Berkshire Mall; Wyomissing (Reading), Pennsylvania

Fountain in Sears court at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA

I know that I’m really keeping these posts coming fast and furious lately, but after I threw up my tome on the Fairgrounds Square Mall outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, I decided to follow it up with the other, better mall serving the Reading area: the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing.

While the Berkshire Mall is in some ways very typical of a mid-sized mall serving a mid-sized city, it’s stuck in something of a time warp. The decor inside isn’t the most exciting, but it is certainly interesting (and kind of shabby) just by virtue of the way it hasn’t received much attention. In the comment strand to Fairgrounds Square, one of our commenters (Bruce) noted that “It amazes me how bad Berkshire Mall looks, especially given its prime location in upscale Wyomissing. The exterior alone looks like a dead mall and its large sign out front is the worst of 70s ugliness. The owners really need to spruce up this property.”

’70s ugliness? You be the judge:

Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA, near Reading

I might have to agree.

Like with Fairgrounds Square, I wasn’t able to find much online about the Berkshire Mall. I do know that the Boscov’s seen in these shots is actually quite new. It replaced a Strawbridge’s that closed in 2003 or 2004, and was reportedly the worst-performing Strawbridge’s in the entire chain. The space was a Strawbridge’s for a relatively brief period of time; the store was built as a Wanamaker’s. The Sears, as far as I know, has always been here, and I think the same is true of The Bon-Ton, who is based in nearby York. Beyond that, these pictures mostly speak for themselves: the mall’s a pretty basic straight shot, with a small second level at the center court. But some of the various accoutrements sprinkled throughout are in poor shape; between the dried-up, swimming-pool-blue fountains and the bizarre quasi-industrial benches, this place clearly needs some good ol’ lipstick and rouge.

Bizarre benches at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA

The Berkshire Mall was also the site of a controversy (or, if we want to be more colorful, hullabaloo) in February 2007 when a 29-year old nursing mother was asked to stop feeding her infant or to cover up. It became a bit of a cause célèbre amongst the, er, breastfeeding community, and they staged a “nurse-in” on February 24, 2007 in response. So far as I can tell, the result was… a whole lot of breastfeeding (there’s video at that link, but it’s not creepy).

Which reminds me! You should all ask Prangeway sometime about the time he was thrown out of a mall for (accidentally) taking pictures of a breastfeeding mother. That’s quite a story.

Boscov's (former Strawbridge's) at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA Boscov's (former Strawbridge's) at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA, near Reading Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA, near Reading

Sears at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, PA, near Reading Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA

The Bon-Ton at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Boscov's at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Boscov's at Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA

Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing (Reading), PA

148 Responses to “Berkshire Mall; Wyomissing (Reading), Pennsylvania”

  1. Definitely a time warp mall…looks like a cross between Woodbridge Center (pre-1987 construction) and Seaview Square (pre-1994 construction). The fountain in front of Boscov’s looks pretty cool.

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    Greg Reply:

    OK we all know that the berkshire mall is an ugly piece of shit. Even the American Eagle Store smells gross. They have an empty fountain. Pot holes in the parking lot. The only new thing they got was a new sign that says Berkshire mall. It replaced that ugly sign that looked like it was 50 years old. This mall is in need of such a make over its gross. They should ust knock it down and rebuild. It would probably be the same amount of work compared to if they re did it.

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    Mitch Reply:

    @Greg, I know what you are saying Greg, I recently emailed the project manager (just the supervisor of the mall) and they are not answering me…. what jerks. We should start a website or something so people can hear our opinions.

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    Paige Reply:

    Everyone:
    Yes, American Eagle smells weird. (whoknowswhy.)
    Agreed with that, but guess what? You all still shop here. So, get over it. It’s a mall not a museum. Buy what you need/want and get out.

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    Matt Reply:

    @Paige, I agree. This mall is great because parts of it’s original design still stand, although many are not kept up with. If the ceilings were repaired, the fountains painted and lights fixed and the parking lot paved it wouldn’t be too bad. By the way, the Sears fountain has been painted and re-lit. I miss the center court fountain. I remember watching it when I was younger. I’ve searched and searched for a color photo of it but I’ve never had any luck. Today’s mall decor is plain, bland and boring. That’s why I like this mall. Honestly, I think the one-off updates like the sign and the neon lights in the food court, fountain pave over, etc have made it worse. They should have just kept up maintenance on the original architecture.

    By the way, the fountain in front of Boscovs… was there originally water in the center that ran to the 4 outer legs? Seems like there would have been. There used to be lights shining up under each tier where the water fell but last I remember seeing they painted clear over them.

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  2. http://www.alliedretailprop.com/alliedretailproperties05/05operatingproperties/berkshire_mall/BRKM_01_Main.htm Here’s a lease plan.

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  3. ugh that “bench” in the 3rd picture looks uncomfortable, and the fountains are ugly too. I agree, this mall needs some modern and colorful decor to counter all the bland off-white industrial look.

    The center court looks alright though and the Boscov’s looks really good. Wish we had them here in Michigan.

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    Terry Reply:

    @DRoman,
    The Boscov’s was originally a Wanamaker’s. When it opened, it blew away anything else in the area for store design and decor. This mall was a “first” for the Reading area, and opened just after Reading’s “redevelopment authority’ bough many of the downtown retail properties and demolished them. The city literally drove shoppers to the suburbs, and the city has never been a strong retail center since then.

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    BZ Reply:

    @Terry,
    Another in a long line of screwups from the government of Reading.
    Remember after they bought up all the shops they had the crazy idea to turn Penn Street into a walking mall?

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    kristy Reply:

    @Terry,

    Sorry the comment about the Boscov’s orginally being a Wannamakers was never so . Boscov’s was never a Wannamakers in the golden day in Reading pa .

    I work for the disturbution center and i am a native of the area where you are chatting about the information is wrong the lack of knowledge is what causes roamers in the Berks county area that are false. The Reading’s “redevelopment authority’ had nothing to do with Boscov’s what so ever .

    The company had to file for chpater 13 in 2007 due to not being able to pay the vendors he got a loan and a grant from the the county to assit him in getting his business back up and fuctioning again or not we all would of been out of work for your Fyi.

    See no minded people like your selves think that stores like Boscov’s are run by the reading authory that never happen the Debt is paid off we are thriving then ever before the business is good and to me that is all it matters.

    tthey are domolishing the outlet buildings in Reading pa they reopen a shopping center in down town reading not long ago but the old out let stores are being demolished because the area is crime filled and the buildings are old . Wyomissing is now the shoppers paridise the area is thriving with more shopping centers and strip malls as well with a nother exspantion of the outlets.

    Terry you need to read up more before trying to educate outside pa residence. People that think they know do not know and try to make them selves educated then they really are. Get a book and start reading it more before spouting off at the mouth.

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    Tim Reply:

    @kristy,

    The STORE that is now a Boscovs in the Berkshire Mall WAS, in fact, a John Wannamakers store before it was a Strawbridges. Also, the store that is now the Bon-Ton was a Pomeroys for many years.

    maybe it would be you that needs to do some reading up before posting. And maybe some spelling and grammar skills would help also. Just saying…

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    Marisa Reply:

    @Tim, You are correct! John Wanamaker’s was, in fact, right where Boscov’s stands today! I remember this because John Wanamaker’s was my favorite store ever! I was searching for the name of the establishment on the second floor of the mall (it was near Goddard’s) that would entertain children, we could have birthday parties there. Kind of the same idea as a Chuck E Cheese. Was it Gadgets?

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    Larry Reply:

    @Marisa, It was indeed Gadgets.

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    George L Smith Reply:

    @Tim, the “Bon Ton/Pomeroy’s” store was initially a “LIt Bros” store when the Mall opened. Wannamakers anchored the western end and
    Sears acnhored the eastern.

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    BZ Reply:

    @DRoman,
    Believe it or not, the white circular benches around the columns are not uncomfortable at all.
    The mall really did a disservice by shutting down the main fountains in the center square. There used to be colored lights shining up through the water and it was just a cool place to sit with a Bavarian pretzel and coke slushie.
    Now it’s been paved over.
    On another note, the elevator continues to smell just as it did when I was a kid – sort of a mixture of grease and electricity. Hard to describe; just ride the elevator and you’ll understand.

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  4. If nothing else, it’s certainly well-foliated.

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  5. An overzealous security guard told a breastfeeding mother to cover up? What kind of pervert would find that offensive? Wow, that’s one sick dude. I guess news like that distracts from the fact this mall needs a good remodeling.
    Scott

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    Streph Reply:

    @Scott
    If you’re going to breastfeed, do in privacy and not a mall. I’m sorry, but you’re being lured away from the fact that families bring their toddlers to shop.
    If I had kids, i wouldn’t want them seeing that at such an early age.
    Yes, it’s part of life, she has to feed her baby, but don’t whip it out in the open.

