Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg contains the stores you might expect at any mall in the region: Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Gymboree, The Limited, etc.
But nestled among the familiar are several stores that offer items not commonly found at a typical shopping mall.
Take, for instance, the Himalayan Gift Shop on the upper level near Sears. This store is where you can find a bevy of unique items, such as several different sizes of “lungta,” or Tibetan prayer flags, for sale. The colorful red, blue, green, white and yellow flags represent five elements: fire, earth, water, air and sky. The flags are believed to spread prayers to the wind. Tibetans recently celebrated the New Year, called “losar,” and it is during this time that many choose to hang new flags to replace worn ones.
In this gift shop, you will find cases full of an array of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other jewelry, as well as scarves, bags and purses. A small collection of colorful felt slippers nestled among various items to display in the home.
Down the promenade from this, located closer to JC Penney, is another unique find called Dragon Cave.
If you like tigers, this is the shop for you. Here, you can find small tiger statues of many sizes, as well as large banners featuring the fierce creatures snarling.
Along the back wall of the well-stocked shop hang an array of swords, daggers, knives and shields. The store specializes in decorative Asian collectibles, such as scrolls, figurines, vases and wall hangings. Martial arts fans will appreciate this shop, for sure.
On the bottom level of Lakeforest Mall, tucked into a corner of the Cafes in the Forest Food Court is an at-first unassuming newsstand, where most customers purchase magazines, newspapers, gum, snacks and drinks.
But Central News offers so much more than that. Take a look in the row of glass display cases near the cash registers and you’ll find some items you’ve never seen before. Have a hankering for a Statue of Liberty bottle opener? This shop has them in several colors! What about a lighter in the shape of a tiny gun? Yes, you can buy that here.
The wacky merchandise doesn’t stop there. An entire row of one display case is labeled as “shocking items” and let’s just say it’s not false advertising.
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Lakeforest Mall is owned by Simon Malls, and features the company’s “Kidgits Club,” which children may join for a $5 annual fee. Membership gives families access to newsletters, games, discounts and special events. Members also receive a birthday card and present, a T-shirt and a membership card.
The mall has several special events planned in March and April for Kidgits Club members, including:
- Welcome Spring! Kidgits Kraft: 1-4 p.m., Friday, March 25
- Kidgits Spring Fling: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m., Saturday, April 16
- Kidgits Little Planet Helpers: 11 am.-1 p.m., Wednesday, April 20
For more information about the Kidgits Club, go to www.simon.com/kidgits or become a fan of the mall on Facebook, where events and more information are posted.