A Look Into The Past: The Cary Towne Center

By: Avery Phillips

At the end of January, the Cary Towne Center, once known as the Cary Village Mall, closed once and for all. The students of Cary High have a personal connection with the Cary Towne Center as it has been a hotspot for socializing since the 1980’s. Even when the mall was deemed “dead,” students would often meet after school and use the walkways and empty lots as a place to meet with friends. But, believe it or not, the Cary Towne Center was once full of stores and bustling with activity. Have you ever wondered what used to be in those empty lots? Let’s take a look back in time and see. 

Time-Out Arcade

Time-Out was a popular arcade chain that could be found in malls all around eastern America. The arcade’s name was originally Time-Out Tunnel, which was appropriate considering the design. The arcade’s entrance and pathways had a rainbow-like tunnel theme and the interior was colorful and fun. Time-Out’s peak in popularity was between 1979 and 1984. 


Though it may be difficult to imagine now, there once was a Rite-Aid pharmacy at the front of the Cary Towne Center. Though it offered a variety of everyday use items generally found in drugstores, it was set apart from its competitors with their sale of mixed nuts in a revolving heating rack. The pharmacy offered a place for students to grab a variety of necessities such as school supplies and snacks pre-Harris Teeter.

Cousin’s Pizza

Cousin’s Pizza was a big hit at the Cary Towne Center during the 80’s and 90’s. They had an open kitchen so the customers were able to watch as employees flipped and threw dough into the air. Students could often be found stopping by during their lunch break.

Aloha Restaurant 

According to @Laurenwins on City-Data.com, Aloha Restaurant was “Chinese with a vague Hawaiian theme.” They had open candle flames on the tables in which chicken or pork wrapped in aluminum could be cooked over.

Honorable Mentions:

K&K Toys

Not to be confused with KB Toys, who was also in the mall at the same time, he similar names are purely coincidental.

The Surf Report

This store was designated for beachwear and surf boards. 

Family Bookstores

This local bookstore was later replaced with B. Dalton Booksellers.

One response to “A Look Into The Past: The Cary Towne Center”

  1. Hi – Just a few corrections to this story (lived behind Cary Village Mall when it was built). The drug store was called Treasury Drug. B Dalton was original to the mall – The Family Bookstore came later when the mall was renovated in the early 90s. Kaybee was not in the mall at the same time as K&K. Kaybee bought up the K&K Toys chain and turned the locations into Kaybees – I believe this, too, was early to mid 90s. It’s also worth noting that I don’t believe that picture is from Cary Village Mall’s Time-Out, it appears to be from some other mall.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: