Member Spotlight: Lebanon Valley Mall
09/09/2015 09:07 AM
“There’s an opinion that malls are a dying breed,” Michelle Tuscano, director of marketing for the Lebanon Valley Mall, stated, “and that people are moving more toward strip malls or lifestyle shopping centers. That will change – People don’t want to shop outside in the rain and snow. Strip malls are just easier for builders; now you see some of them just vacant.”
And by the looks of things, the Lebanon Valley Mall isn’t transitioning to a strip mall anytime soon. Originally founded in 1975, the mall celebrates its 40th anniversary this September. The mall also boasts a 97% occupancy rate, something which Tuscano said is “unheard of” nowadays.
Tuscano explained that the majority of the mall’s tenants are permanent residents, such as Boscov’s, Victoria’s Secret, Maurices, Payless, etc. PriceRite and Planet Fitness were also recently added to the mall’s directory. However, there are also temporary tenants whose contracts are renewed on a yearly basis.
“We have a couple new tenants,” Tuscano said. “Gannet Rock Bakery is beside Mancino’s Pizza. Some temp tenants come to me, and I also canvas the area. The mall business is a small community, so you can get wind of who’s interested.”
Tuscano is always cognizant of the types of stores that she has at the mall, stating that they are “too small of a mall to compete.” For example, with Gannet Rock Bakery now at the mall, Tuscano won’t look for another tenant bakery. However, Tuscano did say that they’re always looking for as many clothing retailers as possible.
Because the Lebanon Valley Mall is on the smaller side, Tuscano said that she is able to build closer relationships with her tenants and easily help them. It also makes it easier for the Lebanon Valley Mall to be more involved in and connected to the local community.
Tuscano offers space at the mall for free to local church groups and non-profit organizations that may be interested in having a table and displaying information. The groups are typically placed by the large fountain located right outside of Boscov’s where a good amount of traffic passes. Upcoming groups that will be at the mall this fall include Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County, the United Way of Lebanon County, and Conquer Cancer.
The Lebanon Valley Mall also has a number of its own, fun and exciting events that it offers for the community. The annual Malloween is held in October. This free event allows children from the community to go trick-or-treating from store to store. The Northern Lebanon Police Department supplies most of the candy, and nearly 500 families come every year.
November and December are reserved for Santa Clause and Christmas festivities, and in February the Boy Scouts take over the mall as the individual troops compete with one another and camp inside for a sleepover. Towards the end of March/beginning of April, the mall hosts Family Fun Day. All local daycares and children’s centers from the area are invited to attend, as well as the local libraries and other organizations. The highlight of Family Fun Day is the much anticipated Diaper Derby. Lastly, the Lebanon Idol competition takes place in April/May.
Though the mall does have a number of staple stores and events, Tuscano has seen some changes in the mall industry over the years.
“The targeted shopper these days is the 25-55 female,” Tuscano explained. “Having the grocery store helped that trend to stay. Some people just like to walk around with their kids.”
Tuscano has also noticed that Boscov’s seems to be attempting to lower their demographics by focusing on their juniors section, which is helping the Lebanon Valley Mall appeal to younger shoppers as well.
Tuscano has been employed at the mall for approximately three years. Her favorite part of her job is working with her tenants and helping all of the small businesses coming into the mall.
“I always send them down to the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce,” Tuscano said, “and tell them to go there for help, too.”
The mall has a staff of approximately 20 individuals, including custodial personnel and security officers. Only a handful of these employees comprise the office staff, which includes Tuscano; Jeff Hayle, the operations manager; Erin Hemperly, the office manager; and Annie Kissinger, the administrative assistant.
The Lebanon Valley Mall is in the midst of planning special celebrations for their 40th anniversary. While she couldn’t reveal too many details just yet, Tuscano said that she hopes to have a few “special appearances.” They will also have a large birthday cake made by Gannet Rock Bakery and Al Boscov, the owner of Boscov’s, will blow out the candles.
For more details on these and more events at the Lebanon Valley Mall, check out their website at www.lebanonvalleymall.com. Any non-profit or community organizations interested in possibly partnering with the mall can contact Michelle Tuscano at 717-274-2564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.