Market Square Mall in Richmond fostering enterprise for 100 years

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Market Square Mall in Richmond fostering enterprise for 100 years
All photos by Kathy Chouteau.

By Kathy Chouteau

Since its inception as a department store, to its modern-day incarnation as a home to many Black-owned businesses, the Market Square Mall in downtown Richmond is marking 100 years.

When the historic, brick building first swung open its doors at 322 Harbour Way in 1924, it was an open floor department store, according to Richmond Marin Street Initiative (RMSI).

Throughout the city’s storied wartime era in the 1940s, and through the 1960s, the downtown building’s first level played home to Breuners Home Furnishings, a business founded during the California Gold Rush. On the second floor was a dance studio.

Today, Market Square Mall is A melting pot of Black-owned and other community businesses.

By the time the 1970s rolled around, the brick building’s aforementioned tenants had vacated and it remained empty until the early 1980s, according to RMSI. In the ‘80s it was renovated, divided into 24 individual storefronts and reopened as the Market Square Mall.

Today, Market Square Mall is home to a melting pot of Black-owned and other community businesses, “reflective and supportive of the communities they serve,” said RMSI.

The Standard recently bore witness to the Market Square Mall’s business bounty on a visit, with Rich City Studios, YaNique Salon & Accessories, Kim’s Nails, San Pablo Barbershop, Gratitude LLC, New Life Café, The Church Lady Boutique, ACCE and others currently calling it home.