EDDC announces new tenants for the State Street block
For decades, retailers have been slowly retreating from the State Street business district in Erie.
Some losses were significant, such as the Boston Store in 1979 and the Erie Sport Store in 2011.
Others affected fewer employees but were deeply felt, including the loss of L. Press and Co. in 2012 and the final days of Fisher Jewelers and American Surplus in 2017.
Together, they represent the drip of erosive change as businesses shut their doors, move out of town, or hit the internet.
Erie Downtown Development Corp., launched in 2017 with a mission to bring people, activities and new businesses to downtown Erie, does not expect to reverse these years of erosion overnight. .
But the group hopes to make a splash later this year by welcoming a block full of new retailers and businesses to newly renovated spaces in the 400 block of State Street.
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EDDC is set to announce today a group of new tenants that will include four clothing retailers and space for a rotating distribution of pop-up stores. Most are scheduled to open on or before Small Business on Saturday, November 27.
The buildings, purchased in 2019 for $ 1.8 million, are part of a renovation project that includes 14 new apartments on upper floors, valued at around $ 10 million, said Matt Wachter, vice president of finance and development of EDDC.
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EDDC calls the retail project The Shops at Fifth & State. Tenants include:
?? Erie Apparel, owned by Greg Straub. The retailer, which has locations in the Millcreek Mall and Schaal Plaza on West 12th St., sells Erie-themed t-shirts and clothing.
Straub said he would only open the downtown location after the mall store closes at the end of the year.
The downtown location appears to be a better fit, Straub said.
“Our whole brand is hyperlocalized,” he said. “To be honest, the downtown project was pretty exciting. We wanted to be there while everything is being built.
Erie Apparel will be moving to the former Lucky’s Food Mart at 431 State St.
Like the rest of the block, the interior of the building was gutted and massive new windows were installed, Persinger said.
♦ Pointe Foure, property of Emily George: The company, now located at 2508 Peach St., opened in 2013, is described as a “glamorous local boutique”.
George said his current plan was to continue operating Pointe Foure on Peach Street as well.
George, who has been in talks with EDDC for about two years, said she was excited to work with EDDC, which is redeveloping buildings along North Park Row for a food hall and a fresh produce market and has opened new buildings on the site of the old McDonald’s restaurant at 430 State St.
“I’ve always loved the history of downtown retail and the Boston store,” said George. “I really want to relive that feeling and that life with downtown retail.”
The new store, located in a renovated space once occupied by the Erie Art Museum Frame Shop at 423 State Street, will be a variation of its location on Peach Street, George said.
“This is where vintage meets modern,” she said. “There are going to be more durable and greener pieces, not just vintage.”
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?? Primo Tailoring, owned by Louis Geramita: Geramita, who worked for several years as a tailor at Isaac Baker Menswear in Erie, plans to offer bespoke clothing for men and women as well as a selection of men’s clothing.
24-year-old from Pittsburgh, Geramita came to Erie six years ago and started her own business a year ago from the Performing Arts Collective Alliance at 1505 State St.
Geramita offers her service both in person and on a virtual basis, giving customers the ability to consult and measure themselves via video call before sending their clothes in for alterations.
Geramita, who will move into a 1,500 square foot space in November, said he was excited about the business.
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“I believe so much in this area and it is going to be essential for the development of Erie as a city,” he said.
♦ She Vintage, owned by Alexandria Ellis: Ellis has worked for years in visual marketing for a number of national companies, including Forever 21. She opened She Vintage, a nail salon and vintage clothing store, in 2019 at 3014 Peach St.
Its downtown location is described as a boutique and beauty bar with an emphasis on vintage clothing.
Ellis will play another role.
Persinger said she will organize and coordinate the pop-up businesses coming in and out of the historic Cashier’s House at 417 State St.
The renovations planned for this building include a commercial kitchen, allowing start-up restaurants to use some of the space, Persinger said.
Subway at 425 State St. and Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. Fifth St. are also included in The Shops at Fifth and State. The gallery, which opened in 1974, was sold in 2020 to Emily Ernes.
The market forces that plagued downtown retail years ago have not gone away. But Nicole Reitzell, vice president of community engagement and social impact for EDDC, said she believes The Shops at Fifth & State can be successful by offering something different.
“We can’t compete with Amazon, but we’ve found people who want to create a really interesting experience,” she said.