Berkshire Mall (Pennsylvania)
North entrance to Berkshire Mall
|Address||1665 State Hill Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610|
|Opening date||February 10, 1970|
|No. of anchor tenants||3|
|Total retail floor area||910,000 square feet (85,000 m2)|
|Public transit access||BARTA bus: 15, 16|
The Berkshire Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, a suburb to the west of Reading in Berks County. The Berkshire Mall is accessible from US 222/US 422 (Warren Street Bypass) at the Paper Mill Road interchange or the State Hill Road interchange. The main entrances to the mall are located along Woodland Road or State Hill Road. The mall first opened in February 1970.
Planning for the mall began in the late 1960s. Sears was announced to be the first major planned tenant in November 1967, to replace its nearby Shillington location which had opened in 1956. Construction got underway in 1968, with an "official" kickoff in November of that year. The mall opened in February 1970, and was the first enclosed shopping mall to open in eastern Pennsylvania outside of the Philadelphia area.
The mall's name is taken from the source of the name of Berks County, an abbreviation of the English royal county Berkshire. The old fountain in the center of the mall had been choreographed by local Reading company "Symphonic Fountains". An upper level food court, The Terrace Cafe, held its grand opening December 7-10, 1989. It replaced a Victorian themed mini-mall known simply as "Lamp Post Lane".
The original owner and developer of the mall was the Goodman Company, which sold the property to Equitable Real Estate Management in 1985. In July 2002, the mall was acquired by Allied Properties.
On the night of November 2, 2009, a fire broke out in a display window of the Victoria's Secret store. Before firefighters could arrive, the sprinkler system activated in the store and the adjacent hallway. The store suffered smoke and water damage; everyone was evacuated safely without any reported injuries. On April 14, 2010, there was a fire inside of Boscov's. A worker was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital for severe burns to the face. Firefighters had controlled the fire in 30 minutes.
On January 12, 2011 at 4:20 PM according to leaked security footage, a mall patron fell head first into the fountain in the Boscov's court due to being distracted because she was walking and text messaging at the same time. Days later the video uploaded to YouTube with titles such as "Girl Falls In Mall Fountain While Texting" went viral and received international news coverage. The "fountain lady" was later determined to be Cathy Cruz Marrero, who reportedly threatened legal action against the mall because nobody came to her aid after falling, however she never filed the lawsuit. As a result of this incident, the security guard who posted the video was fired.
On May 22, 2014, the mall was hit by an unusually severe spring thunderstorm. Golf ball-sized hail ripped through the ceiling causing interior damage by shattering skylights which left glass and debris covering walkways, plants and the fountain in the Sears court, while cars were dented and windshields smashed in the parking lot.
The current Boscov's was originally John Wanamaker from August 1970 (a few months after the mall opened) until the May Company acquired John Wanamaker and converted all John Wanamaker stores to Hecht's in 1995. In 1996 the May Company acquired another major Philadelphia department store chain, Strawbridge & Clothier. After that acquisition, the May Company converted all the Hecht's that had been John Wanamaker stores in southeast Pennsylvania, including at the Berkshire Mall, to Strawbridge's. In 2002 Strawbridge's decided to close their Berkshire Mall location and Boscov's took over, becoming the second mall location in Berks County of the Reading-based chain. The Bon-Ton was Lit Brothers from 1970 to 1975, and then Pomeroy's from 1975 until 1986.
Berkshire Mall West
The Berkshire Mall West is a strip plaza across Woodland Road from the Berkshire Mall. The "mall west" contains AC Moore, the only Premium PA Wine & Spirits Shoppe in Berks County, One Stop Beverage, TJ Maxx, Outback Steakhouse, Bank of America, and Berkshire Bank. There was a Circuit City until 2009, which closed after the chain folded. The former Circuit City store served as a Halloween Adventure for the 2009 season. The former Circuit City has reopened as hhgregg in 2010. Hhgregg is an Indianapolis-based retalier of consumer electronics and home appliances.
- (22 November 1968). Berkshire Mall Building Starts, Reading Eagle
- "Berkshire Mall". Allied Properties. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
- (26 November 1967). Sears Going to Berkshire Mall With Enlarged Store, Reading Eagle
- (25 October 1956). Sears, Roebuck Opens New Store on Lancaster Avenue, Reading Eagle
- (14 November 1969) This aerial view ..., Reading Eagle (aerial view of mall under construction in November 1969)
- (2 November 1985). No Real Changes Expected Due To Berkshire Mall Sale, Reading Eagle
- Andrews, Connie (19 February 1989). Sales up at Fairgrounds Square and Berkshire Mall in 1988, Reading Eagle
- (15 November 1989). Taste What's Coming To Town! (Advertisement for food court opening in December 1989), Reading Eagle
- (27 August 2002). Walkers dislike new Berkshire Mall schedule, Reading Eagle
- "Berkshire Mall evacuated after fire at Victoria's Secret". Reading Eagle. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- "Boscov's worker hurt in explosion released from burn center". Reading Eagle. 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "In deep water: Woman who fell into fountain while texting admits to spending thousands of dollars on stolen credit card". Mail Online. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Security Guard Fired For Sharing Mall Surveillance Video". WFMZ-TV. January 20, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "Berkshire Mall, hit hard by hail, reopens to shoppers". Allentown, PA: WFMZ-TV. May 23, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- (17 January 2002). Boscov's Moving to Berkshire, Reading Eagle
- "Allied May Buy Lits Store". Reading Eagle. October 19, 1975. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- Rosenburg, Joyce M. (March 6, 1988). "Retail takeover climate revitalized after slump". Reading Eagle. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
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