Dean Gabhart, mall coordinator at Centre Mall for the last 31+ years, plans to retire June 30.
Gabhart was hired as mall coordinator before the mall opened in July of 1992. The mall was built by the City of Sioux Center to improve the downtown business district following the opening of Walmart a few years prior. From early on, Gabhart had a crucial role in working with retail businesses to fill spaces and create a flourishing mall.
Gabhart says his vision was to “develop an atmosphere that reflected the community.” His plan was to create more than a shopping center. He wanted to create a community gathering place.
David Krahling, mayor of Sioux Center, sees Gabhart’s success.
“Under Dean Gabhart’s leadership, the mall has become so much more than a retail space,” Krahling said. “The overlap and interactions among all those who gather at the mall are an important way to build our sense of community.”
Gabhart has worked with 35 businesses in his career—representing a wide range of services and products. For the last three decades, Gabhart’s goal has been to adapt Centre Mall’s environment to be one that embodies the heart of Sioux Center, a thriving center of community activity.
“He has been instrumental in keeping the mall virtually 100% occupied along with creating many events that add interest and traffic to this retail center,” said Paul Clousing, former City Manager. “Dean is really valued and an all-around great guy.”
Gabhart was responsible for anything that had to do with property management, maintenance, marketing empty space to prospective retailers, and working with leases.
“Anything that had to do with the mall would come across my desk,” stated Gabhart.
Gabhart, who shaped Centre Mall into the hub of activity it is today, is confident in the future of the mall after he retires. He does not foresee any noticeable changes for shoppers due to the current thriving businesses that occupy the mall’s allocated spaces. Post-retirement, Gahart looks forward to pursuing his interests and allotting time to travel. He plans to stay in Sioux Center and remains open to the possibility of continuing to serve and work in the community.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to live, work and raise a family in Sioux Center,” Gabhart said. “It’s been exciting to be involved in serving a growing community, and I have enjoyed working with and learning from the mall’s tenants and customers, my fellow city staffers, and many other individuals and organizations over the past 30 years.”