Eric Frein in Custody

Bon-Ton Closing Scranton Store

SCRANTON — One of the main anchor stores at the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton plans to leave at the beginning of 2014.

Bon-Ton Stores announced Thursday that they are closing the downtown location when its lease expires at the end of January, and this bad news comes as the mall is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Signs up inside Bon-Ton advertise blowout deals and savings at The Mall at Steamtown.

Shoppers looking for bargains at the department store will have a limited time to grab them.

“I like shopping at the Bon-Ton so losing another store really, it`s sad,” said Sherie Hastings.

“Scranton`s not that big of a city so having another store shut down kind of affects the whole community,” said Margot Mulholland.

“I shop there almost every day so for me to lose Bon-Ton, it’s a big deal,” said Bailey Stasny.

It`s also a big deal for the mall.

The shopping center opened on Lackawanna Avenue 20 years ago and in recent years has struggled to keep it filled with stores.

Now the mall is left with only one department store, Boscov`s.

John Sopa with the mall said Bon-Ton just couldn`t compete with the mall`s main anchor store.

“If you have repetition there it`s going to be challenging, so I think whoever we court to try to come in here should be something that compliments Boscov`s and mall, not something that has more increased competition inside the doors,” said Sopa.

Bob Durkin, the president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce said with the growth of downtown residences one possibility is to get stores that would cater to downtown living.

Terry Nealon lives at the new apartments inside the former Chamber of Commerce building and has some suggestions.

“I think a grocery store would be what they would like to see most, something even small that has fresh produce or a deli somewhere, I think the closest grocery store is Gerrity`s which is great, but it`s not the most convenient location,” said Nealon.

The company said about 50 people who work there can apply for jobs at other Bon-Ton stores.

The Bon-Ton has been at the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton since 2000.

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