Macy’s Remodeling Project Under Way

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – By the time the holiday shopping season arrives, visitors to the Ohio Valley Mall should find both a brand new Boscov’s department store and a remodeled Macy’s.

For the first time since the 100,000-square-foot Macy’s site opened as a Kaufmann’s store in 1979, the mall retail outlet will receive a “full store refresh,” according to Macy’s information. The project is ongoing, with the middle part of the store closed off for work to take place.

Plans call for new flooring, wall treatments, paint and additional lighting. The aisles will be reconfigured to improve flow and sight lines.

Company information states that Macy’s customers will be able to enjoy a full range of apparel and accessories for women, men and children as well as housewares, home textiles and luggage.

“There is a lot of activity now. It is an exciting time,” said Joe Bell, director of corporate communications for the Cafaro Co., which owns the Ohio Valley Mall. “We have a lot of things going on.”

Over the last year, Cafaro officials installed a new main entrance, carpeted floors and skylighting through the concourse. Other pending improvements include better signage and restrooms, repaving of parking areas, improved landscaping and lighting upgrades.

Cafaro officials have also recognized the economic growth potential Belmont County has because of the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas rush. As local property owners gain lease money and royalty payments and others get jobs in the industry, there is sure to be more commerce conducted throughout the local area, they believe.

Down the hall from Macy’s, work continues on transforming the space once occupied by J.C. Penney into 180,000 square feet of retail space for Boscov’s. The center is expected to house a community auditorium, where entertainers, fashion shows and other events will be hosted. The store will employ about 300 people.

There are 41 Boscov’s stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, but this one will be the company’s initial foray into Ohio.

To make room for Boscov’s, other mall retailers have been on the move. Recently, the Shoe Department opened in its new location in the spots formerly occupied by GAP and Baby GAP.

BAM, or Books-a-Million, moved into its new location just across the hall and closer to Sears. BAM was the final store that occupied the corner spot near J.C. Penney that originally was home to Waldenbooks.

Now, BAM has more than three times the space of its previous location and its inventory and offerings have increased accordingly.

Across the walkway, renovations are ongoing to bring the most recently announced new merchant, MC Sports, to the mall. Victoria’s Secret also has a new location in the Sears concourse.

The Sears at the south end of the center is one of very few original stores remaining from when the mall opened in the late 1970s, while the Kmart at the north end has been in place since replacing Montgomery Ward in 1983.

Other current anchor stores are Elder-Beerman, which bought out Stone & Thomas in the late 1990s, and Crafts 2000, which operates in the space once home to L.S. Good’s, Stone & Thomas, Burlington Coat Factory and Steve & Barry’s.

Once J.C. Penney moved to The Highlands in Triadelphia in late 2007, some local residents believed stores like Sears and Macy’s would soon follow. However, they have remained at the mall thus far.