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The Granite Run-Down Mall 

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The Granite Run Mall is now in a state of gloom.

What once was a vibrant shopping area in a quaint Philadelphia suburb, is now a desolate landscape.

Storefronts that were staples at the Granite Run Mall, are now nothing but empty rooms.  Looking at all of the boarded up storefronts reminds you of what the Granite Run Mall once was:  a consumer’s paradise.  The Granite Run Mall was two floors of shops, department stores, restaurants, etc.  If you were looking to buy something, anything, you could find it at the Granite Run Mall.  What has happened?

The plans for the future of the mall have been kept very quiet.  In the fall of 2013, Middletown Township revealed sketches at its council meeting of the possible path the mall will follow.  In these sketches, the three major department stores, J.C. Penny, Boscovs and Sears, will remain standing.  Everything else, however, will be demolished.

Rumors are the just that, rumors.

“We would like to stay open through the holidays.” JP, an employee at Master Cuts said.  “I heard they are planning on having a lot of outdoor shopping and will build multiple luxury living apartments for citizens that are 55 years of age and older.”

It does appear as if the Granite Run Mall is heading in a different direction.

The existing businesses in the mall are the ones that are affected the most by lack of foot traffic.  When opening a business inside a building like the Granite Run Mall, one would expect the high price of rent to be counteracted by consumer awareness of your business.  That is no longer the case.

“We have to be the draw for our customers,” Jim Vankoski, manager of The Mickey Vernon Sports History Museum, said.  “We can no longer rely on the mall bringing us the business.”

The museum opened in March of 2013 as a non-profit museum with a focus of famous Delaware County athletes.  Since it is a non-profit, they measure the success of their museum by visitors on a monthly basis.  In the year and a half that they have been open, they have seen the number of visitors drop by close to 50-percent.  In June of 2013, the museum counted 404 people through its door.  In June of 2014, that number dropped to 232.

“Traffic is down because as stores shut their doors, there is less reason to visit the mall,” Vanksoki said.  “I do believe that business will pick up during the holidays, but it’s not a guarantee.”

To keep the museum afloat, Vankoski must take matters into his own hands and plan different events such as athlete visits and sports appraisals.  Next month, Vankoski will be holding the “Athletes of Authors” exhibit in order to draw people to the museum.  The exhibit will be open by mid-October and be held inside the Mickey Vernon Sports History Museum.

Until plans are finalized, no one knows exactly what is going to happen with the Granite Run Mall.  One thing is for sure: things will be looking a little bit different then what residents are accustomed to.

Lion’s Eye Staff Writer

James Berridge, jrb1055@psu.edu

 

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