Carbon Plaza Mall, Lehighton, PA: Adapting to Modern Retail

Initial Development and Opening (1972-1980s)

Carbon Plaza Mall, located in Mahoning Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, opened its doors in 1972. The mall’s initial development featured various retail outlets to serve the local community.

One of the first major stores was Bright’s Department Store, which moved to the mall in 1976. This move marked a crucial development phase for the mall, attracting more shoppers and retailers.

In 1983, Laneco acquired Bright’s Department Store, further cementing the mall’s status as a key retail destination. The acquisition was part of Laneco’s broader strategy to expand its regional presence. The store continued to operate under the Laneco brand, contributing to the mall’s retail diversity.

Throughout the 1980s, Carbon Plaza Mall saw various changes and expansions. The mall’s retail mix included a variety of stores offering different products and services, catering to shoppers’ diverse needs.

Several smaller retailers and service providers were introduced during this period, enhancing the mall’s appeal to a broader audience.

By the end of the 1980s, Carbon Plaza Mall had established itself as a central shopping center near Jim Thorpe, PA.

The combination of anchor stores like Laneco and a variety of smaller retailers made it a convenient destination for residents seeking things to do in Lehighton, PA. The mall’s development during this period laid the foundation for its future growth and evolution.

Expansion and Changes (1990s)

In the 1990s, Carbon Plaza Mall experienced growth and diversification. 1993, Laneco remodeled to update its facilities and better serve the local community. The renovation aimed to modernize the mall and attract more shoppers.

In December 1995, Mahoning Valley Cinema opened within the mall, occupying part of Bright’s Department Store’s previously used space.

This addition brought a new form of entertainment to the mall, making it a more attractive destination for families and moviegoers.

Big Lots, a discount retail store, opened in the mall in 1997, further expanding the variety of shopping options available.

This addition catered to budget-conscious consumers and increased foot traffic to the mall. Big Lots’ entry was part of a trend during this period when discount retailers became more popular.

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Carbon Plaza Mall
Carbon Plaza Mall

Ownership Changes and Retail Adjustments (1998-2010)

In January 1998, Carbon Dack Associates acquired Carbon Plaza Mall. This ownership change brought new management and strategic direction to the mall.

Several medical services were introduced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, enhancing the mall’s utility beyond traditional retail.

OAA Orthopaedic Specialists and Blue Mountain Health System established facilities in the mall.

In April 2010, Blue Mountain Health System opened a cardiac care unit, reflecting a growing trend of integrating healthcare services with retail spaces.

This addition provided residents with access to essential medical services within a convenient location.

In December 2011, Blue Mountain Health System closed its Health Works fitness center in the mall.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020)

In April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the temporary closure of Mahoning Valley Cinemas. The pandemic’s impact on public health and business operations influenced the decision not to reopen.

This closure marked a downturn in the mall’s activity as movie theaters were key attractions for visitors.

The pandemic affected various tenants within the mall, prompting changes in business operations. Retailers and service providers faced new challenges, including reduced foot traffic and increased safety protocols.

Some stores adapted by enhancing their online presence or modifying their services to comply with health guidelines.

Throughout 2020, the mall’s management worked to support tenants and maintain operations despite the pandemic’s disruptions.

This period was characterized by uncertainty and adaptation as businesses navigated the evolving public health crisis.

In early 2021, FunTime Cinemas announced plans to reopen the former Mahoning Valley Cinemas after conducting renovations. The announcement signaled efforts to recover from the pandemic’s impact.

Carbon Plaza Mall
Carbon Plaza Mall

Carbon Plaza Mall: Recent Developments

In November 2021, Larken Associates purchased Carbon Plaza Mall for $18 million. The acquisition aimed to revitalize the property and attract new tenants.

Following the purchase, several changes occurred at the mall. Mahoning Valley 8 theaters closed in September 2023, making way for a new Marshalls store.

Marshalls planned to open in the space previously occupied by the cinema, adding to the mall’s retail mix.

As of June 2024, Carbon Plaza Mall is a mixed-use shopping center in Lehighton, PA, featuring various stores and services for the local community.

The anchor tenants include Giant Supermarket and Big Lots, which draw regular customer traffic.

The mall houses several other retailers besides these anchors. Dollar Tree offers a range of household goods at affordable prices.

Rent-A-Center offers furniture, electronics, and appliances for lease or purchase, meeting the needs of many residents. Rite Aid is a key provider of pharmaceuticals and health-related products.

Renovations began in October 2023 to convert the former Mahoning Valley 8 theater space at Carbon Plaza Mall into a new Marshalls store.

Marshalls, an off-price department store chain owned by TJX Companies, will occupy this space after the theater closes in September 2023.

The store will offer various products, including clothing for men, women, and children, shoes, home goods, and gift items.

Marshalls, which operates over 1,000 stores across the United States, is anticipated to enhance the mall’s retail offerings upon its opening in the third quarter of 2024.

The mall also includes several fast-food outlets in its parking lot, offering shoppers convenient dining options. These outlets make the mall a convenient destination for shopping and dining.

Recent improvements and tenant changes reflect efforts to maintain the mall’s relevance in the current retail landscape.

The diverse mix of stores and services keeps Carbon Plaza Mall an essential part of the local economy.

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