Beaver Valley Mall in Monaca, PA: From Hepatitis A Outbreak to Thriving Shopping Center

A Rich History

Nestled in Monaca, Pennsylvania, the Beaver Valley Mall has been a shopping destination for Beaver County and the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area since 1970. Initially developed by the Cafaro Company, the mall’s first anchor tenants were Gimbels, The Joseph Horne Company, and Sears.

Throughout its history, the mall has experienced numerous changes, witnessing the arrival and departure of various stores in response to the evolving American retail landscape.

Early Days and Anchor Tenants

In 1986, facing a downward trend in sales, BATUS decided to put Gimbels up for sale. However, no one was interested in purchasing the entire chain, leading BATUS to shut down the Gimbels Pittsburgh division and sell or close all its locations.

The St. Louis-based May Department Stores Company took over some more appealing mall locations, like Beaver Valley Mall, for their Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann’s division. Unfortunately, this move led to the closure of the entire Gimbels Pittsburgh division.

The location at Beaver Valley was shut down and underwent a complete renovation before reopening as Kaufmann’s. Following the relocation to the mall, the original Kaufmann’s site in nearby Rochester was split into a Giant Eagle supermarket and a Kmart store.

Until 1995, The Joseph Horne Company, a New York City-based Associated Dry Goods Corporation subsidiary, operated in the Beaver Valley Mall. In October 1986, a merger occurred between The May Department Stores Company and Associated Dry Goods Corporation. Shortly after, May sold The Joseph Horne Company to local investors.

In 1995, Horne’s was acquired by Federated Department Stores, which subsequently rebranded all former locations under the Lazarus regional nameplate. After operating under the Lazarus nameplate for a few years, Federated decided to close several locations in 1998, including the store at Beaver Valley Mall. Following the closure, Boscov’s acquired the location and reopened it as one of their stores.

A New Era of Tenants

JCPenney moved into the mall in 1998, relocating from Northern Lights Shopping Center in nearby Economy due to Beaver County’s depressed and frequent flooding that the property owner would not address.

The new JCPenney location was built before the food court, becoming the mall’s fourth anchor. In 2007, Dick’s Sporting Goods joined the mall as the fifth anchor tenant, occupying a spot between JCPenney and Boscov’s.

However, the mall faced some challenges in the following years. Sears closed in June 2016, and Macy’s, which had replaced Kaufmann’s in 2006, shut its doors in March 2017. Fortunately, Rural King took over the former Sears location, holding a grand opening in March 2018.

In a surprising turn of events, JCPenney narrowly avoided closure in 2020 after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Beaver Valley Mall location was removed from the list of stores set to close, allowing it to remain open for business.

Current Anchors

  • Boscov’s (Former Lazarus/Joseph Horne Company)
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • JCPenney
  • Rural King (Former Sears)
  • U-Haul (Former Macy’s/Kaufmann’s/Gimbels)

Exciting Developments

In December 2022, the Performing Arts Legends Museum (PALM) announced plans to relocate to the Beaver Valley Mall by May or June 2023.

This exciting addition will showcase a collection of musical instruments, stage costumes, and other historical artifacts from local Beaver Valley and Pittsburgh area music legends, such as the Granati Brothers, B.E. Taylor, The Jaggerz, The Skyliners, Perry Como, The Marcels, Bobby Vinton, Henry Mancini, and The Vogues.

This move is expected to bring renewed excitement and energy to the mall, attracting music enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Mall Attractions and Services

The Beaver Valley Mall offers more than 35 stores and services, catering to a wide range of shoppers. In addition to its anchor tenants, the mall features a diverse mix of retail, dining, and entertainment options. The mall’s food court continues to be a popular gathering spot for visitors, offering a variety of cuisines to satisfy diverse tastes.

With over 4,390 parking spaces, the mall offers patrons a convenient and hassle-free experience. Moreover, the U-Haul storage center located within the mall provides additional services for those seeking storage solutions.

A Tragic Incident

In 2003, the Beaver Valley Mall gained nationwide attention as the site of the most significant hepatitis A outbreak in U.S. history. Over 660 people contracted the virus; four died after eating at Chi-Chi’s Mexican restaurant in the mall in October and November.

The outbreak was eventually traced back to imported scallions from Mexico. This unfortunate incident significantly impacted the mall’s food court tenants and closed all Chi-Chi’s locations. The mall has since taken measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its visitors.

A Lasting Legacy

The Beaver Valley Mall has persevered through various changes and challenges, providing a shopping destination for the people of Beaver County and the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area. With its current anchors, the upcoming addition of the Performing Arts Legends Museum, and diverse retail, dining, and entertainment options, the mall continues to be a vibrant and bustling center for the community.

As the dynamics of the retail world continue to shift, the Beaver Valley Mall remains a shining example of the adaptability and tenacity of local shopping centers. Through its many transformations, the mall has remained a cherished part of the community, offering a space for shopping, dining, and entertainment that locals can enjoy for years.

Avatar of Spencer Walsh

I'm Spencer Walsh, a professional traveler who loves to help people discover new places and learn about different cultures. I've traveled worldwide, from Europe to Asia and Africa to South America. My favorite thing about traveling is getting lost because it allows me to discover unexpected gems—finding a hidden museum or stumbling upon a beautiful park in the middle of the city.

Comments: 6
  1. Avatar of

    It’s very sad that Beaver Valley mall is dead and definitely not an exciting area to go. The museum idea is okay but we need activities for all ages here. Beaver Falls and Beaver Valley mall are very sad areas that need to be updated immediately.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the current state of Beaver Valley mall. It’s essential to have a community dialogue about revitalizing and enhancing the area for everyone’s benefit. Your idea of providing activities for all ages is a valuable perspective for future development plans.

  2. Avatar of Truth

    This mall is everything but thriving. Its a straight up s… hole. The food court is 2 mediocre shop and a chic fillet. Theres maybe 15 open stores to shop in. The mall consists of buisnesses looking for space not retail stores. Pa unemployment, u haul i think theres a small trade school located there, theres a planet fitness. Those are the types of store you can expect.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns about Beaver Valley Mall. Open dialogue is crucial for fostering change to create a more vibrant and thriving community.

  3. Avatar of Ted Murray
    Ted Murray

    I have never seen a mall purposely destroy itself like the management in Beaver Valley Mall has over the last 5 years. Unbelievable :sad:

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your observations about Beaver Valley Mall. It’s always valuable to hear different perspectives on management and the changes over time.

Add a comment

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: