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See bizarre photos of dead Hollister stores turned into aquariums, haunted houses, escape rooms, and more


The Hollister Co. store in the Eaton Centre.A Hollister store.

Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

  • Dead Hollister stores in malls around the country are being transformed into everything from aquariums to axe throwing venues. 
  • Many have maintained the store’s iconic aesthetic, keeping the beach house facade and dimly lit interior design. 
  • Here are eight transformed Hollister stores in malls across the US. 
Founded in 2000, Hollister was once a thriving youth apparel brand synonymous with its colorful polo shirts, denim mini skirts, and flip flops designed to embody a California surfer aesthetic.The Hollister Co. store in the Eaton Centre.A Hollister store.

Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Many of its distinctive stores were designed to look like beach houses, and became known for their dark interiors and smell of pungent Hollister-brand cologne.A woman enters a retail store of the lifestyle brand Hollister in Sulzbach, Germany.A woman enters a retail store of the lifestyle brand Hollister in Sulzbach, Germany.

Fredrik von Erichsen/Getty Images

Parent company Abercrombie & Fitch describes Hollister as “the quintessential retail brand of the global teen consumer” focused on “liberating the spirit of an endless summer inside everyone.”HollisterPeople walk by a Hollister advertisement.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Source: Abercrombie & Fitch Corporate

However, like many of its mall brand peers, Hollister struggled with slumping sales and foot traffic in recent years, as customers turn to buzzy online competitors.closed hollisterA former Hollister clothing store at the Ridgedale Mall in Minneapolis. This store has the original facade exterior, and sold trendy casual teen clothing.

melissamn/Shutterstock

The company was among many retailers who felt the sting of the Retail Apocalypse in 2018, leading to the closure of 60 Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch stores at the time.HollisterAn ad display for Hollister.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Source: Insider

The brand’s difficulties were exacerbated further during the pandemic, prompting additional closures.Hollister

Mallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

As the brand goes through a period of rebuilding — including recently hiring a new head of marketing and testing fresh retail strategies — malls are getting creative with what to do with the distinctive former Hollister stores.hollister 2881

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Many are maintaining the beach house aesthetic, while opening completely new stores in its place, which has been disorienting for some on social media. Here are 8 of the strangest Hollister store transformations:Hollister sign closed

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

An aquarium

—Nadeen Abusada (@NadeenAbusada) March 12, 2021

 

In April 2021, the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge opened its doors to “Blue Zoo,” an aquarium built inside an abandoned Hollister.

The 16,000-square-foot space features wildlife such as sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, seahorses, and even toucans, according to The Advocate. Despite its transformation, the aquarium managed to maintain some of the original Hollister vibe, including its iconic entryway. 

“People in our generation and younger aren’t interested in stuff, they want experiences they can show on social media,” Wes Haws, founder and CEO of Blue Zoo, told The Advocate.

A haunted house

—Bailey Ford (@lipstickbailey) October 15, 2022

 

Old Hollister stores have also gone through one of the more popular transformations during the Retail Apocalypse — thriving retailer to haunted house.

In recent years, former Hollister stores — including the above location in Bangor, Maine — have taken a cue from brands like Toys R Us and become spooky haunted houses. 

A mini golf course

—mx. brightside (@amykdonovan) September 2, 2020

 

Not to be outdone by the aquarium, the Mall of Abilene in Texas transformed its Hollister location into a fully operational mini golf course.

Lunar Mini Golf, which opened in 2017 and has since permanently closed, maintained a sense of the Hollister spirit by keeping the lighting quite dim — the course was completely glow-in-the-dark. 

An escape room

@freshsketti

it’s giving pawnee indiana

♬ big weenie – ♡

A recent viral TikTok shows a former Hollister location at the Valley View Mall in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has been transformed into an escape room.

“I can’t explain why but my hometown mall turning Hollister into an escape room and just leaving the aesthetic is sending me into space,” user @freshsketti wrote. 

The official Hollister Co. account itself commented on the video, which has now been viewed nearly 500,000 times, writing “love what they’re doing with the place.” 

 

A sock storeA Hollister store converted into a sock store

TikTok

 

As documented by TikTok user @venusflytrap42, one Hollister store has even been converted into a sock store aptly titled “Socks To Be You.” 

 

 

An “fairy” photo studio

—Smack barm pey WAP (@molotov_martini) August 1, 2021

One former Hollister at a mall in Plano, Texas, has apparently become a photo studio, capturing images of children dressed in fairy costumes. 

Bookstores

 

—Mildly Interesting (@interest_mild) January 30, 2022

Several abandoned Hollister locations seemingly have been transformed into bookstores, with many of the new stores keeping the old Hollisters. 

The above store became an outlet bookstore, dim Hollister lighting and all. Another followed suit, becoming a used bookstore with an eclectic mix, including comic book, children’s books and collectibles.  

“Visiting your hometown mall on a Friday night. That book store was once a Hollister,” TikTok user @sarahgaliant0 wrote in reference to the used bookstore.

@s_e_g86 Who has been to a mall in the last decade? #millennial #fyp #hollister ♬ original sound – denise

“2009 me would never ever thought I’d see a Hollister turned into a bookstore,” one user commented.  

Axe-throwing venue

—Clout Schwab (@bigmadalex) September 15, 2020

 

Just when you thought defunct Hollister stores couldn’t possibly evolve into any other form of experiential retail, one location in Pennsylvania’s Monroeville Mall became an axe-throwing venue. 

Though it also has since closed, in 2020, mall-goers could walk through the doors of an old Hollister and hurl axes at a bullseye target, operated by Valhalla Axe Throwing. 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider