Reports of retailers closing shop, losing business to online sales, is all too common.
The trend in Erie appears to be the opposite, with new business bringing customers back to some long-vacant shopping centers.
For years the West Erie Plaza appeared to be dying a slow death as store after store pulled out, leaving a dated shell behind. But, a major redesign and a few Erie entrepreneurs willing to take a risk, the plaza is alive again. Allison Gorman, Owner of E. Lane Boutique, tells us, "it's turned out wonderful; as the stores are coming in, it's wonderful to have neighbors"
New neighbors continue to fill store fronts in the plaza, including Icing on the Lake, a successful bakery for years in Erie, making the move and taking a chance; a chance that is paying off. Heidi Fette of Icing on the Lake, tells us, "It's been a game changer. I've hired so many people; it's unbelievable. Never did I think it would be this busy... a good busy..."
On the east side, a similar story at the Grandview Plaza. Long-vacant properties with two new additions: Get Air and the U-Haul in the former K-mart. The parking lot is full for the first time in years; a regular sight now at Grandview Plaza. And, area kids and their parents jumping for joy inside with the new Get Air trampoline park in a repurposed, vacant grocery store space.
Erica Kaliszewski, Parent, tells us, "I think it's a wonderful thing they're doing to be revitalizing the empty space".
Joe Hatcher, General Manager of Get Air, says, "so, when they hype started that we were coming in here probably about six months ago, we started to see more traffic than when we opened for a couple of weeks and no weekends. The parking lot is full and that's really helped the plaza out".
Bringing life back to the plazas, making it easier for consumers to shop close to home and shop local. Pet Supplies Plus just opened in West Erie Plaza, along with a planned Planet Fitness and The Cork restaurant. And, of course, at the Millcreek Mall, Boscov's opening next month in the old Sears sapce.
So, Erie bucking the trend for now.
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