Dear Valued Colleagues,

It gives me no pleasure to deliver you this news, but I am sorry to say that, due to a variety of factors, including the continued economic fallout from COVID, the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, and the lingering devastation from the attack by a giant spider-like creature in 1985, the Starcourt Mall of Hawkins, Indiana, is shutting its doors.

Trust me when I say that no one is more upset about this news than I am. This closure is not at all a reflection of unsatisfactory work from our many talented employees. Other than our collective failure—also in 1985—to notice that our mall was actually a front for devious Soviet-backed experiments involving an alternate dimension filled with scary monsters, the work has been nothing short of exemplary. But our revenues had already been declining even before the pandemic forced us to close temporarily in 2020, and our finances have simply not been able to recover since then.

The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that we ever made it past 1985 in the first place, what with the Soviet Union thing and the giant spider-like creature attack and the massive fire and the local bully dying spectacularly in our atrium. But, hey, it was the ’80s. People loved malls.

We will provide you with more details on the closure as soon as we figure out who owns Starcourt these days. We know the federal government sold it to Larry Bird shortly after seizing it from the Soviets and realizing that, despite all the trauma and death and horrifying interdimensional creatures that had stemmed from this place, several Hawkins residents still wanted us to repair all the fire damage and reopen the mall so they could continue having access to Hot Dog on a Stick. However, no one has heard anything from Mr. Bird since 1997, and the notice we received saying the mall had to close down indefinitely was just signed by “Heptagon Inc.”

I thought about looking into Heptagon more, but it seems as if every time someone in Hawkins does something like that, many teenagers end up disappearing, so I’m just hoping they respond to my politely worded email soon.

Anyway, let’s not focus on the negatives right now. There will be plenty of time later to argue over whether we should have been better prepared for the impact of the pandemic, or more proactive about investing in online shopping, or more effective at covering up that time when the Soviet military officials who were secretly working here briefly endangered the life of a ten-year-old girl.

Instead, let’s focus on the positives. Like the fact that, after all these years, Scoops Ahoy remains the seventeenth most popular ice cream shop in Indiana. Or that our Sam Goody store was one of the last five to remain open throughout the entire Midwest. Or that none of us were seriously injured in the giant spider-like creature attack—unless you count devastating emotional scars, but, honestly, who cares about those. Not our healthcare provider, that’s for sure.

Speaking of health care, if anyone is interested in a solid new job lead, I have it on good authority that Hawkins National Laboratory will be reopening and looking to hire again very soon. The group of intimidating bald men who cornered me in the Starcourt parking garage last night wanted me to stress that the lab will be solely focused on developing vaccines and treatments for any new COVID variants we may encounter moving forward. Also, if anyone hears any chatter about children with telekinetic powers or rabid doglike beasts with jaws that can tear off a human face in seconds, rest assured that this is all part of the normal scientific process.

Thanks again for your hard work, and please feel free to grab some complimentary Scoops Ahoy ice cream on your way out of Starcourt. It’s probably the closest thing any of us will get to a severance package.

Steve Harrington
Starcourt Mall Senior Manager