Tuesday, December 23, 2014

History of the Schuylkill Mall

History of the Schuylkill Mall and the 91 original tenants listed below
Crown American, a shopping center development company based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, opened Schuylkill Mall on October 9, 1980. The mall was built at the junction of Pennsylvania Route 61 and Interstate 81. It originally had three anchor stores: Kmart, Hess's, and Sears. The 800,000 square feet mall featured room for 115 stores, including a prototype McCrory variety store. 91 of the 115 storefronts were open at the time, including a Rea & Derick drugstore, a Weis Markets grocery store (now occupied by Big Lots) on an outparcel, and two McDonald's restaurants: one inside the mall, and a second in the parking lot. The Sears store replaced a store that had been operational in nearby Pottsville since 1930, and featured three times the square footage of that location; Hess's was built as a store-within-a-store concept with a large furniture section; and the Kmart featured a home improvement section, which many Kmart stores at the time did not contain. Originally, mall developers had been in negotiations for J. C. Penney as a fourth anchor.

In 1983, Pomeroy's department store also relocated from downtown Pottsville to become the mall's fourth anchor. Only four years later, the Pomeroy's chain was sold to The Bon-Ton. The fifth anchor, Phar-Mor, opened in 1991. As part of a store renovation in 1995, Sears added 23,000 square feet by taking over vacated sections of mall space.

Also in 1995, Hess's closed its store at the mall; three years later, it became an outlet store called U.S. Factory Outlets. Rex TV & Appliance joined the mall in 1998 as well. After U.S. Factory Outlets closed, it became the original location of Black Diamond Antiques, which later moved to the Phar-Mor building after that chain went out of business in 2002. The former Hess's building then became a Steve & Barry's in October 2007; after Steve & Barry's went out of business in 2009, it then became a discount clothing store called Famous Labels, which closed in May 2011. In November 2011, Dunham's Sports signed a lease to open a store at the mall. The store opened in the former Phar-Mor building, resulting in Black Diamond Antiques moving back to the former Hess's/Steve & Barry's/Famous Labels space. Dunham's opened in September 2012.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), who acquired the Crown American portfolio in 2003, sold the mall to Empire Realty in 2007.

Many mall stores have closed at Schuylkill Mall since the 2000s.

In 2009, Chick-fil-A closed its location at the mall, while a fitness center opened in a space previously occupied by Jo-Ann Fabrics, and a screen printing store replaced a former KB Toys.

Gap, an original tenant, closed in early 2012.

The mall's Arby's abruptly closed in July 2014 when its franchiser declared bankruptcy. A month later, GameStop and a cigar shop closed as well.

A consignment shop called Mustard Seed opened at the mall in 2013. The space was previously occupied by a Rex electronics store.

The mall had two arcades which have also closed. One "Gamers Alley" sometime in 2014, and one in 2011 to make way for the new movie theater expansion project. The arcade was located next to the old movie theater, which is now the new lobby and concession stand for the movie theater.

Hallmark Gold Crown Last day of business was on Feb. 22 2014. The store had been in the mall since the mall opened in October 1980.

Schuylkill Valley Sports: Closed sometime in the beginning of 2014 due to lack of business and foot traffic in the mall. The Frackville store opened in 1990, it was formally located where Gertrude Hawk Chocolates is now.

Littman Jewelers Ceased operations in the mall on January 20th 2014 after being there for 21 years. The store opened for business in November 1992.

Auntie Anne's Left the mall on February 2 2013, the exact reason for closing was not given, although mall management said it "was not related to sales or rent." The mall had records for Auntie Anne's leasing the space that dates back to 1992. When it closed, a lease had already been signed with a new business that opened the next week called Totally Twisted Soft Pretzel Bakery, which also has a location in the Columbia Mall in Bloomsburg. There was also one other pretzel stand in the Schuylkill Mall, Bavarian Pretzel Bakery, that closed in July.

Some other stores have since closed and new national tenants are in negotiations with mall management.

Nirvana's Closet: Closed February 23, 2012 shortly after State troopers from the Schuylkill Haven and Frackville stations, working in conjunction with the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Office, executed search warrants for a drug raid looking for illegal bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Search warrants were executed about 4 p.m., warrants were also issued for three other locations. Not long after "The Pearl Stadium 8" began renting out the former store and began a $1.6-million project to expanded into the space to gain an additional 5,000 square feet to house The "Screening Room", a VIP theater with a lounge, a kitchen and a bar that serves alcohol.

Kay Jewelers Closed in 2011

Liberty Travel Closed in 2011 and moved to the Coal Creek Plaza in St Clair, PA.

Sears announced the closure of its store at the mall in October 2014.

The Schuylkill Mall 91 original tenants when opened in 1980:

American Vision Center
Anderson Little
Athletic Attic
Barbara Moss
Bavarian Pretzels
The Bottom Half
Bresler's Ice Cream Shop
Budget Plan Consumer Discount
Candy Kiosk
Centre Film Lab
Charlie Chan
Chess King
Claires Boutique
Coffee, Tea and Thee
Coles, The Book People
Dental Office
Docktor Pet Center
Ebs Jeans West
Edison Penna Stores Bakers
Fashion Bug
First Federal Savings and Loan
Franklin Family Restaurant
Fruit and Nut Shop
Fudge, Candy and Nuts Kiosk
Gemstone Jewelry
Gordon's Jewelry
Great American Cookie Co.
Great Expectations
Grotta Blu Restaurant
Hanover Shoes
Harmony Hut
Heritage Card Shop
Hess's Department Store
Hickory Farms
Holiday Hair Fashions
Home Savings Bank
House of Cards
The Hub
Jay Jewelers
Jean Nicole
JoAnn Fabrics
Junior Colony
Kmart Department Store
Kay Jewelers
Kay Bee Toys & Hobby
Kids Point of View
Kinney Shoes
Liberty Travel
Long John Silvers
Lowrey Mall Development
Marshall Arts
McDonald's (Outside)
No Name Store
Orange Julius
The Panhandler Shoppe
Peanut Shack
Pearle Vision
Pinehurst Leather
Pizza Como
Pottsville Republican
Prints N' Things
Puritan Pride
Radio Shack
Rea & Derick Drugstore
Record Town
Regis Beauty Salon
Sears Department Store
Pants N' Stuff Shed House
Smokers Gallery
Spencer's Gifts
Things Remembered
Thom McAnn
T-Shirts Plus
United Artists Movie Theaters
Up stage
Weis Markets (Outside)
Zales Jewelers


  1. Replies
    1. Actually missed quite a few I believe

    2. not an original. it had another name, closed for weeks and reopened as Sojourner imports which sold exactly the same stuff

  2. And I am pretty sure that Gap was not an original tenant. To my recollection, Gap came in in the 90s. But a good and nostalgic read nonetheless!

  3. They forgot about American Outfitters

  4. They forgot a ton, Dane's Diner, record town, disc jockey, st. bear's mtg store, bonanza, chinese place after bonanza, d.e. jones, moontree, waldenbooks outlet, princes of the universe, musselman's, the mini golf place, pocket change, bugle boy, fashion bug plus, etc...

  5. For those interested, here is a PDF of the almost-original Schuylkill Mall Blueprints. http://www.vertigosystems.com/SchMallBlueprints.pdf
    Courtesy of a current tenant.

  6. #tbt www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbo7UKb-Ckc

  7. How about Millers Auto Supply? They were first tenant where A&A auto parts is now.