More Stores Leaving Struggling Mall At Steamtown

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

There’s more tough news for an already struggling mall in Scranton.

The Mall at Steamtown on Lackawanna Avenue has plenty of empty storefronts and now, comes news that more businesses are bailing.

It was earlier this month that mall officials said the mall was going into foreclosure and would be sold at a sheriff's sale.

Three more vendors are pulling out at the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton.

Mall officials confirm the Cinnabon-Carvel store is already gone, leaving an eyesore right at the mall`s main entrance on Lackawanna Avenue.

The Steamtown Pub is also closing and so is the Toyriffic - As Seen On TV store on the second floor.

For shoppers here, seeing more merchants leave the already struggling mall is depressing.

“It is, because I used to come a while back and all the stores were here and little by little it just slowly diminished away,” said Juan Carrero of Olyphant.

“We were just actually talking about that, how all the stores are closed so it`s not much to do in here, it`s kind of boring,” said Theodore Johnson of Scranton.

Less than a month ago, mall officials and one of the mall`s owners, Al Boscov, said the mall was going into foreclosure in order to restructure its financial situation.

That news came months after the mall lost one of it anchor stores, the Bon-Ton, leaving the mall with only Boscov`s as its major retailer.

“There`s nowhere left to go, i don`t what they`re going to do around here because pretty soon everything`s going to be closing and there`s not going to be anything left,” said Melissa Stewart of Scranton.

A day after announcing foreclosure Al Boscov met with mall tenants, assuring them the mall would not close.

Boscov said he planned to make a bid on the mall when it goes to a sheriff`s sale later this year.

But some shoppers aren`t so confident the mall can survive.

“A lot of people are truly heading up towards the Viewmont Mall or the Shoppes at Montage, I guess that`s really where the business is at,” said Carrero.

“All the stores that`s open now are the same so there`s no variety in here so,” said EJ Wallace.

A mall spokesperson says all three stores gave notice to mall officials and that nothing has changed with the foreclosure process.


  • smokes

    i love all boscov and Anthracite coal they go hand to good old pa it makes me so proud to be rasied and born hear hehehe. any one in good mood for tacos they need a taco bell in steamtown mall or arbys more book stores would help a buger king or mccdonalds inside the mall maybe a grude hawk candy in the mall would be nice to have bosov bring back the tvs please

  • Paul J. Laure

    Urban sprawl decimated the vitality of the urban core of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, and there’s nothing that can be done at this point to undo the damage. I knew prior to their construction that The Shoppes at Montage were going to be the death knell for the Mall at Steamtown, yet due to provincialism, shoddy long-range urban planning, and poor intergovernmental cooperation they were approved anyways so Moosic could boost its own tax base at the expense of Scranton’s. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre LOST over 2,000 residents from 2012-2013; you can’t keep supplying more and more retail options in an area with a diminishing population and not expect something (in this case Steamtown) to give. New housing developments also keep springing up left and right in places like South Abington Township and Roaring Brook Township. The people building those McMansions aren’t fresh new faces. They are former residents who contributed to the tax base of adjacent older boroughs and cities. How is Scranton supposed to revitalize itself if the suburbs keep fleecing it of its businesses and residents?

  • Mary Beth

    Maybe if the security guards let people park in there instead of threatening to tow everyone maybe people would actually shop in there. I work across the street and it’s a constant battle. They did it to themselves.

  • nope

    Get rid of Al Boscov. The reason the mall is failing while Dickson City, Moosic, and Wilkes-Barre township retail locations flourish is because he CANNOT MANAGE OBJECTIVELY. His agenda is clear: he does not want stores that compete with Boscov’s. Any “good store” is a threat to his own store– so he’s filled the Mall with junk retailers. I wish he was not allowed to bid in the Sheriff’s Sale. What kind of logic is that? “You ruined this once, Al, but here you go! Ruin it again!”

    • laura

      you hit the nail on the head. did you also know boscovs also has always gotten premo rent deals as well unlike the stores the mall needed to keep but didn’t?

