Fredericton — The Brookside Mall on Fredericton’s north side has been on life support from pretty much day one, and currently its only fully functioning organs are the liquor store, the Chinese restaurant, the grocery store and the gym.
“There’s also the walk-in clinic…but that shuts down unexpectedly when it gets clogged with patients,” said Shopping Malls of Atlantic Canada president and amateur surgeon George Cooper.
“The sickly shopping centre has been on the Hart wait list for ages and, finally, a match has been found. We’re just praying the mall doesn’t reject it.”
The Hart company has roughly 80 stores in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.
“We’re going to do everything we can to save this dying mall,” said Henrietta Hart, granddaughter of the store’s founder. “It’s going to be delicate and tricky, and require the utmost care, but this is what we’ve trained for. If there’s one thing that can resuscitate this dump, it’s this new Hart.”
Northsiders know the mall for its painted-on storefronts and its overall desolate feel.
“I have to admit, I stopped visiting the Brookside Mall back when it first fell ill…in the ’80s I think it was,” said Carol Bright. “I went in on a couple of occasions, but I think the mall and I both knew the visits would taper off in time. I feel guilty, but what am I gonna do?”
“I have to walk by the dying thing every time I go to work,” said Mama’s Pub cook Devon Jacobs. “I try not to look at it. I feel like whatever it has might be catching, and I don’t want to lose my job.”
Despite past organ rejections such as Rossy, the pet store, and the flower shop, those in the know are cautiously optimistic.
“We are crossing our fingers that this sorely needed Hart transplant can once again get customers circulating throughout the entire mall,” Cooper told us, “and pumping cash into this side of the river.”