The end of Metrocenter had been a long time coming. Opened in 1973, the west Valley mall began to lose market share in the 1990s, when its parent company opened Arrowhead Towne Center just 10 miles away. While Metro was bleeding popular chain shops and replacing them with lower-end mom-and-pop boutiques, Arrowhead was romancing upscale shoppers with new tenants like Sephora, Coach, and Phoenix's first Apple Store. Crime in the neighborhood didn't help; neither did the rise of online shopping. And then COVID hit. In mid-June, the mall's owner announced Metro would close for good at the end of the month. On Facebook, where a group dedicated to the mall has 17,000 fans, a farewell was planned: one final cruise outside the mall. Thousands of locals turned up over the course of two nights. They drank beer, watched sports cars do donuts in the parking lot, and most of all reminisced about the good old days: Goldwater's, Hot Dog on a Stick, Bill &Ted's Excellent Adventure, the ice-skating rink. Their first car. Their first kiss. Days gone by. "I needed to take a nap to stay up this late," one woman in the crowd told us. Her gray hair hung to her waist. "But it was totally worth it!"