SCRANTON — Management at the Mall at Steamtown is scrambling to fill the soon to be empty retail space The Bon-Ton now fills.
The Bon-Ton is one of two retail anchors of the mall and its owners announced Thursday they would not be renewing their lease and will be vacating their two-story store in Scranton.
News of The Bon-Ton moving out at the Mall at Steamtown comes just a week before the mall’s 20th anniversary.
Many people remember how important the mall was when it was first built and hope this latest empty store front isn’t a sign of more to come.
Shoppers bustle through the Mall at Steamtown around lunch time but with The Bon-Ton now slated to close, there’s an air of unease.
Kathy Zale of Dunmore works next to the Mall at Steamtown and shops The Bon-Ton often. She remembers the promise the mall brought to Scranton when it was opened 20 years ago this month.
“Well, it was really an exciting time. They were all very old buildings and decrepit on this block,” Zale said.
Barber Daryl Nice works at Final Cut barbershop in the mall and say stores like The Bon-Ton draw in business for them.
“People come down, they do a little shopping, and they say ‘hey, you know what? Maybe I’ll go down to the Final Cut and get a haircut while I’m down there shopping,’” Nice said.
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty says this closing will have little impact on the city as a whole.
“Our downtown today is totally different today than it was 10 years ago. People live in our downtown today, so really it will not have any impact. 50 percent of our downtown is residential.”
The big question is what store will come next and fill the windows once The Bon-Ton is gone? There’s been lots of speculation around Scranton.
With new downtown apartments, rumors of a grocery store have circulated, and a small one is opening at the old Farley’s location but Gerrity’s co-owner says one in the mall at Steamtown would be a hard sell.
“As far as a supermarket going downtown, I really can’t see that work. I don’t think that that’s something that would work for Gerrity’s. I’d be surprised if any supermarket could really make a go of it,” Joe Fasula.
Whatever comes of the space, workers say Scranton shouldn’t give up on the Mall at Steamtown
“We have to rally behind it. We have to keep the downtown area in Scranton, we have to keep it revived,” Nice said.
Boscov’s will remain as the only anchor store.
We reached out to Al Boscov for his thoughts on this latest retail closure at the mall at Steamtown but have not heard back from him.