Millcreek Mall: A Shopper’s Paradise Just Outside Erie, Pennsylvania
The Millcreek Mall Complex, located 3.4 miles southwest of downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, is a shopper’s paradise that attracts visitors from neighboring states and Canada.
Built by the Youngstown, Ohio-based Cafaro Company, the mall is currently the second largest in Pennsylvania and the fourteenth largest in the United States, according to industry sources.
The mall opened on November 9, 1975, and has been a fixture of the region’s retail landscape ever since. With 165 stores, the mall houses a variety of national and local brands, ranging from fashion and electronics to home goods and sporting equipment.
The physical mall proper offers 121 store spaces and 12 kiosks, while the larger complex area includes 165 stores and restaurants.
Three major department stores anchor the mall: Boscov’s, JCPenney, and Macy’s. These retailers and other popular brands draw in shoppers from near and far.
One of the mall’s major selling points is Pennsylvania’s lack of sales tax on clothing, which makes it an attractive destination for shoppers from neighboring Ohio and New York.
Beyond its stores, the Millcreek Mall Complex offers a range of dining options and entertainment. The mall features a food court with a variety of cuisines, as well as numerous restaurants located throughout the complex.
In addition, the mall hosts events throughout the year, including concerts, seasonal festivals, and other family-friendly activities.
As of 2023, the Millcreek Mall remains a beloved destination for shoppers in the Erie region and beyond. Its vast selection of stores, restaurants, and entertainment makes it a must-visit location for those seeking a shopping experience.
|Location||5800 Peach St, Erie, PA 16565|
|Total retail space||2,200,000 square feet|
|Number of stores||165|
|Anchors||Macy’s, JCPenney, Boscov’s, Round One Entertainment|
|Annual Visitors||12 million|
“The Promenade” at the mall: A History of Anchor Stores and Changing Times
The mall has seen many changes as one of the city’s most prominent shopping destinations. In its early days, the mall boasted anchor stores such as JCPenney, Kaufmann’s, Boston Store, Halle’s, Carlisle’s, and Sears, which played an essential role in its success. However, as times changed, so did the stores that made up the mall’s anchor lineup.
In 1979, Boston Store became Horne’s, only to be rebranded as Lazarus in 1994. However, this anchor closed its doors in 1997, marking the end of an era. Similarly, Halle’s transformed and later became Dahlkemper’s catalog showroom, which shut down in 1993. Burlington Coat Factory then took over the space.
HomePlace occupied the former Carlisle’s location after Carlisle’s closed in 1995, and Elder-Beerman took over the former Lazarus in 1998. However, five years later, Elder-Beerman was converted to The Bon-Ton. When HomePlace closed, its space was divided between Steve & Barry’s and AC Moore. Unfortunately, the former closed in 2009, leaving the space vacant.
In September 2006, Kaufmann’s was converted to Macy’s, and Burlington Coat Factory moved out of the mall in late 2012. However, in 2014, the space that Burlington once occupied was split into six areas, with Primanti Brothers, a Mad Mex restaurant, a Round One Entertainment arcade, and a Guitar Center moving in.
The area of the mall was also renamed “The Promenade,” and it has its entrance, adding to its allure. As shoppers flock to the mall, they can appreciate the changes over the years and the stores that have come and gone. The mall has come a long way since its opening and continues evolving to keep up with the times.
Controversial Design of Millcreek Mall and Multimillion-Dollar Renovation in 2008
The Millcreek Mall has been controversial for years due to its unique design. When viewed from above, the mall’s layout resembles a gun pointed directly at downtown Erie, a feature that has sparked urban legends claiming the mafia intentionally directed the mall’s construction.
In 2008, the Millcreek Mall underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to modernize the structure while retaining its distinctive shape. In addition, the renovation introduced a host of new additions, including a state-of-the-art children’s area, a revamped food court, and newly renovated entrances to the building.
Among the most striking changes to the mall was the installation of skylights, which flooded the interior with natural light, and the sleek porcelain floors that added a touch of elegance to the mall’s decor. In addition, a new west-side entrance and updated parking lot lights enhanced the mall’s appearance and functionality.
The food court was the last addition to be completed, opening its doors to the public in late 2008. The upgraded Millcreek Mall stood as a testament to the power of renovation, bringing new life to a controversial design while honoring its unique history.
Millcreek Mall: Recent Changes, Additions, and Challenges
On October 5, 2017, Boscov’s department store opened its doors in the former Sears location, adding a fresh touch to the mall’s ever-evolving landscape.
Two weeks later, on October 18, 2017, it was announced that Round One Entertainment would join the mall, bringing an exciting array of arcade games, bowling, and karaoke. The addition was completed in the summer of 2018 and was met with enthusiasm from residents.
However, not all changes to the Millcreek Mall have been positive. On January 31, 2018, The Bon-Ton, a regional department store chain, announced it would be closing its location within the mall. The news was met with disappointment from loyal customers, who had relied on the store for its wide selection of fashion, beauty, and home goods.
The mall was hit with another significant challenge on September 18, 2022, when a massive fight broke out among juveniles in the Macy’s food court wing. The altercation escalated to the point where a shot was fired into the ceiling, prompting the mall to lock down.
The individuals involved were charged, and the mall’s management began working on measures to prevent such crimes from happening again.
In the face of these challenges, the Millcreek Mall has continued to push forward. For example, in February 2023, it was announced that Dick’s Sporting Goods would be moving into the space formerly occupied by The Bon-Ton in Millcreek Mall’s main building.
The addition of the famous sporting goods store is sure to attract a new crowd of shoppers, solidifying the mall’s place as a hub of commerce and entertainment in the Erie area.