Tuesday will be last day for Bon-Ton at Berkshire Mall

Store will close its doors at 5 p.m.

WYOMISSING, Pa. - Tuesday will bring the end of an era for the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing.

The Bon-Ton store, one of the mall's three anchor tenants, is set to close its doors at 5 p.m., according to mall management.

"We are disappointed to see Bon-Ton closing its store tomorrow after being a great long-term tenant of the Berkshire Mall," said Ellen Smoll, the mall's general manager. "It's sad to see the employees leave who have worked here for many years "

The closure comes about four months after York-based Bon-Ton's announcement in April that it would be going out of business and closing its more than 200 stores across the country this year.

"I was surprised that they were going out of business," said Catherine Morganti of Adamstown. "I was shocked. I thought they were doing a lot better than they were."

"Obviously, we share everybody's disappointment, but it is what's happening in retail these days," said Wyomissing Mayor Fred Levering.

Bon-Ton's presence at the Berkshire Mall began in 1987, with its purchase of the Pomeroy's department store chain, which was founded in Reading in 1876.

"It was a nice store," said Everett Berkel of Mt. Penn. "When I was a child, they were in Reading, so we used to go there. Then, they moved here to the mall.

The downtown store at Sixth and Penn streets closed in 1985.

Berkshire Mall management is now working to find a tenant or tenants to occupy Bon-Ton's nearly 160,000 square feet of space as it moves forward with an overall plan to redevelop the 46-year-old mall.

"We must change to satisfy the retail needs of the community," Smoll told 69 News on Monday. "As we work through the redevelopment, we will share those plans as they become available. We are working diligently on real estate transactions with future tenants, however, it takes time to finalize."

The mayor said he has some ideas.

"I think the opportunity to add other things like offices, apartments above retail, so mixing residential in, free-standing restaurants, all those kinds of things," Levering said.

Sears and Berks County-based Boscov's remain as the mall's other anchor stores.

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