes the mall’s best days are ahead.

Snyder said there are some new retailers coming to the mall including Windsor and Daily Thread. Buckle has expanded its space and Starkville-based OMG Grillhouse will come to the Food Court.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Categories: Featured, Local News