  • Need planners

    Everything in this area is corrupt. Scranton needs educated planners to even come close to saving. All these “city planners” are joe shmoes who needed a job and knew someone. They should hire some people with background in planning/environmental planning/urban and regional development. There are a lot of fresh new ideas out there but Scranton is 50 years behind the times. The aged population is so hard headed they’re afraid of getting out of their comfort zone.

  • out of here

    I will be moving to the Harrisburg area for employment and I can honestly say I feel like i hit the lottery. I grew up in the Scranton area but honestly the area is a dump. Up and down the valley A DUMP! Potholes, bums talking to themselves on street corners, housing market that is horrible, high taxes, corruption, poor schooling, and i can go on and on. The area is a depressed old coal town with a similar feel to Detroit. Horrible weather 7 – 8 months out of the year, and i know people will say ‘well, you’re just moving to harrisburg, that won’t be any better’ …. just shows how uneducated this area is. Pick up a science book learn weather patterns about Harrisburg and look at the nieghborhoods on google maps, also read about the schools and taxes and roads. Steamtown is the tip of the Iceberg, Scranton is in serious trouble.

  • Joe

    Wow sorry to hear about all bad things happening to Scranton. I’m so glad I moved to Raleigh, NC. Weather is great and plenty of good jobs. Housing is expensive but well worth the move. There is a transition happening in the north in that people are getting feed up with the long winters, no jobs and poor schools systems. Everyone is seeking a quality of life that seems to better in the new south. One of my friends move to Charlotte, NC and loves it. I went to visit and I saw why they say they are never moving back north, it just lovely down here. Sorry, PA. Good luck staying in the rust/coal belt.

  • jerry smith

    Linking it to Steamtown was only one of the major mistakes. That place in empty most all of the time. High rent, the opening of Shops at Montage, and the dreary-parking garage never helped. There is no cure, shut it down.

  • Stephanie

    The mall needs a complete makeover to survive with the other competition out there. They need to bring in new businesses that other malls or shops don’t offer. They also need to make the mall appealing to people of all ages. The young, the old, & everyone in between need to have something to do. The mall needs more of a family appeal that was there when the mall first opened hut it’s really going to take a complete facelift to make that happen!

    • laura

      they used to have that years ago. they had a variety of stores and ones that weren’t in other malls like a mandee’s, rave and Abercrombie kids which the closest one besides the one that used to be at steamtown is in Allentown. the problem was the rent was too high and they left.

  • Lindsey

    Nobody has money for cheap, slave made, over priced crap? Nobody ever had a problem buying it before at the expense of this country and it’s best interest. Anyone who works at or supports these stores gets exactly what they deserve. I say level it and plant a community garden.

    • Itsover

      That’s a perfect idea Lindsey. It will be a beautiful place for the methheads and crack dealers from south and west to peddle wares. Also will make a great public urinal on parade day…good fertilizer

  • P M Van Hook

    The Mall at Steamtown needs to do more than just get new tenants that differentiate it from other malls in the area. It needs a total makeover. Trying to so intimately link the Mall with the Steamtown National Park and trains in general is just an old schtick at this point. The tie-in never really worked, in large part because of the absurdly long ramp linking the Mall and park. Try walking on that thing in the middle of the summer…it’s torture.

    But my point here is that the whole train theme has to go. It was unique when it first opened, but it’s old now and just not working.

    The food court also needs to go. It’s completely dead, let’s be honest. I think a large children’s play area would be a great use of the space, providing the community with a sort of indoor playground to which parents could take their children, especially on cold wintry days and rainy days the remainder of the year. Another thought, as suggested by a friend of mine who works at the Mall, is an indoor sports area, particularly for basketball.

    In the end, it’s not small, incremental changes that will fix the Mall at Steamtown. Some drastic changes need to be implemented…the whole place needs to be reinvented. Without such measures, I just don’t see how the place can survive, especially with all of the new additions coming to Viewmont Mall.