    Also, who cares about the security guard? That’s seriously irrelevant to this situation. If he wouldn’t have said anything, someone else would have. Does that make them a pervert too?

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  6. Sufficed to say, as many malls as I’ve seen, this place takes the cake. There’s the funky plastic benches straight from the set of “Blacula” and the waterless fountains (the bridge over nonexistent waters by Sears is priceless), along with the attempted exterior update of Bon-Ton that only made matters worse. There’s enough ugly here for three malls!

    I get the feeling that Bon-Ton was not an original anchor at this mall either. For one thing, the store is something like twice the size of the Bon-Tons I’ve seen, the (apparently) in-store Rite-Aid the lower level is strange and the exterior, like I mentioned looks (badly) redone. I wonder if this was maybe a Gimbel’s or Pomeroy’s at some point, or maybe a Hess’s.

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    Terry Reply:

    @Steven Swain,
    It was originally a Lit Brothers, the Philadelphia chain. They were known to have “sales” in which items were marked up instead of down!

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  7. The Bon Ton entrance has the look of a Hess’s. The couple that they built in Tennessee had a similiar pyramid theme.

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  8. Okay, I did some digging. That Bon-Ton was never a Hess’s. It opened in 1970 as Litt Brothers. Litt Brothers closed in 1976 and became Pomeroy’s, which became Bon-Ton in 1987.

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    kristy Reply:

    @Bobby,
    atleast you did some digging on reserch well done!

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  9. The website resembles Pyramid Mall Ithaca’s website in a way. The picture of the woman with the Elizabethan flea collar-like thing is bizarre.

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  10. Wow! Glad someone from outside the Reading area took a look at this mall and thought what all of us here in Reading think!! This mall is in serious need of a make over!! The orange octagon-shaped flooring inside has been there since the mall was built (or at least the early 80’s. I found a picture with Santa from when I was younger circa 1982). Center court actually used to be a fountain as well, which was covered up years back and used for collectable shows, etc, and is the home to Santa and the Easter Bunny. The fountain used to shoot up beyond the second level…With the center court remodel and the addition of some better stores, we can only hope the turnaround is on its way…

    You guys got the Bon-Ton right. Used to be a Pomeroy’s…Boscov’s used to be a Strawbridges, was built as Wanamaker’s and had a brief stint as Hecht’s in between…

    This mall is finally catching up with the surrounding counties as the store selections at Park City in Lancaster, Lehigh Valley in Allentown and Exton Square in Exton, as well as King of Prussia, pretty much takes a lot of the business out of here…

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  11. I am sorry to say that the Bon-Ton at Berkshire Mall never used to be a Lit Brothers. Lit Brothers, a Philadelphia-based division of City Stores, closed abruptly in April 1977. They never had a location in Reading. In fact, they had very few mall stores. Most of their stores were located in downtown locations, ie NE Phila, S Phila, Atlantic City. Their mall stores were located at Plymouth Meeting, Neshaminy and Echelon only.

    Yes, the Bon-Ton at Berkshire Mall was originally Pomeroy’s, Pomeroy’s, a division of Allied Stores, was originally from Reading but also had divisions in Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre, and, strangely, Levittown. In June 1987, it was purchased by York-based Bon-Ton. Pomeroy’s and Bon-Ton kept their individual names until 1990. The closest Pomeroy’s to Reading, after the Berkshire Mall and the downtown store (which closed in 1985), was the Coventry Mall store in Pottstown. That store opened when the downtown Pomeroy’s closed.

    Pomeroy’s ruled the eastern Pennsylvania rust belt cities and was expanded in 1984 when Allied Stores merged Pomeroy’s with its Greensburg PA based division, Troutman’s. That made Pomeroy’s a statewide chain as it expanded to the outer limits of Pittsburgh. Pomeroy’s was a great store. It had everything and its main locations in Reading, Harrisburg and Wilked Barre were impressive architectural masterpieces when they were built.

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    Mike R Reply:

    @Michael,
    There are newpaper ads from the Reading Eagle for the Lit Brothers store at Berkshire Mall

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  12. According to the Reading Eagle newspaper, the Berkshire Mall Bon-Ton was a Lit Brothers before it was a Pomeroy’s. It also stated that Whitner’s Department Store was an early anchor, though it didn’t say how large that store was or where it was located at the mall.

    http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=54161

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  13. May Co. had Kauffmann’s, Hecht’s and Strawbridges stores operating in PA. I believe the former May Co. stores in the York/Harrisburg area were under the Hecht’s nameplate and not Strawbridges.

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  14. I’m sorry but I have reviewed my files on both Pomeroy’s and Lit Brothers. Though the Reading newspaper cites the location as originally being a Lits store, I have no record of any mention of this location in the newspaper clipping files, annual reports and store location listings that I have from the 1960s forward. There is a remote chance that City Stores could have operated a Reading store as a separate entity from the Philadelphia group. They did operate a Trenton division for a while (formerly Swern’s) but then merged those operations. I’d love to be proven wrong and would welcome specific details. But I have fairly complete records on most US department store divisions and Lits in Reading is a consistent no-show. With Lits being such a latecomer to the mall industry, I’d be surprised that they’d pull out once they were finally in one. My articles on Pomeroy’s from the Reading Eagle Press also make no mention of a Lit Brothers acquisition. Also the (altered) design of the current Bon-Ton does not even remotely resemble the identical look of the few Lit mall branches that ever existed.

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  15. Danny, you are correct about Hecht’s.

    There were 3 Hecht’s in PA. 2 were in Harrisburg. Both in Harrisburg were former Hess’s at Harrisburg East and Capital City. The Harrisburg East store was originally a 3-level Gimbel’s. While Hess’s, the bottom floor was used by Toys-R-Us. They moved to a nearby outparcel when Hecht’s took over.

    The York store was a late 90’s build at West Manchester, to add in the fact that York had become a Baltimore exurb. It would have been built at the York Galleria if there was any room there. West Manchester is a fairly dead mall now. York has more dead malls than anywhere though, although most of them have been taken care of and big-boxed or bulldozed.

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  16. Just to continue with my anal personality, I checked with folks at the Reading Public Library as well as the Executive Offices of the Bon-Ton at the Berkshire Mall. All sources said that there was no Lit Brothers at the mall (“that it was a Philly store”) and the branch was opened as a Pomeroy’s. All 3 people, who were quite familiar with the mall, confirmed this. I hate to be so anal but I’m just too obsessed with department stores.

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    Joie Reply:

    @Michael, I am actually glad you asked that of the Reading library people because it was bugging me reading all these posts…I have lived in Reading my whole life and never remembered a Lit Brothers where the Bon Ton is. It was always Pomeroy’s. I remember when they changed the name and on the outside of the building you could see the word “Pomeroy’s” for years. The mall did get a mild make over at some point, maybe early 90’s. Sears got the hunter green colors on the outside of the building and they put a food court upstairs. They used to to a haunted house at Halloween upstairs before the food court was there. Does anyone remember that?!

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    Joie Reply:

    @Joie,
    There was also a Woolworth’s. And a movie theater.

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    Joie Reply:

    @Joie,
    Lots of people are remembering Lit Bros.
    maybe I was too young to remember it….wasn’t trying to be dogmatic…I just knew Pomeroy’s was there before Bon Ton. I remember the change.

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  17. That’s okay, at least you were able to find the actual answer.

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  18. What is now Bon-Ton was formerly Pomeroy’s and yes, prior to that is was Lit Bros. Worked at Lit’s from 1972 till they closed in December 1975. Boscov’s had been a Hecht’s – which was just AWFUL – it was John Wanamaker’s before that and prior to that Whitner’s. Whitner’s was another downtown Reading store right down the street from Pomeroy’s. Pomeroy’s was on Penn at 6th and Whitner’s was between 4th & 5th. Looking at the web photos makes you realize how dated this mall is. Glad someone could show us that this place needs a major re-do. My favorite thing is the blacked out display windows on the outside of Bon-Ton/Pomeroys. They are just sooooo attractive.

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  19. I love the benches in the last shot. They haven’t moved in thirty years. It seems like the only thing they’ve done to the place is paint the railings in one of those hideous 80’s color combination, in this case is looks like teal and mauve. Out here in California, it’s teal and terra cotta. Equally painful.

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  20. Love this site! This was a trip down memory lane, and I was amazed how little has changed at Berkshire Mall since it’s opening in 1972. Good or bad,
    this is the height of 1972 mall design! The mall’s original anchors were John Wanamaker, the mall’s finest store; Sears; and yes, Lit Brothers
    of Philadelphia in the center. It also had Whitner’s, a local Reading store. It’s
    main store was on Penn Square in Downtown Reading. It was a ‘specialty’
    store(like Saks Fifth Avenue), it mostly catered to women with RTW, Furs,
    Cosmetics, Jewelry and Accessories. It was a very nice store, located on the right(West?)side of the mall as you approached Wanamaker’s. Close to Whitner’s was Hughes And Hatcher, a very nice Men’s store. Both Whitner’s and H&H were larger than the typical mall stores, but not nearly as large as the department store anchors.
    It’s too bad the mall is now home to two of the nations worst stores- Boscov’s and Bon-Ton. There is really nothing positive to say about these two chains. Just look at the photo of Bon-Ton’s exterior. Was someone PAID to design whatever that green thing is at the entrance?
    I have not been in Berkshire Mall since about 1977 when Lit Brothers filed for bankruptcy and closed. I have great memories of how the Lit’s and John Wanamaker stores looked then- very nice for that era. Would rather not see those two structures as they are today- their photos scare me!
    Thanks for the opportunity to share this with you!

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  21. Oh, don’t bad-mouth Boscov’s. Boscov’s is one of the last family-owned department stores. The sign is the most hideous for me, looks like a roadside flea market sign.

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  22. The Berkshire Mall is my third favorite mall (next to King of Prussia, and Park City). Call me crazy, but I actually love the “’70s ugliness”. I am a sucker for old/retro stuff. Though this mall hasn’t really changed cosmetically, at least it has been kept up alright (seems like that to me anyways). It DOES have a lot of the nicer stores too. In fact, we stroll through and shop at the inner mall stores more than we do the department stores there.

    Now that I have read these comments, I VAGUELY remember Hechts being in where Boscovs is now when we first moved to the area. We never really went in that end though, even when Strawbridges was there. I like that Boscovs is in there, it IS a pretty good store.

    Now, I can’t for the life of me remember a couple things about a couple stores in the back of Bon-Ton. Was there something previously in where Tweeter is now, or was that built for Tweeter? Also, there was a fabric store my mom used to frequent in that small building on side of Bon-Ton, but I can’t remember it’s name. :- ( I also remember a Gateway store being on the side of Bon-Ton, but is that where Tweeter is now, or was it in where the fabric store was?

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    Joie Reply:

    @Jordan,
    It was Woolworth’s. And there was a movie theater down near the pet store.

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  23. It was sad to see the fountain in the center of the mall removed. As a child I remember spending countless hours watching the fountain go throught it’s numerous patterns of light and formations. It was capable of shooting to well above the floor of the second story. The upper level was also host to one of the largest arcades in the area. It was nestled in the corner which is now occupied by the food court. To my suprise, someone has opened an arcade (Challange Arcade) in the opposite end of the second level that has many classic arcade titles. It hosts various pins and videos dating back to the 70s.

    Charlie

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    Terry Reply:

    @Charlie,
    Just FYI, Berkshire Mall’s fountains were designed by a Reading company, “Symphonic Fountains” who was at the cutting edge of both the mall-ization of America and the computer age. They operated out of a crappy building in a crappy neighborhood and nobody really understood what they were doing. but they were in the right place at the right time, and did installations for many malls in their heydey.The CEO’s wife was a head cashier at one of the Boscov stores

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    Jason Reply:

    @Charlie,
    I used to spend hours in that mall and arcade as a kid from about 1984-1988. That was “my mall” and my friends and I spent so many weekends following/flirting with girls in the mall…..the good old days.

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  24. berkshire mall sucks it is small and the stores are going out of business it is not like covertry mall or park city mall or lebanon valley mall or my faorite mall harrisburg mall this mall is small and is not well populated . this mall had no life ………………………………….

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  25. I lived forty five miles from berkshire mall when I was growing up, and we visited the mall at least every three months. It basically hasnt changed since my childhood, which is thirty plus years ago. Kristy stated that stores are going out of business and its dead. That isnt the case, the mall is mostly busy and yes some stores went out of business, but recently hollister, journeys, and wet seal has open. When I went last week to Christmas shop, I only noticed two empty storefronts on the first floor, and they had stores signs taking the empty spaces. Visiting their website, which is under allied properties, they are opening a plaza, or a lifestyle center near Boscovs and a supermarket, either fresh food or whole foods. I been living in the Reading area for two decades and Berkshire is definately the mall where Berks county shops, even if its in a time warp of the seventies.
    Bruce

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  26. I spent many hours of my youth in the Berkshire Mall while visiting my grandparents. Though I agree it could use a makeover, part of me is glad that the same funky ’70s decor still exists, if only for nostalgic reasons.

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  27. I was just talking to my sister about the Berkshire Mall. I can remember the movie theater where the Omega Labs is now and a caferteria/resturant called Highlander where the Rite-Aid now is. I remember the first purchase I ever made with my own money when I was a little girl was a Raggedy Ann doll from Whitners where the Coventry Corners now is. Also, I remember Gadgets, upstairs resturant/bar with the Looney Tune Characters. I was just a little girl but I remember how awesome the bar seemed…it was a labortory and I think they served their drinks in beakers. I wish I could see it now as an adult and see if it was as cool as it seemed as a child.

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  28. Had the fountain at the SEARS entrance in the mall been running when the pic was taken, it would have been more appealing. I once sat on the bench in center court and farted and it ECHOOOOED loudly up the hollow tube….unintentional but LMAO…great design!!!

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  29. Jordan, the current Tweeter location was, in fact, the Gateway store, at least until the late ’90s when I moved away from the area. I grew up in nearby Morgantown and this was our mall when I was a kid. I remember buying all kinds of New Kids on the Block gear in the Claire’s store in the late ’80s. I went back for a visit last summer and took my fiance, who is not from the area. He was really impressed with the arcade on the second floor, especially the old Simpsons and Bubble Bobble games. The pet store down by Sears has also been there for as long as I remember. Really, the place has not changed at all. This brings back so many memories.

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  30. I grew up very close to the Berkshire Mall and now I live in Phoenix, AZ. I just loved looking at these pictures and reading everyone’s comments. I’m very sad to learn to center fountain has been taken out – that was a big deal. I remember when this mall opened and I remember it was farmland before. I do remember the Lit Brothers store – it was at the location occupied by Pomeroy’s and now Bon Ton. It was right in the middle of the mall where the big fountain was. But I do not remember Whitner’s occupying the space that was Wanamaker’s. I believe Wanamaker’s was there when the mall first opened and Whitner’s was at a separate location.

    I remember the opening of this mall basically meant the end of downtown Reading as Berks County’s shopping destination. So in a way it was kind of sad too. But I too love the retro 70s theme.

    Next time I visit Berks County, I’ll be sure to drop in on the Berkshire Mall.

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  31. Yes, to confirm what everyone else has said, Lit Brothers was the original store in the portion of the mall where the Bon-Ton now occupies. In between it was a Pomeroy’s. Someone mentioned the Tweeters/Gateway section – that was originally a Woolworth’s. Back when the mall first opened, Woolworth’s was where you stopped if you wanted to shop at the Berkshire Mall but didn’t have enough money to buy in the bigger stores (Lit Brothers, Wanamakers). I shopped at Woolworth’s a lot! Then I believe it became the fabric store – but I don’t remember the name. After that it was Gateway & then Tweeter, although Tweeter is now also closed I believe. Wanamaker’s became Hecht’s (for a very brief time) & was then purchased by Boscov’s. The “Wanamaker Eagle” stood outside the store on the lower level & was a landmark for meeting people, as in “meet me at the Eagle”. Also, I thought the Highlander was a restaurant run by the Sears store & it was located between what is now the catalog pickup area & the Tweeter store. Maybe I’m wrong on the name of it, but I do know that at some point, there was a restaurant there, well, more like a diner than an actual restaurant. It was a hangout after going to the 7:30 movies – you could go in & get a cup of coffee before it closed. Center court did have a big fountain with changing colored lights (kind of like “disco water”) & yes, the water really did shoot 2 stories into the air – if you were on the 2nd level (now the Food Court), the water would come up as high as the railing. Ah, memories…..

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    Terry Reply:

    @Donna,
    The Woolworth’s was literally chopped in half–you couldn’t enter Gateway from the mall–only from the parking lot. Not sure what other stores occupied the inside half with mall access….

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  32. Does your pet store sell dogs from puppy mills ? We wont stand for it,I dont care how long they have been in business.

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  33. Thanks to Donna and Allison for the info. = )

    Just to give a little update of stuff going on.

    The Rite Aid in the mall has moved. This is due to Rite Aid’s purchase of Eckerd Drug. There was an Eckerd Pharmacy (With a JCPenny Catalog Center) in the old Weis grocery store plaza by the Redners/Walmart/Staples plaza, but half of that plaza had been sitting empty for a couple years as Weis had moved over to the newer Target plaza a little farther up north. Now that Rite Aid bought Eckerd, they took over half of that old plaza (JCP CC is closed), while Reading Hospital has the other half.

