Kicking off the new blueprint section of Mallwalkers with a 1978 storefront elevation drawing of Camelot Music at Mellett Mall (later Canton Centre) in Canton, Ohio.
Camelot Music was a local company founded in Massilon, Ohio who opened their first retail stores in Canton, Ohio in 1965. By the 80s Camelot was a mall staple with over 300 stores and it seemed like they had a store in every mall (except Rolling Acres).
The 90s however were not so kind to the music retailer. In 93 CEO and founder Paul David stepped down and sold his majority share holdings to Investcorp. A few years later in 96 due to massive debts and stiff competition from big box stores the company would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Though they did emerge from bankruptcy a year later, the chain was forced to close nearly 25% of the stores. Finally in 1998 the company would be bought out by Trans World Entertainment, who would go on the rebrand the stores as FYE, thus ending the Camelot name for good.
The above image of an unknown store from the same time period shows what the Mellett Mall store may have looked as a finished build.
In the late 1990’s, the North Canton-Ohio based music retailer, Camelot Music, decided to open a new mall prototype. They wanted a store that looked and felt different from the typical cookie-cutter mall music stores we were becoming accustomed to. Their concept was more than just a music store, it was a “lifestyle” store. After all, music is the foundation of many lifestyles.
Camelot music opened their new flagship store in a 17,000 sq ft retail space located in Great Lakes Mall. In addition to the normal entrance in the mall, the store also had it’s own front entrance from the parking lot. And the overall look of the store was more like a hip clothing store.
Next to a CD display you could find t-shirts, books and other memorabilia that paired with the CD’s. And the store didn’t stop there incorporating their new “lifestyle” products. They carried vintage jeans, comic books, watches, lighters, trading cards, musical instruments, and quirky boutique style items. I’m sure we all remember the ever popular notebooks with the car license plate on them.
Despite the new products, about 65% of the store merchandise remained music-related.
The president of Camelot Music believed that the mall music business could regain it’s health by decreasing the number of music stores in each mall. He predicted that in the future the mall will support one good music store. And even though Camelot did it’s best to position itself to be that store, we ended up with F.Y.E. instead. WTH?
“Camelot Music is the coolest music chain in the country.” Anna Nicole Smith (AOL Center Stage, 20 October 1995)
You can be the coolest with this Camelot Repeat Performer Card t-shirt by Untitled Colours.