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Malll makeover a plus

Despite nearly constant reports that the retail industry has been struggling for the years, the Cafaro Co. is investing a lot of time and money in the Ohio Valley Mall.

Located just east of St. Clairsville along Interstate 70, the mall has been a hub of activity in Eastern Ohio for more than four decades. Many local residents grew up spending our Friday nights or Saturday afternoons – or both – at the mall. It has been, and should continue to be, an important aspect of life in the Upper Ohio Valley.

Certainly, the local mall has faced challenges. It has lost major retailers including J.C. Penney, Kmart, Elder-Beerman, hh gregg and, soon, Sears, which was the very first store to open at the site. But each time a store has closed, the mall’s parent company has found a business to replace it. That has meant thinking outside the box and occasionally securing a tenant that may not be a traditional mall occupant, but it has continued to attract patrons.

Today the mall is home to a Veterans Administration clinic and a sizeable arcade, in addition to dozens of restaurants and stores. You can still find plenty of clothes and shoes to choose from there, but you can also pick up a gift, stock your home with towels, sheets or candles, select a piece of jewelry or grab a bite to eat.

There is no word yet on what might fill the Sears space, where the store is set to close July 15, but the now-closed Pat Catan’s is being converted to a Michael’s craft store.

Last week, Cafaro announced that more changes are on the way to the mall. A new Dunham’s sporting goods store and a Hampton Inn & Suites taking shape to replace the former Kmart store, and the entire facility will get a facelift. Spokesman Joe Bell said fresh paint, carpet, tile and furnishings will spruce up the concourses while parking areas will be smoothed out and paved. A new entrance will make the mall more accessible for guests at the future hotel.

We commend the mall management for striving to ensure the facility will remain a vibrant, active part of community for years to come. We also urge readers to shop at the mall rather than buying online, since that, too, will help ensure the mall’s future.

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