    So since Rite Aid doesn’t need two locations THAT close to each other, they just closed the Rite Aid in the mall. Don’t know what they are going to put in there yet.

    Also, the fountains on both the Sears and Boscovs ends are in full working order once again which is nice! There is also some sort of small garden display in the center now.

    [Reply]

  34. I believe the Highlander restaurant (as I recall it was cafeteria style) was where the Rite Aid was and Woolworth had a diner attached to the store you could walk into from the store or from the mall entrance. For a short time there was a popular restaurant with a Looney Tune characters theme (can’t remember the name), I remember people would line up to get in. Wanamaker had two restaurant sections toegether on their top floor laid out in a train car theme.

    [Reply]

  35. The Looney Tunes restaurant was called Gadgets, I believe. It has animatronic stage shows throughout the restaurant, and a good sized arcade. This mall used to have two arcades.
    I’d totally forgotten about that cafeteria restaurant. I do like the time-warp factor of this mall. The interior looks exactly the same as it did almost 30 years ago. God, now i feel really old.
    Speaking of old, I’m amazed you got a picture of those terrible white seats without any of the old people that populate them throughout the day.

    [Reply]

  36. Those benches are actually comfortable, believe it or not.

    [Reply]

  37. about the pet store, I don’t think they are from puppy mills. My cousin bought a cocker spaniel puppy there years ago, and it was from a breeder in Kansas. Just 2 months ago, we went there again just to look at the puppies, and we saw 2 dogs that looked exactly like her puppy, also from the same breeder. We were curious, and we asked the lady there about the dogs. My cousin had suspected it came from a puppy mill, but she said that they only get dogs from reputable breeders.

    [Reply]

  38. CHRISTMAS TIME IS CREEPING UP ON US AGAIN SOON. I’M HOPING THE SAME SANTA CREW WILL BE BACK THIS YEAR AS LAST. THE SANTA WAS GREAT WITH MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS SCARED TO DEATH. SANTA WENT TO GREAT LENGHTS WITH HER AND BEFORE WE LEFT SANTA WON HER HEART OVER.

    [Reply]

  39. what were the original department stores at coventry mall?

    [Reply]

  40. I am trying to locate a sign from one of the original John Wanamaker stores; one of the interior mall or exterior mall signs. It is sort of symbolic for me to have one; I have been looking for years. Please let me know if you know of anyone who has one for sale. thanks all

    [Reply]

    Mike R Reply:

    @George Wanamaker,
    There is an actual John Wanamaker sign from the Center City Philadelphia store at McGillin’s Old Ale House, wich is a 1/2 block south of The Wanamaker Building

    [Reply]

  41. I like the fact that the mall has not changed much over the years. Change just for the sake of changing is not always a good thing. Other than teenagers, most people go to the mall to shop, not for the scenery. It may be outdated by todays standards, but it’s definitely not falling apart.The elderly go there to socialize and “mall walk” in the early hours, and probably prefer it the way it is. I’m 32, so I guess I just like nostalgia. I also prefer Berkshire over Fairgrounds because I don’t speak Spanish.

    [Reply]

    Terry Reply:

    @Frank Beans,
    I mean this in the kindest possible way: listen to Chris Rock’s comedy bit about every town having two malls…I won’t go in to further detail but it so describes Reading! And it’s very funny as well.

    [Reply]

  42. In the early 1970s, we used to drive from Allentown to the Berkshire Mall. (This was before the Lehigh Valley Mall was built.) Back then, we thought the Berkshire Mall was modern and large. The first glass elevator I ever saw was at the Berkshire Mall and as a kid, I was fascinated by it.

    In addition to the glass elevator, the center court had a colorful fountain that would alternate water jets and colors — something we didn’t see in Allentown. When the Lehigh Valley Mall was built in 1977, it was much bigger and newer. We never went to the Berkshire Mall again.

    I never recall a Hess’s.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    @John, Not sure of this comment of “I never recall a hess’s.” Where? Not at the Berkshire Mall? We would have loved for Hess’s to be in Reading. However, Reading was Al Boscov’s territory. The unwritten rule at the time being Hess’s never set foot in Berks county and Boscov’s never set foot in Lehigh county. Of course, that was from the days each city/area had it’s own unique department store- unlike today where everything is the same. I mean this in the nicest way possible- but if you lived in Allentown in the 1970 and never recalled a Hess’s…the you did not live in Allentown, PA. They were “the” store and played by their own rules. Who else would not even list themselves in the yellow pages under Dept. Stores? It was a great place to work and sadly missed.

    [Reply]

  43. Tell me about the coventry mall?

    [Reply]

  44. Who knows info about the Coventry mall?

    [Reply]

  45. I was raised in Berks County, and yes Bon-Ton was a Lit Brothers, for a very brief time, I believe it was the last new store they build before going under. Wanamakers and Lit Brothers were the 2 philadelphia stores, and Sears. There was a small 4th anchor Whitner’s from Reading in the mall also.

    [Reply]

    Mike R Reply:

    @Todd Reber,
    The last new Lit Brothers store that was built was at Neshaminy Mall, in Bensalem ,PA. This store later became Pomeroy’s-The Bon Ton, and is currently Boscov’s

    [Reply]

  46. does any one know the Coventry Mall besides the Berkshire Mall?

    [Reply]

  47. The last Lit Brothers store that was ever built was at Neshaminy Mall, in Bensalem ,PA. The Neshaminy store later became a Pomeroy’s, then Bon ton, and finally, Boscov’s.

    The Berkshire Bon ton store looks almost like the former Lit Brothers store on Cottman and Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, before Clover added the metal sheeting to the building.

    [Reply]

  48. Lit Brothers was definately at the location of the Bon-Ton at the Berkshire Mall. I went to a hairdresser there in the 1970’s , that is unless I was in the Twilight Zone!

    [Reply]

  49. Wikipedia should underscore the fact that Lit Bros was located at the Berkshire Mall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lit_Brothers, that, and, as I Wyomissing resident, I was in the store.

    Otherwise, my youthful recollections include shooting peas through a straw from the balcony of the courtyard on unsuspecting shoppers below.

    [Reply]

  50. haha i go to this mall all the time

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  51. I love the Coventry Mall, which I used to shop at 30 yrs ago, and now it’s my favorite (besides King of Prussia). When I first moved to the Reading area 20 yrs ago, the Berkshire Mall was THE mall to go to. I just don’t feel drawn to that mall anymore, although I love the Boscovs. It used to be so pleasant to walk around, and now the lighting seems off, and it has an old warehouse feel compared to the the other two malls I mentioned. Stopping the fountains was a mistake in my opinion; stuff like that draws people in. I would take my son there when he was little and couldn’t wait to throw pennies in the water. The overall oldness of the property is not my thing. Just venting though, happy shopping

    [Reply]

    Dom Reply:

    @Lynn, What were the original achor stores that the Coventry mall had 30 years ago? I heard Pomeroy’s was in coventry mall! But where in Coventry mall was Pomeroy’s? And Kohl’s was once a Hess’s! What was store was before Hess’s?

    [Reply]

  52. I am a teenage girl, and I absolutely love the Berkshire Mall! It has a Hollister, American Eagle, and Aeropostale! Three amazing stores!!! Just because the decor isn’t great, doesn’t mean the stores are bad too!!!

    [Reply]

  53. Oh how I remember this mall and how I miss it while I grew up in Wyomissing from 76-81. I understand people’s aversion to the 70’s decor but I love it. Of course I’m biased.

    I know those white rest-benches look old and grimy but they’re a landmark. I played on those things all the time.

    For me, the glory days was when my mother would take me there for a treat or whatever while she would go shopping or to work (she used to work in Merle Norman on the Wanamaker side) before she died in ’81 after which I moved to Philadelphia.

    The stores I remember were Bavarian Pretzel (left side as you walked in), the tobacco place in the NE corner of the fountain, the Supercade (upstairs)… there was also a women’s fashion store called I think, “Feel Fine” which was in a corner opposite Wanamaker’s.

    I also remember the upstairs-leftside restaurant BEFORE it became Gadgets. Don’t remember the name but a vivid memory was seeing a clown in the back entertaining the kids with tape of this disturbing goofy circus music. This place was just next to what was then Pomeroy’s. Always liked their Shirley Temple’s.

    There was a men’s Brooks-Brothers, Botany-500 type clothing store (down the Sears hall) that didn’t seem to have any name but always emitted this strange high-pitched tone as you walked buy it – kind of like a dog whistle.

    Also remember Baskin Robbins (near or next to Merle Norman), Donuts Galore (SW of fountain), wall-to-wall sound & records…even Wanamaker’s had a little hidden restaurant upstairs (with stained-glass window booth seperators) which I remember served a great rice pudding.

