Thursday, April 27, 2017

[Suburbia Lost] Sam's Club/Consumer Square - Reynoldsburg, OH

I was recently traveling to Pittsburgh when I came across this forgotten suburban development. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with Columbus outside of its urban core, but I can spot suburban ruins from a mile away.

According to the Columbus Dispatch in 2009, Consumer Square East was once a “shopping Mecca.” A massive, sprawling area of asphalt and big box retail right off of Interstate 70 in Reynoldsburg, OH, the complex apparently opened in 1985 and over the years featured stores such as Kroger, Target, Burlington Coat Factory, Best Buy, Babies R’ Us, a JC Penney Furniture outlet, and cinemas among many others.

Edit: Turns out, Consumer Square was the area seen below in the abandoned parking lot photo, the particular building above was once a Sam's Club. Thanks to commenter "historicohio" for the tip. 

By Nov. 2008, its demise was being chronicled in the local press as property owners demolished most of the complex to make the land more “marketable” for future use. Over the years, several smaller strip malls and standalone stores have popped up in the areas directly in front of the complex and closer to main roads: a change in suburban retail trends being seen all over.  If you’re familiar with the Cincinnati area, you can see similar things happening near the Tri-County Mall. As the mall withers and dies on the inside, new retail is showing up along the major roads nearby (some stores have even moved out of the mall and to the roadside). It’s not pedestrian friendly and not a recreation of “Main St.,” but this kind of new development is a dramatic shift from the mall boom of the 80s and 90s. In both the Tri-County case and the one seen here, they’ve left the former sprawling parking lots and past retail trends to die, literally, right behind them.

The Columbus area also features a “Consumer Square West” on the other side of town which seems to be faring far better than its Eastern brethren, but still has the hallmarks of fading sprawl development.

- Where the rest of the development's buildings were once located.

Suburbia Lost is an ongoing documentation of decay in the sphere of a perceived paradise. After years of photographing abandoned, forgotten, and often historical locations in the city, this project aims to take a look at how structures fare in the sphere of suburbia. You can view other entires in the project, here


  1. Neat to see a write-up on this place! I used to use the empty parking lot for bus driver training until 2012 or 2013 when the owners put a stop to it.

    1. It was very interesting to come by and to be honest, I'm surprised there was never a Circuit CIty in that development (maybe there was). Why didn't they care for the bus driver training? Thanks for checking it out!

    2. Consumer Square was built where the large parking lot is. The big box building in your photo was a Sam's Club. There used to be a Circuit City nearby at the corner of Brice Rd & Gender Rd where there is now a Sears Appliance Center. The crime became really bad in the early 2000s and most of the big box stores moved just one exit east on I-70 to State Route 256. Nearby Chantry Square suffered mostly the same fate with all the retailers fleeing. The main exception is the buildings are still there.

    3. Good question. I don't think it was just us, but people who used the lot for car driver training and those sitting. Don't know why, unless it was for liability reasons.

      The building that was Sam's, I believe was also a JCPenney Furniture Outlet after that.