There won’t be any fanfare or ribbon cutting ceremonies because of COVID-19, but Shenango Valley and New Castle-area residents can still celebrate the opening of two new retail stores.
Gabe’s, a discounted apparel, home, travel, and footwear retailer, are opening its doors to customers, with new stores in the Hermitage Towne Plaza on East State Street in Hermitage and in the Union Plaza along U.S. Route 224 at Interstate 376 in Union Township, Lawrence County.
The Hermitage store fills the southern half of the former Kmart department store, which has been vacant since 2018. Big Lots expanded its operations in the plaza into the other half of the Kmart building last year. Pittsburgh developer J.J. Gumberg owns the plaza.
The New Castle store will occupy a 56,700-square-foot retail space next to Dunham’s sporting goods in the Union Plaza, said the shopping center’s owner, Dick McClure of the McClure Co. in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The stand-alone building formerly housed the Hills, then Ames department stores. The space has been empty for about 10 years while his development company was marketing it.
According to a company news release, Gabe’s, is headquartered in Morgantown, W.Va., and features global and mall brand merchandise and departments that include clothing for men, women, and children, workwear, footwear, toys and games, tech, home and garden and kitchen. The store carries essential items such as face masks, baby and pet gear, cleaners and disinfectants. Layaway purchases will be available.
Previously, the closest Gabe’s locations were in Boardman and Niles, Ohio.
Founded in 1961 in Morgantown and formerly known as Gabriel Brothers, the privately owned company will now have 110 stores in Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. More openings are planned into 2020, according to the news release.
The stores offer shopper deals of up to 70 percent off department store prices. Gabe’s receives multiple shipments of stock weekly and offers different deals every day. Its merchandise is updated regularly, with new discounts daily.
McClure said that typically, a grand opening would have been planned, but because of the threat of the coronavirus, the store will just open as it usually would every day to limit the number of people congregating. He said he would not be making the trip for the occasion, for the same reason.
McClure, a New Castle native, said his company, a development and investment firm that has roots in New Castle, is continuing to market an empty building space in Neshannock Township that formerly housed Weingartner Florist, at Maitland Lane and Wilmington Road, a spot he calls “a prime location” for commercial development.
McClure’s property in Union Township also includes Dunham’s Sports, Aldi, Sheetz, Tractor Supply Inc. and the former Sears store and Sears Auto Center.
NOTE: This article and its headline have been edited to reflect that the Hermitage Gabe's store is already opened.