    Also miss the theater next to Lit Bros./Pomeroy’s in the rear part. The toy store (Wanamaker side) called “Kids” or “Kidz”. Back then, there was no food court.

    Who else remembers the Acme supermarket in the shopping center behind the mall. That area also had a Black Angus Steak House that played old comedy shorts on a little movie screen, complete with a trolley-type seating area covered with classic movie posters. That area also had a UA or something movie theater where I saw Star Wars for the first time.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    @Robin, Are you thinking of the Acme and Black Angus on 5th St. Hwy.? Because I remember going with my parents grocery shopping and then going to eat at the steak house with trolley seats and posters all over. I would usually get a cheeseburger that was served open, with a little scoop of cheese on the burger, it looked like a little ice cream scoop. You brought back lost memories for me! And I’m thinking the UA theatre was the one by where Mcdonald’s is , I don’t know the name of it now.

    [Reply]

    Robin Reply:

    @Kelly, Late reply Kelly, sorry. No, the Acme was definitely (looking at Google) on Woodland Rd behind the BM, which is also where the Black Angus and UA theaters was (I think I’m right).

    [Reply]

    Brian Reply:

    @Robin, Yes, I remember the Acme market across from the mall. My girlfriend and I would go stock up there on candy and drinks and smuggle them into the movie theater at the other end of the strip.
    There was a place to eat, and I am pretty sure it was Black Angus. There was a trolley car inside and they used to show looney tunes cartoons while you ate. If I remember right it was cafeteria style. I used to always get shrimp!
    Unfortunately all that is gone. The grocery store is an arts supply store, and the whole other end is now an appliance retailer (like we needed another one) and an AYCE buffet with generally lousy food. Remember, this is Berks County, where quantity is more important than quality.

    [Reply]

    Robin Reply:

    @Brian, Yeah Brian, I suppose it is. Sad.

    I also notice that the Sheraton on Paper Mill Rd. has also disappeared. I remember that one too well. They had two restaurants there that I remember called ‘The Red Balloon’ and the other called something like ‘Nottingham Forest’. The Red Balloon is where I had many a Shirley Temple. This is going back a ways, 1976-78, around there.

    [Reply]

  54. This is a great mall. I too remember the center fountain and loved it. I was told it was removed due to constant repairs, high running cost and apparently it fogged the glass of all the surrounding stores. If anybody has a picture of that fountain, please post. I asked the management and they looked at me as if I were nuts.

    I think the decor is great. They could match up the lighting a little better though (different color bulbs here and there). Neither fountains have working lighting. Lights are present, but haven’t been on in years. The fountain lighting in fron of Boscov’s has been painted over and only one of the ceiling lights is ever on. I hope they never renovate the place, all the malls look the same now.. cheesy, stupid decor (like King of Prussia). KOP used to look really cool, had fountains and foliage and everything (my mom worked in the management office). Then they ruined it with all the gaudy fixtures and crap. I don’t want that to happen to Berkshire. I’m 20 and love it’s look.. it’s something you don’t see everyday. I’m proud of our local timewarp.

    I wear my striped tube socks, TaB t-shirt and Sony cassette Walkman to that place and blend right into the walls.

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  55. The sign out front of the mall was very recently replaced. It looks like the sprucing up has begun.

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  56. Is anyone on here familiar with Coventry Mall in Pottstown? I found out Boscov’s in Coventry Mall opened in September 1994. What was before Boscov’s in Coventry Mall?

    [Reply]

    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    @Dom, according to Google News, it was Hess’s.

    [Reply]

    Dom Reply:

    @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D), Hess’s in Coventry Mall was where the Kohl’s is now!

    [Reply]

    Ed Reply:

    @Dom,

    Boscov’s was added to the mall at around that time. I worked at the pet store right next to where they added it to the mall. It was next to a Woolworth’s and a Friendly’s. It was innovative (still is) for having a parking area on the roof of the 3 story store. You can ride the escalator right from the roof.

    Anyone who wants in for from the late 80s early 90s and what was in the Coventry mall. I can help.

    [Reply]

    Ed Reply:

    @Dom,

    Oh sorry . . . it was new construction, nothing was there but a parking lot.

    [Reply]

    ed Reply:

    @Dom, Boscovs was formerly the bon-ton. before that it was pomeroys. i worked for the bon-ton in 1993. the landlord terminated our lease because we would not enlarge the store to 2 levels. although the business was on fire (we had a 1 millionj dollar increase in 1992) the bon ton did not want to expand. apparently there was a clause in the lease that if the company went into bankruptcy, they could terminated out lease with out negotiation. Although the bon-ton was financially sound, the bankrupcty of pomeroys gave them the right to term our lease when we refused to expand. the plan was to come back into coventry and it did when they bought hess’s, however the company closed that bon ton as well

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  57. Please reply to my post above!

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  58. this mall sucks, DONT by cigars from the Berkshire Express. i bought a few cigars from them and ALL OF THEM WERE STALE AND DRIED OUT! i am never getting cigars from them again. see yea in fairgrounds mall, they have a huge cigar shop there.

    [Reply]

    poblo Reply:

    @john,

    i cant agree with you any more, Berkshire Express has old stale cigars in a case with no humidor, they are all dried out and stale. never buy from them, bunch of filthy people just waiting to steal our money again.

    the fairgrounds mall has a fairly large cigar shop with a walk in humidor, great place to have a puff.

    [Reply]

  59. I remember as a child waiting in line to get into the restaurant that used to be aside of Woolworth’s. The food there was good for the kids but looked disgusting for the adults, LOL! I also remember the huge fountain in the middle of the mall that changed colors. My sister and I used to ride up and down the elevator all night watching the water while our parents walked and shopped in the mall. I miss those days. I remember the Chuck E Cheese used to be where Sears is now, I think there is lawnmowers in there and snow blowers. I really miss the old mall. Yes, it does need to be fixed a little, but why can’t they bring back the fountain? Those sofas on the corners are tacky and also hold germs and hide bugs that transfer onto people. Need to go!

    [Reply]

  60. I was almost dragged into the office by the parking lot patrol. The mall had taken down the original bubble parking lot lights from when the mall was built, they coordinated nicely with the old seating around the main fountain. A huge pile of them was in the parking lot and I was taking a few digital photos. The mall guard threatened to take me to the office if I didn’t cease and desist taking photos. So everyone knows: legally you can’t pull into the mall parking lot and take a photo of your family in the car. You’re on private property and must notify the office of your intent.

    Also taken out were two gazebo-like structures at the Sears end of the mall. I miss those.

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  61. I had stumbled across this blog by accident, and when I read the first dozen comments I was getting kind of mad. Most of us do not care what color scheme is o.k., and at least we know how to spell and punctuate. I was happy to see many positive comments after that. In this area we think more of nostalgia than how ‘cool our mall looks’. Most of us like our old fashioned mall, at least it’s pretty clean, and if you do not like it then we are happy that you never want to go there again! I cannot wait to read the Fairgrounds Mall comments. Oh, the good old racing days…

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  62. Where in the Coventry Mall in Pottstown, PA was Pomeroy’s Department Store located?

    [Reply]

    Bobby P. Reply:

    @Dom, I think it was where the Boscov’s is, just from process of elimination. Dick’s/Ross is the former Jefferson Ward/Bradlees; Kohl’s the former Hess’s/short-lived JCPenney/Bon-Ton; and Sears is original.

    [Reply]

    DougM Reply:

    The Boscov’s wing at Coventry mall was new construction. Calling purely on memories from the 1980’s driving past the mall on the way to the Poconos from Chester County, Hess replaced Pomeroys in the front of the center. And there was a Grocery store that was next to it… If I remember properly, the grocery store was torn down and became the wing that now houses the Pier 1 and TGIFridays.

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  63. Oh the fond memories we have of the Berkshire Mall!!

    Growing up in the late 70s and 80s, my sister and I often reminisce about “The Mall.”

    Some highlights:

    – The restaurant next to Woolworth’s – York Steak House I believe.
    – Donuts Galore at the center court.
    – The pink / orange decor in the dressing rooms of Wanamakers, the white stools with pink / orange vinyl seats.
    – Gadgets came later of course but was cutting edge at the time and I think a burger was $6.95.
    – The little restaurant upstairs at Wanamakers!!
    – Record Bar, Listening Booth
    – The old parquet floors in Pomeroy’s
    – Big Sky, old school The Gap
    – Hamilton Bank
    – Scribbles (?)
    – Your Pet Center (it was near an entrance)
    – Scottos Pizza (is it still there?)
    – The Olde Tobacco Shoppe
    – Buster Brown (pretzel rods anyone?)
    – OMG, I remember those parking lot bubble lights
    – Deb (which we never went into)
    – Chess King (haha)
    – I vaguely remember an S&H Green Stamps redemption center

    I’m sure there’s more – I’ll have to check in with my sister..

