Lubbock’s South Plains Mall’s 50th: Employees, customers

In 1972, Lubbock’s South Plains Mall opened its doors to thousands of excited shoppers. In those 50 years, several generations of shoppers have made sweet memories in the mall. Here’s what former employees and customers shared.

Sue Hammons: First date, 25th anniversary award and how mall trips marked her life

“(My first visit) was when my husband and I first started dating, within a week of its opening. I had never been, and he hadn’t either. It was a different era, and he put his hand on my back while he opened the door to enter the mall. Our favorite stores were the pet shop, David’s stationary, and we had to get a hotdog. That was the deal.”

During the 25th anniversary, the mall hosted a competition for people to discuss what the mall meant to them. Hammons won, and received a t-shirt, a $50 coin of mall money, a coffee mug, and a phone card.

Sue Hammons wrote this for the 25th anniversary of the South Plains Mall. Her entry earned her several prizes at the celebration, including a phone card and mall memorabilia.

“You take a small town, then put something that massive in it, it was the center of the town and everyone’s meeting place. My mother, after my son was born, would take him to the mall. When the twin grandsons came, they and their older brother would play on the concrete animals.”

“I’ve probably changed more than it has. Back then, we had churches and the mall. It was just the place to go.”

Sue Hammons has experienced love, loss and a lifetime of memories at the South Plains Mall. This photo shows her at the mall's 25th anniversary.

South Plains Mall former employees remember jokes, storms, frisbee and love

“I was terrible at working the cash register, but they were kind enough to keep me employed during the summer and Christmas breaks,” said Jan Johnson, who was a 19-year-old college student and J.C. Penney employee for the opening day. “I remember a guy friend telling me to ‘stay out of menswear’ and it took me a while to get the joke.”