Jonathan Heid's Commentary:

Posted December 3, 2005 (user submitted)

Since the loss of the Ames anchor store (circa 2002 / 2003), the Clearfield Mall has been rejuvenated somewhat since the August 2005 opening of an Ollie's store, in what used to be Ames. Surprisingly, this has brought all kinds of traffic to what is known as the Clearfield Small.

What used to be a record store (it might have been a National Record Mart or something, I'm not sure...and it went out probably around 1997 or 1998) later became a short-lived storage space, and since Spring 2005, is now a Goodwill store. Funny how a Goodwill Store and an Ollie's can bring in the bucks. But this *is* an economically-depressed area, and these stores are all the rage.

The Dollar General Store continues strong in what used to be the old Fashion Bug Plus. Outlining the main entrance to Dollar General are the original pink-mirrored arches that were the hallmark of FBP. As the other person noted, there is still a PA driver's license center and a liqour store, a well-run Radio Shack which has become the area's top retailer of cell phones, and, in the back hall, a converted 1980's Visions Of Video store that now houses a telemarketing operation (Progressive Business Publications). The original lettering for Visions of Video still hangs on the wall, and a small sign on the doors and venetian mini-blinds in the windows are the only indications that it is a different business.

Surprisingly, the JC Penney anchor is still at the opposite end of the new Ollie's, and does good sales, from all off-the-record accounts. I forgot to mention that there is also a GNC there. A Hallmark Store (which also seems to do well, and a seasonal gift shop (which offers nicely-priced seasonal merchandise) also are there. People also routinely take advantage of this mall's length to power-walk indoors in inclement weather. Older folk sit on the benches in the sun along the enclosed walkway. In one corner of the mall, an old "Kit" coin-operated kiddy ride (of that 80's David Hasselhoff show about the black Trans-Am with a brain) sits, looking rather forlorn and semi-abandoned. I don't know if it's operable.

This mall was *the* place to be in the 1970's and 1980's in this small town. As times progressed, the area became more economically depressed, youth moved out to seek bigger and better opportunities, and as the 90's commenced, the mall started demonstrating a decidedly beleaguered heartbeat. With the additon of Ollie's and the still-strong Radio Shack and Penneys, this mall has an execution stay for the time being. But it will be interesting to see what becomes of the place in another ten years.

Kevin Olmstead's Commentary:

Posted November 17, 2005 (user submitted June 14, 2004)

Clearfield Mall is near the Route 322 (Clearfield) exit off Interstate 80. It actually is more of a strip mall with an enclosed walkway, like Triphammer Mall in Ithaca, NY.

JCPenney anchors one end of the mall. I was unable to determine whether this store is among those slated by that company for closure.

The other end was anchored by Ames Department Store. It remains empty. An outparcel near the entrance also is empty. Based on discoloration of the bricks, I determined that there was once a delicatessen in the building, but it is too large a building to have only been a deli.

The inside of the mall was very desolate on a Sunday afternoon. My footsteps echoed in the corridor, which was lined with a number of gated empty storefronts. One was a record store. The name escapes me, but it is not one that I've seen in any other malls or shopping centers. Perhaps it was locally owned. There was some significant investment in signage, as it had a typical mall-type backlit sign above the locked glass doors at the entrance.

The state maintains two significant storefronts for a driver's license center and a liquor store (this is Pennsylvania). Another good-sized storefront houses a Dollar General. Other stores in operation include such standard fare as GNC, Radio Shack and a Hallmark Card store. There also was a seasonal gift shop.

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