While many shopping centers struggle to fill vacancies, South Mall in Salisbury Township is on the upswing.
The 3300 Lehigh St. mall, which is already home to popular retailers such as Bath & Body Works, Blick Art Materials and South Mall Mercantile, has welcomed six new tenants — Charmed Rose Creations gift shop, Elay’s Outlet clothing store, Gold Drip Jewelry, Salisbury Youth Association, Shop 610 Barber Supply and Uniquely Lo. Co. artisan furniture store and studio — over the past several months.
“I fell in love with this mall,” said Crystal McGettigan, owner of Charmed Rose Creations. “It’s clean, and everyone’s friendly — the customers, shop owners, everyone.”
Charmed Rose, which opened April 26 next to Yocco’s, offers greeting cards, gift wrapping, balloons, candy, toys, seasonal decor and more.
McGettigan, of Lansdale, sells her handmade items, including jewelry, travel bags and pet bandanas, along with other locally made pieces such as cloth-wrapped baskets. She also offers custom centerpieces, party favors and other items for events. Info: 484-891-0599.
Shop 610 Barber Supply, offering barber items such as hair clippers, brushes, mirrors and disinfectant, is the mall’s newest tenant, opening Monday next to Eyebrow Threading.
Tarell Moultrie and his fiance, Carmen Rodriguez, cut and style hair professionally and got the idea to open a barber supply business after struggling to find such products locally.
“There are a lot of beauty shops around, but not really any places to get barber supplies,” Moultrie said.
The shop, which also sells capes, razors, shears and premium hair care products such as hairspray and shave gel, caters to barbers and student barbers, but “everyone is welcome” to patronize the shop, Rodriguez said.
“A lot of times when a barber uses a certain premium product on their client, the client wants to purchase it, but it’s not available,” she said. “So, we’re carrying some of those more unique items.” Info: instagram.com/shop610.barbersupply.
Next door to Shop 610 Barber Supply is Gold Drip Jewelry, which opened about a month ago near the mall’s main entrance, manager Ralphie Nunez said.
The store offers men’s and women’s jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. Customers can shop 14-karat gold pieces as well as diamond engagement rings.
“We also handle custom pieces,” Nunez said. Info: instagram.com/golddripjewelry.
Another store helping people look their best is Elay’s Outlet, which opened in late November.
Elay’s carries primarily women’s fashions, including blouses, jeans and dresses, but it is starting to bring in more children’s and men’s styles, owner Laysa Herrera said.
Customers can shop discounted summer selections, such as shorts, swimsuits and flip-flops, along with vintage styles, such as 1950′s polka-dot dresses.
“I try to cater to all tastes and sizes, including plus-size,” Herrera said. Info: 646-541-3344.
Uniquely Lo. Co., offering restored chairs, dressers and other furniture, originally opened in April in the former Getrude Hawk Chocolates space before expanding in July to a second storefront, featuring a gallery of completed pieces and space for do-it-yourself classes, across the hallway.
Husband and wife owners Juan and Dawn Lopez restore furniture that customers bring in to them as well as pieces that they obtain on their own via estate sales, thrift shops and more.
They operate the business with their children, Nathaniel and Izabella.
“The business actually started in 2019 as a result of my son, who goes to LCTI for carpentry,” Juan said. “His one assignment was to make something with a parent. So, we took apart a pallet, cleaned it up and put some hooks on it to make a coffee mug holder. We eventually started finding furniture and got even more creative.”
Uniquely Lo. Co. offers custom-painted and -engraved pieces, along with hand-made items such as decoupage, macrame and stained glass creations, from nearly a dozen consignors. Customers also can shop a full line of Dixie Bell Paint Company paint. Info: 610-333-2075.
Lastly, Salisbury Youth Association, a volunteer-run organization that’s been in operation for about 40 years, in early April moved into the former Foot Locker space.
The group’s been using the location primarily as a meeting place and storage facility for sporting goods and uniforms, but it plans to establish regular hours for retail operations — selling Salisbury Falcons-emblazoned apparel, blankets, hats, spirit accessories and more — in the coming weeks, SYA president Daniel Soria said.
“Our association didn’t really have a centralized place of operation,” Soria explained. “We had an address where our official correspondences would be sent, we were meeting out of a fire house and we were storing sports equipment and uniforms in our garages. So, we made a decision to find a home base.” Info: syasports.net.
South Mall, which still has vacant anchor spaces that once housed The Bon-Ton and Stein Mart department stores, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Info: shopsouthmall.com.
Moving from one group of retailers to another, a trio of new businesses are breathing new life into a renovated building in downtown Allentown.