    I just hope the Mall at Steamtown can be saved. I really do love the place…always have. It’s sad what has happened there.

  • PJ

    I love Steamtown. Suggestions for stores not in our area
    Would be enticing.
    Lower the rent with the contingentcy that once two years
    Pass, then rent would go up a certain percentage and they’re
    Locked into a 5 to 10 year lease.
    This is a STAPLE mall!
    It just needs to make changes and keep up with the times.

    H&M , Trader Joes, Lush,Apple, just to name a few would boost
    Traffic which in turn generate sales.

    Food court needs something different!
    Maybe one large chain ? I would suggest The Cheescake
    Factory, a quaint affordable eatery?
    And of course transition a few other options
    For people who don’t have time to sit too long and
    Minimize their options. Cheeseburger Cheeseburger , Salad Works, Panda Express

    It’s time for a change!

    Being diligent and stepping out of the boundaries and
    Selling these stores would be the masterpiece and the savior
    To a New and successful landmark.

    • gina

      You’ll never get those high end retailers as long as Scranton sucks and the residents dont have expendable income

    • o-bob

      Let me make this as simple as possible. Retailers do extensive research on specific geographic areas when they are considering opening stores. Scranton simply does not fit into the plans with major retailers. Incomes for this area are well below the average. Without the political clout Scranton had in the past, this area is dying on the vine. Since I am not from the area I am not 100% sure, but isn’t Scranton still a “distressed city” This is a no brainer. If the city cannot collect enough taxes to sustain itself, then that tells me that there is not enough disposable income for people to spend money. No jobs = no money!

  • Jennifer

    I agree the Mall treated the stores and the stores employees terrible. I worked there for just over a year, 2 winters there and I had to quit. No matter what the weather is like, and how few people were in the mall the smaller stores are forced to stay open or get a hefty fine unless both the anchor stores (Bon Ton & Boscvovs) closed first. The big stores were able to close if they so chose when weather was terrible. The store i worked at required a manager and 1 other employee be there at all times the store was open, yet I had to stay during terrible snow and ice storms. My store didnt have business on these days for hours and hours on end, we would call the mall office and tell them that, tell them we dont even see people in the mall and were told that until the anchor stores decided to close we had to stay open. I finally took another job after wrecking my car on the way home after we were forced to stay open with no business almost all day. Oh and at Christmas time mall employees had to park almost a block away. Really fun walking to your car in downtown Scranton after midnight. There is a reason people call it the most ghetto mall in America.

  • Kayleigh

    I used to manage a store at this mall for a short time and they treat store employees like crap, the Mall not the stores employees work for. I know you want the best parking for customers, but forcing employees to park on the roof level and not even plow it in the winter, many times the lights in the parking stairwell were out. They used to hassle any of my employees who came in early for not having an employee ID for the store they work in (it was the stores policy that employee badges be kept in the store at the end of a shift) yet mall walkers were free to come in and not get hassled. Mall employees also had to pay a fee to park in the parking garage. If mall employees didnt park on the roof they risked having their car towed.

  • Dave

    The mall was a joke when they built it back in the 90’s as a Revival for downtown Scranton! Sorry, Viewmont and Wyoming Valley have all the stores to shop at, along with Wally World! Not sounding rude but Scranton was done when the Long-distance Passenger trains and Anthracite coal dried up over 50 years ago!

  • Soak it

    When will the new tenant that is taking over Bon Ton be announced?? They said they would be making the announcement soon!

      • laura

        I can’t see a neiman marcus going in there the economy of this area can’t support it. maybe a last call by neiman marcus where their unsellable stuff gets sent but not a regular neiman marcus

    • bobc74

      They were lying! There is no new tenant lined up. The owners were just hoping all the talk of a potential new tenant would drive up interest in the mall to increase the chances of getting a better deal in the foreclosure process.

  • laura

    rents got too high and chain stores left. boscovs is hardly enough to keep shoppers coming in. the big name chain stores are far more important to bringing in shoppers but who ever was in charge there sure didn’t figure that out

Comments are closed.