HAZLE TOWNSHIP -- This holiday shopping season, retail experts predict that once again, shoppers will mostly make their purchases online. It comes during an era of declining and closing shopping malls, but Laurel Mall near Hazleton is bucking the national trend.
Mall managers say Laurel Mall is at 100 percent capacity and at the end of the week, 16 holiday vendors will also set up shop inside the mall.
"I've been in the mall 15 years. The 100 percent occupancy is a great thing. It just goes to show there’s great support from the community, the involvement us tenants have in working with management to keep them all filled,” said John Provost of Provost Shoes.
Two businesses in the mall are closing and moving and already managers say they have tenants to fill the spaces.
People doing business here are predicting another successful holiday shopping season.
"All the stores are filled and we got new stores like T.J. Maxx and a lot of people are moving in. A lot of vendors and everything. So people are out shopping, that's for sure,” said Kim Fancher of Littman Jewelers.
"It's nice that there's always stores for us to even shop in, too, on our breaks!" said Haylee Chura of Littman Jewelers.
"I think this is the best one where we've got all the stores and the best place to shop actually,” said 10-year-old Kira Lake of Middleport.
“It’s close for us, versus driving to Allentown, you know, so I like it. The kids like it. It's quick, easy,” said James Lake of Middleport.
Mall managers say one of the reasons for the mall's success is they go out and try to recruit tenants.
They also do research at other malls to see what works and what does not.
"We have the seating area. We have the free WiFi now. We have the charging stations. We have TVs. We have the play zone, which is very important for children,” said Rocco Arruzzo, property manager of Laurel Mall.
"Having something like this with kids of my own makes it beneficial to come here and be able to have them play somewhere and sometimes we come to the mall just to have them play here,” said Daniel Benyo of the free play area.
Managers say the Laurel Mall is closed on Thanksgiving but will open early on Black Friday with 16 holiday vendors in addition to all the stores.