Published On: Thu, Oct 6th, 2016

Ghermezian’s Mall of America takes bold stand by closing on Thanksgiving this year

Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president said “We’re excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families.”; Meet the Ghermezians.


Ghermezian brothres notified employees and tenants Wednesday morning that this year they will close down Mall of America most operations on Thanksgiving. The decision will affect many of the 15, 000 people who work at the mall.

“We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about, ” Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing, told the Associated Press. “We want to give this day back. We’ve been talking about this for months, looking at the numbers, looking at the pros and the cons, ” said Renslow. “We’re excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families.”

Nickelodeon Universe amusement park and the movie theaters will also be closed for Thanksgiving for the first time in its 24-year history. It will continue to host its Walk to End Hunger on Thanksgiving morning, a community event that the mall has hosted for eight years that helps provide meals for families in need.

The mall’s 520 stores will have the option to keep their oparation open, but mall anagment expect few will choose to do so. The mall will reopen at 5 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving. About 400, 000 visitors visit the mall during the Thursday-to-Sunday period. But managment expect the traffic to be quite similar this year over the three days instead of four.

This move has been controversial as many workers at major stores such as Macy’s, Target and J.C. Penney, have voiced complaints and signed petitions saying the stores are putting profits over workers’ time to be with their families.
Ghermezian Brothers


Meet the Ghermezians

The Ghermezian family is a family of Canadian Jews who came originally from Iran.

Like many Iranian emigrants the head of the family, Jacob Ghermezian, who died in the millennial year 2000 when he was 105 years old, left Iran in 1959 at the time of the fall of the Shah and subsequently came to Canada in 1964 with his four sons. The four, Eskandar, Nader, Raphael and Bahman then grew what had been a family rug business into a major real estate and construction empire.

The family’s existing business holdings include the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota (close to the Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport) and the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Other ventures include a Trust company and hotel interests.

An intensely private family, the Ghermezians overcame huge skepticism in the Canadian financial community that they could pull it off when they announced plans for the world’s then largest mall to be built in Edmonton, Alberta, of all places. Having succeeded, opening it finally in 1981, ten years later they then repeated the exercise a second time in Minneapolis opening there in 1992. After succeeding in asserting in court claims of bad faith dealing against its partners ten years later, the Ghermezians took full control of the property in 2003..

The Ghermazians’ net worth has been variously estimated at around US$2 billion, though no one really knows for sure. Accordingly, Forbes Billionaire’s list just does not mention them at all.

And that gentlemen, and ladies, is perhaps the meaning of true privacy.

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