    :)

    [Reply]

    meg Reply:

    @Amanda, york steak house was at fairgrouds,

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    I read a post further down, Scribbles was at Fairgrounds Square and it is correct, York Steak House was also there.

    It was Fluf n’ Stuf next to Pomeroy’s :) I’m drawing a blank on the restaurant next to Woolworth’s…

    [Reply]

    Denise Reply:

    Ranch House I worked there. :)

    [Reply]

    Joie Reply:

    @Amanda,
    I remember a store right in front of Pomeroy’s that was like what you called “Scribbles”…I will have to ask my sister what it was called, but we used to get Smurfs and Hello Kitty things in there! And right across from it, was a screen printing T shirt shop. I think they are both jewelry stores now. Did you ever go to the little Christmas store they had in the basement of Wanamaker’s for kids to shop in? It was like a little cave and you could buy gifts without your parent’s being with you? I had totally forgotten about the LIstening Booth and the Record Bar until you said it. Thanks for reminding me! Wouldn’t a time machine be a fun thing to really have?!

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    @Joie, Oh my word! My twin sister and I have talked about the Secret Santa shop in Wanamakers for years! Our parents still have the gifts we bought them there. The door was only big enough for a little kid to go through. I felt so grown up buyint things in there. Remember the Christmas walkthrough they had in the center court? They would cover up the fountain and there was a walkthrough with animated Christmas scenes. There were reindeer, elves wrapping presents and Mrs. Clause was baking cookies. At the end, Santa would be sitting there ready with a coloring book and a candy cane. Some of my best Christmas memories happened at the Berkshire mall. I really wish they still had that, I would totally go through, The elevator still smells the exact same way as it did when I was a kid :)

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  64. I stand corrected in regard to a (much) earlier comment about whether Berkshire Mall indeed had a Lit Brothers. I had said that I had no record of it. I have found that Lit Brothers operated a store at the Berkshire Mall from February 1970 until December 1975. (The entire Lits chain closed in April 1977.) The Berkshire Mall store was quickly replaced by a Pomeroy’s store. I guess that makes me human.

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  65. I have to say that the white circular benches in the picture above are just the greatest thing. I grew up with this mall, and while the seats might be 70’s and outdated, they are extremely comfortable and a lot of fun! As a kid I used to hang out near the fountain and wait for someone to vacate a seat so that I could sit there lol.

    p.s. the fountain is sorely missed as well.

    [Reply]

  66. I am from berkshire. I was 5 when mall built in 1988 and own by Pyramid Companies. I have seen lot of changes after completing. I love to go there and kill my time. My best place is food court because i like food stuff.

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  67. The problem with this mall is that it is literally surrounded by store after store and strip mall after strip mall. Why pay high mall rents when you can get cheaper rents next door? Park City seems to be down on its heels, too, The owning conmpany filed for bankruptcy protection. In its heyday this was the mall after Park City and KOP. Coventry mall was a real cellar when it first opened, like pottstowners were moles it was so dark. Now its alot better but still being drained by KOP.
    So many dead or dying malls. Lebanon has a decent enough little mall , okay if you are in that area and have nothing else to do. Morgantown mall had some decent clothing outlets now its just furniture. Phoenixville had that little mall on 23 now its gone. Pottsville has that really creepy little depressing mall. York had a second rate mall which wasn’t too bad or too good. Fairgrounds has gone downhill, too many derelicts and riff raff just hanging out. Allentown has a decent mall in Whitehall but I haven’t been there in years and years. Exton mall is pretty good but I don’t get down there too often. The new Limerick/ Philadelphia Outlets mall is not impressive.

    [Reply]

    Larry Reply:

    @Icy Tea, The mall property includes the strip mall across from it. So the rent is almost the same… as for Fairgrounds being full of derelicts, that’s because the county social workers use it for supervised visitations, so yes, they are in fact derelicts–convicted ones at that.

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  68. The Mall Theater (1 screen) was were the Tweeter used to be, along with the present Five Below store. The theater existed from August 1970 (first movie played was Getting Straight) to January 1983 (last movie played there was ET). The theater was owned first by Fabian (which owned the Embassy downtown in Reading), and later by UA which also owned 3 theaters at Berkshire West (across the street from the mall) but was bought out by FOX Theaters (no relation to Fox TV) in mid 1982.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=GhwxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0eMFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3935,1750004&dq=berkshire+mall+movie+theater&hl=en (Article about why the mall theater would close)

    The food court (established 1989) was at first a restaurant called the John Davis House (1971-1977), then later the International House (1977-1981), and finally Gadgets (1982-1984).

    Whitner’s had a store there until the early 80’s, and advertisements up to about 1990 featured both the Pomeroy’s and Bon-Ton name together in lower case letters, several years after Bon-Ton buying Pomeroy’s.

    Where Boscov’s customer service is (along with where they sell lamps, picture frames, outdoor stuff) was where the Wanamaker restaurant was, and the Kay Jewelers/AT&T store was a bank (I can remember it being a Corestates in the mid 90’s), then I assume after First Union buying them out they closed that branch.

    The original sign was replaced last year only because it was torn apart by high winds.

    [Reply]

    Brian Reply:

    @Matt, I remember only seeing 1 or 2 movies at the theater at the Berskshire Mall. I saw Star Wars there in 1977 and I can still remember my dad complaining about the $1.75 price!
    I remember the Heidelberg, the restaurant next to Woolworths, and I am pretty sure there was a restaurant upstairs in the John Wanamaker. For a while there was also a steak house in the vicinity of where the Hallmark Store is now. Anyone remember Wall to Wall? Or the Record Bar?

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    @Matt, @Matt, I know this is 3 years later… but the link to the Reading Eagle article still works. I saw many movies at that theater… ah… 1.50 matinees. LOL
    Whats also funny is how that article calls it REVENGE of the Jedi (the working title before it was called RETURN of the Jedi). SO VERY dated! :-)

    [Reply]

  69. k, well ive been reading over some of these comments about the berkshire mall.

    1st of all. feeding your infant is very important. but breastfeeding out in public or at a mall is tacky, disgusting and inconsiderate to the people around you. so please. pump it at home. and bring it along in a bottle.

    2nd of all. who cares if there is no water in the fountain?? GET OVER IT. and who cares what signs or the seats look like. your at the mall to shop. not sit your butt down and look at water. if you want to look at water. fill your bathtub up. and look at that..atleast the mall is nice and dont look messed up. who cares if signs are from the 50’s?.

    3rd of all. if certain places smell…..AVOID THEM. or go to the manager of the store and tell them it smells and they should do something about it, or they are gonna lose business.

    and last but not least. if all your going to do is whine and complain about the smell, signs, lack of water in the fountain etc.. shut your mouth and STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
    GOING THERE!!!!! find a different mall to go to if you do not like berkshire. its not that hard, there are other malls in the area. ex. fairgrounds mall.

    [Reply]

  70. What are the original anchors at Coventry Mall?

    [Reply]

  71. It’s funny how these things go in and out of style. People alternate between decades of wanting more wide open space, then wanting more intimate shopping areas. Downtowns have been declared for shopping for years now Walmart and strip malls have killed the larger, enclosed shopping malls that took downtown out of the equation. So in some respects, its turnabout as fair play

    [Reply]

  72. @Dom, Boscovs was formerly the bon-ton. before that it was pomeroys. i worked for the bon-ton in 1993. the landlord terminated our lease because we would not enlarge the store to 2 levels. although the business was on fire (we had a 1 million dollar increase in 1992) the bon ton did not want to expand. apparently there was a clause in the lease that if the company went into bankruptcy, they could terminate our lease with out negotiation. Although the bon-ton was financially sound, the bankrupcty of pomeroys gave them the right to term our lease when we refused to expand. the plan was to come back into coventry and it did when they bought hess’s, however the company closed that bon ton as well. it did not do as well the first time

    [Reply]

    Dom Reply:

    @ed, who owned Coventry-mall at that time? What store was before Hess’s? And is Sears original? I think a Labelscar site should be made for Coventry-Mall too!

    [Reply]

  73. i had worse experience of my life at Boscov’s in Berkshire mall. the sales associate at jewelry counter was obnoxious, incompetent, arrrogant, and most importantly bigette.
    she must know someone at boscov’s to have a job at most expensive merchandise counter in the whole store at holiday time.

    [Reply]

    Torasila Reply:

    @Rasila Thakkar-Podolak,
    I have the best customer service by the nicest people at The Lehigh Valley Mall Boscovs when I bought a gift there in the jewerly department

    [Reply]

  74. I have been reading the comments on the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing. I grew up in the area and frequented the mall for the last 40 years. The mall is kind of retro-cool but needs updating if it is going to compete in today’s tough economic market. I believe the restaurant/cafeteria next to Woolworth’s was a Harvest House Coffee Shop. Thats where we usually ate at the mall unless my grandmother treated so we could eat at Wanamaker’s!

