Gwinnett Place Mall goes back to the future for 'Stranger Things'

Originall posted Friday, May 11, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Gwinnett Place Mall opened in 1984 and quickly became a go-to shopping magnet in the county.

Three decades later as other malls and online shopping have stolen its thunder, Gwinnett Place is on life support with gaping empty spaces that used to house retail shops.

So it's just a little bit ironic that a portion of the mall has literally gone back to 1985, courtesy of the huge Netflix hit "Stranger Things," which just began season three production. The show is fictionally set in the mid-1980s in a small Indiana town so Gwinnett Place Mall has become Starcourt Mall.

RELATED: Matt Kempner's 2017 column about Gwinnet Place Mall's efforts to regroup

The production company has painstakingly re-created storefronts for such 1980s staples as Orange Julius, Chess KingWaldenbooksTime-Out Arcade and Wicks 'N Sticks. There's even a jazzercise studio. And the cinema, using a BeautyMaster entrance, features films "Fletch" and "Cocoon" as well as movie posters for upcoming films "Back to the Future" and "Day of the Dead." That means season three begins in June of 1985.

For me, this is a true flashback since I was just about to turn 16 at the time and spent way too much time at what was the Mid-Island Mall in Hicksville, N.Y. on Long Island (Now known as Broadway Commons.)

Credit: Rodney Ho

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Credit: Rodney Ho

From public mall area outside of shooting range, you could easily see the fake Radio Shack and Chess King:

A part of Gwinnett Place Mall in May was turned into a 1985-era mall for "Stranger Things."

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A Gwinnett Place Mall spokesman declined to comment, referring any reporter questions to "Stranger Things."

There were a few extras dressed in their 1980s finest floating around, too. There is a casting call for more mall patrons for next week.

Extras for "Stranger Things" dressed in their best 1985 garb.

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Unfortunately, a large part of the mall looks more like this now:

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