Bare Beauty Bar and The Comb Over Barbershop recently opened at 735 W. Linden St., while another business — Krave 2 Taste smoothie and frappe shop — is set to open within the next few weeks.
Bare Beauty Bar, offering facials, body contouring and other esthetic services, opened July 3 in Suite C, owner Chely Cuesta said.
The business, with three client rooms, offers radio frequency skin tightening, cool sculpting, butt lifts, waxing, teeth whitening and more.
One of the business’ most popular services is laser lipo, which uses non-invasive laser technology to remove fat from under the skin, Cuesta said. The procedure helps to give clients more defined figures. Info: 610-457-3393.
The Comb Over, which opened about five months ago in Suite B, offers men’s, women’s and children’s hair-cutting and styling services.
The full-service barbershop, featuring an industrial look with exposed brick walls, employs more than a half dozen experienced barbers.
“If you’re looking for a sharp cut, we got you covered,” barber Elliot “Chino” Rivera said. “We can handle all hair types and styles.”
The barbershop is owned by Geovany Elias, whose family operates the popular Elias Market at Front and Tilghman in Allentown. Info: instagram.com/thecomboverallentown.
Lastly, Krave 2 Taste is expected to open in early September in Suite A, owner Elizmarie Lopez said.
The shop will be a second location of the business, which originated as a kiosk at the Lehigh Valley Mall in 2019. In March, Lopez moved operations from the kiosk to a permanent lower level location at the mall, near Barnes & Noble.
Krave 2 Taste offers a dozen holistic smoothies, including “Brain Focus,” featuring strawberry, mango, walnuts, ashwagandha and chia seeds.
Customers also can choose from about a dozen regular fruit smoothies, such as “Caribbean Passion” (mango, passion fruit and coconut), and various Puerto Rican-style frappes, made with fresh fruit, whipped cream and candy. Info: facebook.com/krave2taste.
One more update in Center City Allentown: Bacon Bagels, which opened in February 2019 at 2241 MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township, is expected to move in early September to 239 N. Fourth St., less than a block away from Central Catholic High School and St. Luke’s Hospital – Sacred Heart Campus, according to owner Leo Martin.
The new location, dubbed Bacon Bagels & 4th Street Tacos, will feature a separate menu of signature tacos and nachos alongside its bagel sandwiches and other popular selections from its former location.
Martin had originally hoped to reopen the eatery in spring 2020 but was delayed to the pandemic. Family health issues further pushed back the business’ reopening earlier this year.
The new location, which will offer take-out and catering only, will operate out of a renovated space that previously housed other eateries, including Southern Kitchen Soul Food Restaurant.
The business will continue to offer New York kettle-boiled bagels, along with a condensed sandwich menu featuring customer favorites like the Blue Ribbon Cheesesteak. Info: 610-433-8333.
From bagels to baked goods, Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet, at 2441 W. Emmaus Ave. in Allentown, is scheduled to close Sept. 24, according to signs in the storefront.
The shop, open Tuesday through Saturday, has been in operation for 24 years, according to an employee, who couldn’t comment further on the business’ upcoming closure.
Entenmann’s, selling crumb cakes, doughnuts, Little Bites muffins and more, was founded by German immigrant and baker William Entenmann in Brooklyn in 1898.
The company is now under the umbrella of Mexican-headquartered Grupo Bimbo, which also owns other popular food brands like Arnold, Boboli, Maier’s, Sara Lee, Stroehmann and Thomas’. Customers of the Allentown outlet can purchase items from these other brands as well.
Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU), the American corporate arm of Grupo Bimbo, did not directly answer some of my emailed questions, including what prompted the company’s decision to close the Allentown bakery outlet. Instead, it provided a more general written statement:
“… We will redistribute products to other locations in the area,” the statement read. “Our consumers can still enjoy all their favorite baked goods and are encouraged to use our outlet locator to find their nearest location. All associates who worked at the Allentown outlet have been directed to other employment opportunities at Bimbo Bakeries USA.”
Lastly, discount retailer Big Lots held a grand opening of its relocated Phillipsburg area store on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 1202 New Brunswick Ave. in Greenwich Township, according to a news release.
The Greenwich Center store, which recently held a soft opening, occupies a more than 33,000-square-foot space that once housed Best Buy until its closure in November 2019.
Big Lots, which previously operated a store at 755 Memorial Parkway in Lopatcong Township, offers “an array of amazing deals and surprising finds on everything for the home,” including Big Lots exclusive brands such as Broyhill furniture, plus products from national brands and private labels, according to the release.
Retail Watch, appearing every weekend, keeps track of retail and restaurant news in the Lehigh Valley. Contact Ryan Kneller at 610-820-6597 or [email protected].