    The original stores were:
    Sears (still in its original location but “remodeled” many times). Two Floors. Its a pretty large store but now seems to be stripped of all character – sort of like a big, ugly bland warehouse with cheap merchandise.
    Lit’s (became Pomeroy’s then Bon-Ton) Two Floors. Large for a Bon-Ton. The store is in pretty good shape having been updated many times but not nearly as nice as the new Park City store. The exterior is really bad with showcase windows painted over in black paint (doesn’t make you want to shop there) – white brick with black stains running down needs to be cleaned up.
    John Wanamaker (became Hecht’s then Strawbridges, closed then Boscov’s bought it) Three Floors. This has been touted as one of Boscov’s best stores. They did a pretty extensive renovation when they acquired the store but could have done more. It is probably one of their nicer stores.

    Although the mall is clean, it just looks shabby and run down…very little money spent on upkeep. There seems to be no direction to improve anything other than bare bones maintenance. How hard would it be to get the lighting in the fountains working, replace worn out flooring or water stained ceiling tiles?

    The current stores are actually pretty up to date. There are some vacancies but that is to be expected with the state of retail today. There have been lots of rumors of a “Fresh Market” coming to the mall and added pad sites in the parking lot but nothing has materialized. I don’t think this mall is much of a priority for Allied Properties (the current owner) which is unfortunate because there is a lot of competition in the region now. Almost every other mall within 50 miles has been updated. The Berkshire mall is treated like the “ugly step-child” no one wants.

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  75. anybody know who the owners are of the mall –not just the management compnay thanks

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  76. This is the mall where the nut walk text and fell into the water fountain lol

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  77. Holy crap Scribbles was amazing! This mall’s “mascot” was a butterfly as I recall- that sign by the highway had one on it forever that got covered up by that ghetto blue and white vinyl clinger. Anyone else remember the butterfly(s)?

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  78. The gateway store is GONE, Tweeter is GONE as well, There is now a 5 below taking up half of where tweeter is and I’m not sure what happened to the gateway store. I’m trying to find info for what stores occupied the mall from the mid- late 80’s. Anybody have any ideas? I already know about the Strawbriges and other anchor stores. Looking for the regular stores thanks.

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  79. new sportscards store best i saws in manys years in berkshire mall

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  80. Scribbles and York Steak House were in the Fairgrounds Mall not in Berkshire. I totally remember Gadgets although I was only about 5-6 years old when it was open. I thought the Looney Toons were awesome. Someone in my family worked at Croll and Keck a man’s store which I think sold mostly suits. I think it was down where Express is now. I remember being in the store and seeing mens suits all over. I also remember a stuffed toy store to the right of what used to be Pomeroy’s called Fluf ‘n’ Stuf. I always tried to go in there to get a toy. It was a tiny store. I also remember Woolworth’s restaurant cuz you could see inside it from the mall. And the store was kind of like a Rite Aid or CVS.

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    Amanda Reply:

    @Steph, Awesome!! You jogged my memory :) I loved Fluf ‘n Stuf!!

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    Jason Reply:

    @Steph,

    I remember Fluff-n-Stuff!…..I was a member of their sticker of the month club. I also remember a custom t-shirt maker store across from them.

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    Denise Reply:

    @Steph, I worked at York Steak House in the Berkshire Mall too – it was there.

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  81. Ah, the Berkshire Mall. First off, balls to all you who want the decor changed. “Worn out floors,”?? I could still walk around fine last time I was there (about a week ago). And the white atomic age seating in the center is the frick’n bee’s knees. Now for the reminiscing….I’ll try to give it as much order as possible. I remember a lot that wasn’t mentioned, but I’m not gonna talk about anything that closed recently (i.e. the last four or five years).

    Here’s what I can remember, keep in mind I’m only 25 (dob 1986).

    -The awesome parking lot lighting. Funny I forgot all about these until just now, even though I didn’t even realize they were gone. I guess I just figured they were still there.

    -Pomeroy’s

    -Though it was closed before I was born (or before I have any memory) I believe I remember my brother’s talking about a Show Biz pizza on the second floor to the left of Pomeroy’s.

    -An arcade on the second floor with an orange neon sign in a computer like font, which then became Aladin’s Castle for a good while.

    -Radio Shack used to be on the second floor to the right of Pomeroy’s, there was still a label scar for it up until about ten years ago.

    -I remember a record store toward the Sear’s end right next to where K.B Toy’s was but I don’t remember the name. Could this have been Wall 2 Wall?

    -The end of the front wing where Champ’s is now used to be C.P.I Photo Finish.

    -In between Tobaccoland and C.P.I was a Taco Casa, this closed and Taco Casa left the mall, then a few years later came back upstairs in the food court where Subway is now.

    -Near the center where the Rite Aid and customer service desk are, there were a few restaurants. I believe there was a Burger King, which relocated upstairs once the food court opened, and next to that was a Sbarro which also relocated upstairs. I can still remember the fake meats and cheeses hanging from the ceiling in the Sbarro, mocking the old-school Italian pizza joints in New York.

    -Across from Sbarro and Burger King was the Core States bank.

    -Electronics Boutique was, I believe two spaces to the left of where it is now, and to it’s right was Penn Savings Bank.

    -Across from Electronics Boutique was a men’s shoe store. I think it was Hanover but it might have been Florsheim.

    -Next to the shoe store was a Hagendaas.

    -Does anybody else remember the clocks that used to be at either end of the mall? Sort of atomic age in design. They were dark green spheres and I’m pretty sure I remember them not having numbers on ‘em.

    -Deb’s, although still there, I think used to look totally disco. If it wasn’t the one at the Berkshire than it was the one at Fairgrounds, but I remember a weird reflective bubbly facade, almost reminiscent of an old school flash cube.

    -I remember being sad in about ’96 or maybe even as late as ’97 when Woolworth’s closed. They halved it and it became the Disney Store and Gateway Country (could they have done any worse?). I can remember getting NES games there as a kid, the electronics department was way in the back right corner. In front of that were the toys and in front of that pets. And wasn’t there a counter up front that used to serve cafeteria like food?

    -I can’t remember the name of the restaurant next to Woolworth’s but I do remember that they served hearty, home style, truck stop type food and kind of had a truck stop look to it as well.

    -Record Town used to be next to Rite Aid when the food court opened.

    -Not a piece of nostalgia, but for the record, I believe the fountains were turned off because of drought.

    -I’m pretty sure there used to be a walk in Orange Julius but I can’t remember where. I can still remember the glass counters filled with the fake plastic oranges, and all the 70’s Kodachrome pictures of the food.

    -Across from Woolworth’s was Structure, which I don’t think closed all that long ago, and next to that was a preppy, Brook’s Brothers-ish, men’s clothing store called J. Riggings.

    -I do remember the butterflies. I remember they were on the sign in the food court parking lot, and they were embossed in the old handles to the doors and painted blue.

    -I wasn’t gonna mention Wannamaker’s cause it’s already been talked about and questioned and answered too much but, I have to remark, I still pass the mall on 422 all the time and when I look at the Boscov’s /old Wannamaker’s it makes me smile. It’s a beautiful piece of understated architecture. Long swooping lines and simple geometric shapes. And as for the eagle mentioned earlier, I don’t really remember it when it was at the mall, but I do know for a fact that when Wannamaker’s went out of business, they sold their eagle statues, which I guess were at a good amount of their stores, to schools who’s sports teams had eagles for mascots. The one from the Berkshire store was sold to my high school, Exeter Township, about ten miles away, and it’s still there.

    -The World Of Science was all the way in the back towards where Boscov’s now is. It then moved to the front of the mall where C.P.I. was, then moved one more time, next to K.B Toys before shutting down for good.

    -Just an idea I had, I think some of the weird smell the Berkshire has, and a lot of other older malls for that matter, might possibly still be from all the cigarette smoke from back in the day. Just a thesis I had on that.

    -Spencer’s who’s still there, used to be more towards the front of the mall, I think where Bath and Body Works is. If not there right by there.

    -Across from Spencer’s was a GNC. I can’t remember if there’s one still there, or if there is one, if it’s in the same spot. But I remember GNC’s old look. Orange lettered sign, dark green carpet and dull lighting.

    -At the front, where Tweeter was, was not a part of Woolworth’s but the aforementioned fabric store. I’m pretty sure it was called So Fro Fabric but it might have been a JoAnn Fabric.

    -I think I just remembered where the Orange Julius was, I think it was right past Woolworth’s next to the corner space that used to be the Coffee Beanery, before they moved up front.

    -As for the food court. County Fair Berk’s Dogs is definitely original, as I’m pretty sure Chick-Fil-A is. The Chinese restaurant used to be a much uglier Chinese restaurant called the Uni Wok.

