Business boom at Palmer Park Mall

The Palmer Township shopping mecca welcomes seven new stores and restaurants in the past two months.

With the highly anticipated or highly dreaded (depending on your stress tolerance) Black Friday rapidly approaching, the halls of most malls have already been decked. Garland, reindeer, Christmas trees and, of course, Santa's throne ready to welcome a barrage of buyers.

The Palmer Park Mall is no exception. In fact, the shopping mecca at Route 248 and Park Avenue in Palmer Township has prepared for the surplus of shoppers not only with decorations, but also with what shoppers really desire — more shops!

Over the past two months, the mall has added seven new businesses — five stores and two restaurants. They include: Go! Calendars, Games & Toys, which opened Sept. 16; Dino's Pizza-teria II, which opened Oct. 1; Dollar Galaxy, which opened Oct. 26; The Green Pepper, which opened Oct. 31; Rack Room Shoes, which opened Oct. 31; Best Ever Jewelry, which opened Nov. 3; and Milford Furniture, which opened Wednesday.

"I'm really looking forward to the holiday season," mall manager Brian Molchaney said. "New tenants add to the merchandise mix and build excitement for the shopper."

Four of the new stores — Rack Room Shoes, Dollar Galaxy, Milford Furniture and Best Ever Jewelry — are near the end of the mall by Bon-Ton. The latter three are next-door neighbors.

"We're especially excited for the businesses bringing new life to that end of the mall," said Molchaney, who estimates there to be four remaining vacancies in the mall.

Rack Room Shoes, the only new tenant with an outside entrance, fills a longtime vacant space. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the family footwear retailer is known for its year-round "buy one pair, get second pair half-off" sale. The Palmer store is the Lehigh Valley's first and the state's fifth. It is near other shoe retailers Payless ShoeSource and Foot Locker.

Across from Rack Room Shoes is Dollar Galaxy, a store selling household, beauty and gift items starting at $1. Replacing another dollar store, the business offers a wide variety of jewelry and apparel, including nearly a whole wall of scarves. Another Dollar Galaxy is at the Stroud Mall in Stroud Township.

Next to Dollar Galaxy and filling the space formerly occupied by Famous Footwear is Milford Furniture, a family-owned and operated business for more than 30 years selling solid-wood furniture made by experienced craftsmen in Pennsylvania. Customers can choose from a wide variety of woods, including oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm and pine.

Furniture, ranging from tables and chairs to dining room and bedroom suites, can be made to order in your choice of stain or paint. The company also operates out of its main store in Milford Square and the Quakertown Farmers Market. It previously operated a store at Zerns Farmers Market in Gilbertsville.

Rounding out the bevy of new businesses near Bon-Ton is Best Ever Jewelry, owned by Jennifer O'Hay of Stroud Township. The store, housed in the space left vacant by women's clothing retailer Christopher and Banks, sells primarily women's jewelry, handbags and other accessories. Its limited line of men's accessories, which includes eyeglasses and watches, is expected to expand to other items such as beanies and bow ties in the coming weeks.

Moving to the center of the mall, Go! Calendars, Games & Toys sells, you guessed it, calendars, games and toys. Located in the space formerly filled by "California lifestyle" clothing retailer PacSun, the seasonal tenant (operating through January) offers mostly non-digital play items, including board games, puzzles and stuffed animals. "Our store is all about getting kids away from the TV and back to old-fashioned fun," said store associate Vickie Anderson of south Easton.

The two new dining options, both near the middle of the mall, include The Green Pepper, an "authentic burrito joint" with its original location (since 2012) at The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in Center Valley; and Dino's Pizza-teria II, an Italian eatery with its original location (for 27 years) at the South Mall in Salisbury Township.

The Green Pepper, which occupies the former American Gyro Café space, serves eight signature burritos, build-your-own burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and salads. Dino's, which occupies the former Cosimo's Pizza space, serves a wide variety of pizza, pasta dishes, hot and cold sandwiches and Italian specialties such as calzones and strombolis.

"It's truly a great time to check out new and old businesses at the Palmer Park Mall," Molchaney said. "We're not as large as the Lehigh Valley Mall, but we have some really great tenants." Info: 610-258-6017 or shoppalmerparkmall.com.

Speaking of holiday shopping, a going-out-of-business sale at Vogt's Jewelers in South Whitehall Township may give you the chance to surprise that special someone with a sparkly ring, bracelet, necklace or set of earrings at a price that won't bankrupt you.

The 110-year-old business at 3025 Tilghman St. (across from Village West shopping center) is selling items at 15 to 70 percent off through at least Christmas. It will remain open until a majority of its inventory has been sold.

The store, which moved from downtown Allentown to South Whitehall more than 25 years ago, is closing because husband and wife co-owners Barry and Penny Vogt of Lower Macungie Township are retiring. The third- generation jeweler was founded by Barry's grandfather, Charles Vogt Sr., in 1903.

In addition to the ongoing sale, other promotions include a drawing for a $1,000 shopping spree and a custom jewelry box giveaway to the customer producing the oldest Vogt's Jewelers receipt. Info: 610-434-6594 or vogtsjewelers.com.

Speaking of going out of business, my colleague Scott Kraus reported Wednesday that Blockbuster Video's parent, DISH Network, announced it will close the last 300 of its company-owned retail stores, including its only remaining local retail outlet at 7150 Hamilton Blvd. in Trexlertown, by January.

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