Ohio Valley Mall rolls out new stores

More stores will open in the coming weeks

T-L Photo/JANELL HUNTER ABOVE: Sweet Treats by Carrie, a new specialty candy and ice cream shop at the Ohio Valley Mall, has an entire wall of Jelly Belly candies.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Ohio Valley Mall is seeing lots of changes with several new stores opening soon, an announcement of a new store coming into the mall in the spring of 2018, and news of one retail chain filing for bankruptcy protection.

Toys “R” Us Inc. decided to undergo a “financial restructuring” to mitigate debt and to compete in a market that has been changed by internet shopping habits and consumer tastes, the company stated last week. The Toys “R” Us store at the mall is expected to remain open as the company implements reforms.

“The Company’s approximately 1,600 Toys”R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores around the world – the vast majority of which are profitable – are continuing to operate as usual,” the company said in a statement. “The Company intends to use these court-supervised proceedings to restructure its outstanding debt and establish a sustainable capital structure that will enable it to invest in long-term growth and fuel its aspirations to bring play to kids everywhere and be a best friend to parents.”

Sweet Treats by Carrie, a specialty candy store in the mall right across from the Kidz Zone play area, opened its doors to the public on Sept. 12. Owner Carrie Brooks said she plans to have an official grand opening either the first or second weekend in October. The store employs six people and provides candy from suppliers such as Jelly Belly, Sarris Candies, Hershey’s and Taffy Town.

“Business is good, the location is great,” Brooks said. “We have an obsession with Jelly Belly, you could say. I think we have almost every single flavor of jellybean they make. And we have 44 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream. We have Sarris Candies because I used to live in Pittsburgh and my husband and I used to go to their factory in Canonsburg. We’re open, we invite the public to come in and get some candy and ice cream.”

Spirit Halloween opened inside the mall in late August and will remain open until Nov. 2 to accommodate costume needs for the popular holiday. During the days the store remains open after Oct. 31, everything in the store will be 50 percent off.

“Then we pack up and are gone until the next year,” said store manager Jen Steele.

The company is owned by Spencer’s Gifts, which also has a store at the Ohio Valley Mall. Steele said the store currently employs 20 associates and will be hiring more as the store gets busier closer to Halloween.

“We have everything Halloween,” Steele said. “Costumes from the Disney movie Hocus Pocus are really popular this year. We are sold out right now, but we will be getting more in stock. That is the hottest thing this year.”

Steele said that while it is open, the company does a “Spirit of Children” fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.

“We will be asking for donations for them from our customers, and we are sponsoring a zombie walk fundraiser here at the mall for them on Oct. 22,” Steele noted. “One hundred percent of the donations go to Child Life Departments at local hospitals.”

Levin Furniture & Mattress, which now occupies the building that was formerly hhgregg, is also planning on opening its doors within the next couple of weeks, as is Division One Donuts, which is located in a space between Great Clips and Huntington Bank. Levin Furniture & Mattress is a full-service furniture and mattress store that can also provide interior design services for hire, and Division One Donuts will specialize in made-to-order pastries in a setting that celebrates local and state sports.