    -The Wall was toward the back, near where Deb is. I remember when I was a kid they still sold 45’s there.

    -I remember the kiddie rides up front. There was a KITT from Knight Rider and a stupid Robot that just went up and down and would speak in a robotic voice “WANT-A-RIDE? WANT-A-RIDE?”.

    -This has been oddly extremely gratifying. If I can think of anything I left out for the Berkshire I’ll post it. I think I might do this again with Coventry and Fairgrounds. If I can’t find a dedicated blog for those two, I’ll post for them here.

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    Joie Reply:

    @Kevin M.,
    There was a dress store called Ormond’s that had big swoopy entrances. And a screen printing shirt in front of Pomeroy’s. I can’t remember if they are still there, but there were escalators in front of the bank.

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    emil m Reply:

    @Joie,

    Hi joie,
    I remember going to berkshire mall when i was 5
    yrs old with my father,when i lived in reading.
    the large center water fountain i always remember sitting there eating a soft pretzel with a cherry slushie,at lunchtime dad would take me to the food court 2nd floor and eating a salad with thousand island dressing i would look down at the fountain.
    i would take those umblella toothpicks an dropping
    them and watching them sail down to hit the water.
    and waiting for my dad at sears water fountain, i would wait hours waiting for him.
    then i would dissapear to the toy store next to sears ( i think it was called rainbow toystore).
    then at dinnertime he would take me to the diner at the rear of sears store but when we got there it was closed.what is the name of that diner at the rear part of sears in the 70s
    now I am living in florida 42 ys old now my dad passed away and when I saw these pics of berkshire mall I had a weeping fit because of the memories of him and me when i was 5yrs old.

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  82. I feel like there was also a Hickory Farms here. I know there was one at Coventry for sure, but I feel like another one of my frequented malls had one too. And I know it wasn’t Fairgrounds, so I’m pretty sure there was one somewhere at Berkshire.

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    Joie Reply:

    @Kevin M.,
    yes, there was a hickory farms too

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  83. @Kevin M, Hickory Farms was at Fairgrounds, next to Chess King in those weird 5-point intersections at either end of the mall. It was next to Wee Three Records, which later became The Wall.

    Ah, the Berkshire. I worked at Electronics Boutique in the early 90’s, and used to get free pretzels from The Bavarian Pretzel Girls.

    Does anyone remember the shady Gadgets disappearing story? They were behind on rent (owed 10s of thousands) and just packed up and took off in the middle of the night, leaving behind lots of the fixtures in the restaurant. I remember a Chuck E Cheese being at the Berkshire for a short period of time, too.

    My favorite memory, and bare with me here, it was quite a long time ago, was when the World of Science was catty-corner from Shenk and Tittle near Sears. (They were first in that spot, then moved to the little counter near KB Toys) I lost my virginity in the stock room next to the WOS on a bag of styrofoam peanuts.

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  84. That’s a fucking hilarious story. And actually, before the World of Science was catty corner to Shenk and Tittle it was way in the back, I believe where Spencer’s is now, which at the time Spencers was closer to the front of the mall, I think around where Hollister’s is now.

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  85. Not many people know that there used to be a carousel inside the Mall.And the name of the Woolworths restaurant was Harvest House.

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    Joseph Webb Reply:

    @terry, I remember the carousel. My parents took me and my sisters and brother to the Berkshire Mall in Easter of 1972 to ride the carousel. My Father died of cancer that same year so I remember the carousel a lot. Here is a link to the carousel
    http://goreadingberks.com/shares/images/berkshiremalleaster1972carousel.jpg

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  86. This is the only decent mall left in Reading. In both The Fairgrounds Square Mall and the VF Outlet Village everything closes and does not get replaced. The worst is the VF Outletmall they lost so much. Since they opened and up until 5 years ago they use to get bus loads of people and have a bunch of stores to shop at. Currently they did away with the 3rd floor in the red building which had a nice clearance center and I think I remember a small hallway with a few stores leading to it. Because of that many of the stores on the thrid floor of the Blue building which was right across the walk way closed and the stores that are left dont get anone in them. In the designers building they lost most of their stores on the upstairs and their Godiva boutique. They even had this really good mom and pop coffee shop that closed one day too. The food court use to have a McDonalds, a good gelato shop, and a stand selling Sweet Street deserts all of which are gone.On the one side of the food court was a nice little general store that sold a lot of nice merchandise that the tourists and locals enjoyed and they shuttered a few years now and right across from that was a Bachman’s pretzel outlet which sold snacks and amazing soft pretzels. They moved where KB Toys was (who closed because whole chain closed) and I heard that location closed too now. On the other side of the food court was a nice store called Nanny’s and they closed. Then in the bottom of the red building was a Paper Factory which closed with the enitre chain and was not replaced and a big Liz Claiborne outlet which closed although that was replaced by a Toys R Us express. Then on the otherside was a 2 floor book outlet that closed, a Black and Decker Outlet which closed and they both did not get replaced. What they need to do is take the now vacant floor in the red building and the spaces in the third floor of the blue building and build an indoor mall with the more upscale outlet stores that are at the Philadelphia outlets and if they can all be inside that would attract more tourists plus that would help with whats left downstairs. Then next to thje succesful Reading China and Glass I think the Jc Penny outlet should move there from the Fairgrounds Mall and take up the rest of the Designers building and the VF Outlet Village would be a ncie place to shop again.

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  87. I used to live close to this mall and go to it all the time to hang out and shop in the mid to late 80’s. Does anyone remember the huge Mastiff dog (I believe his name was Homer) that used to sleep at the entrance to the pet shop? It was the owners dog I believe. I remember watching him eat whole slices of pizza in one bite! We used to always check out the Pet Shop, stop at Arby’s (think it was next to the pet shop), cruise down to Mrs. Fields, the arcade, before making our way to the record store and the kiosk out in front of it that always had cool tie dye stuff and friendship bracelets. Ahh the good ole days…

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  88. I just had an awesome trip down memory lane! The Berkshire Mall was such a big part of my “growing up.” When we were four, my twin sister and I had our ears pierced at the Kaleidoscope. It was a jewelry store located right next to the Baskin Robbins. If memory serves me right, you walked up a small ramp into a completely round store. My favorite memory is during Christmastime when they would transform the center court into a “Christmas walk through.” The fountain, in the center, was covered up with flooring and you would walk through animated Christmas scenes that led to Santa. Wanamakers also had a secret Santa shop for little kids. My sister and I talk about these memories every Christmas. Oh how I wish I had pictures of that animated Christmas walk through.

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  89. Hmm… yeah for the life of me for some I don’t recall Woolworths being in this mall, although I probably was there, and the memories are just merged with my memories of Woolworths in Park City. Was Woolworths accessible from the Mall?

    Thanks Kevin, it was So Fro! For ages I couldn’t remember the name of the little fabric store, and then when Kevin M said So Fro, I punched it in Google and found the old logo which I immediately recognized.

    Yeah I kind of miss the old mall sign, it’s a shame that wind storm shredded it up. Overall though the mall as of late seems to be doing well for itself. If a store goes out, it doesn’t seem too long before a new one goes in. There is even an Arcade now where the Rite Aid used to be.

    BTW update about Rite Aid, right after they pulled out of the mall, an odds and ends type of store went in there, and didn’t last too long. Now there is a pretty cool arcade in there. Also, Rite Aid of course built a brand new building on State Hill Rd across from the old Weis plaza. now that building is occupied by Star Bucks, Salad Works and the Reading Hospital.

    Speaking of Berkshire Mall West, yeah now I do remember Acme used to be in where the AC Moore is now, though I don’t think my mom ever shopped there. I think it was just because we always shopped at Redners, although for some reason it seems like all the Acme’s were closed up be the time we moved to Berks in ’93. Two places I really miss from there though is Circuit City, and Chi Chi’s.

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  90. There was definitely a Hickory Farms and a Thom Mcan shoe store, a Casual Corners and a Slack Shack. I’m talking late 70s thru late 80s/early 90s era. And Fluf n Stuff next to Pomeroys–that brings back memories. Had no memory of what that store was called, but remember it well. Got my Hello Kitty fix there. There was also a Dippin Dots at some point, maybe early 90s. And yes, a Baskin Robbins. Loved the bubblegum ice cream as a kid. A very early Gap store down by Sears (I think) before it was anything like the Gap of today. A Lane Bryant was there at some point. Spencer’s. And Bavarian Pretzel for a soft pretzel and a cherry slushy. Those were the days. Have not been back in probably 20 years.

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  91. I was in a fashion show at Wanamakers when I was four years old, back in the early 70s. Bought by Gloria Vanderbilt jeans there in the late 70s/early 80s and my Guess ankle zip jeans there in the late 80s. Memories.

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