If you live in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, it's hard to match the Puente Hills Mall for convenience, shoppers say. A huge X-shaped building with a major department store at each of its four points, the mall sits next to the Pomona Freeway like a beacon for shoppers.
There are vast open spaces for parking, a direct link to the freeway from Azusa Avenue, 185 stores and, in the mall's "take-a-break" area (near JC Penney), a big rubber fire engine for kids to climb on.
By next spring, managers say, the mall is going to be even more of a fun place. The center court, a broad octagonal area with mirrored columns at the center of the X, will resound with merry-go-round music as the central fountain (now covered by Santa's castle) is replaced with an 84-year-old carousel.
"It's even bigger than the carousel on the Santa Monica Pier," said Marketing Director Terry Migliaccio.
So what if Puente Hills has an antiseptic look, hard-to-find restrooms, surly teen-agers who often drape themselves over benches on weekends and--as nonplussed Orange County resident Laura DePaola noted--"There's no 'Gap!' "