Like other businesses, the Cranberry Mall felt the economic impact of COVID-19 during 2020. But this past year brought hope that things are getting back to normal.

“It had me leery there for a while,” said Cranberry Mall property manager Jeff Clark. “But I think things are coming back around to more normal.”

“This year, the movie theater was closed part of the beginning of this year. But (business) has started to pick up. Christmas seemed really good and busy… The stores all seemed to do good during the Christmas season,” Clark said.

The past year saw a few businesses come and go at the mall. Label Shopper left during mid-summer, and Kreative Kuts moved out as well.

Clark said Kreative Kuts “needed a bigger space, and we just couldn’t accommodate them.”

Although it lost two tenants, the mall gained one new tenant. The Bargain Bin, a variety bargain store, opened Dec. 1 at the mall.

The Bargain Bin brings the total number of tenants at the mall to more than 30.

Clark said there is space available for more tenants.

“We still have space. We have people call every now and then, but some of the time we don’t have quite what they need,” he said.

Although there have been ups and downs for the mall in the past year, Clark said he is still optimistic.

“The main thing was recovering from COVID,” he said. “This year, I believe it is kind of back to normal.”

Being “back to normal” means that the mall hosted its regular events, including car cruises and the annual fireworks show on July 2.

Clark said these events drew a lot of people to the mall.

He said he got good feedback about High Above 80, a Cranberry-based band that was featured during the fireworks celebration.

Last year, the Cranberry Festival was held for the second time at the Cranberry Mall. Because of health and safety concerns, the festival was moved in 2020 from Morrison Park in Seneca to the mall, which could better accommodate a modified drive-through format for the festival.

Although many more people participated in the 2021 festival, organizers decided to keep it at the mall instead of returning to the park. A decision about where the 2022 event will be held has yet to be made, Clark said.

“From the feedback I got from last year, I believe they are going to do it again (at the mall.) We have more open area. It was packed last year. The committee was very happy with doing it out here. There was more parking area,” Clark said.

Some other events are on the schedule to bring in foot traffic to the mall during 2022.

An Outdoor Expo will be held from March 11-13.

Clark said that the Outdoor Expo features sporting shop displays throughout the mall and seminars on fishing and hunting. The game commission will be present at the event as well.

A spring race car show will be held March 17-19.

“Normally we have quite a few cars (on display), a little bit of everything. There is a big variety,” Clark said.

Clark said that the show boasts around 40 cars and go-carts.

New this year will be a preseason kick-off party hosted by Lockhart Raceway from 4 to 9 p.m. at the location of the former Champs Sports Store, across from the Shoe Department.

The event will feature an overview of the upcoming racing season and provide information about the raceway. There will be pizza and drinks, Clark said.

The Relay for Life team will host a spring vendor show Saturday, March 26.

Clark said Relay for Life may host additional vendor shows throughout the year, depending on their schedule, but the dates have yet to be announced.

On Saturday, June 18, the first annual Kelly D. O’Neil Car Cruise will be held at the Cranberry Mall, in memory of Kelly O’Neil.

Another car show will cruise into the mall parking lot Saturday, July 30. The Ma & Pa Cars for a Cure car show will be hosted by the Ewing Sarcoma Foundation.

In September, the Petrolia Lodge 363 of Oil City will host its fourth annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Fundraiser car show in the parking lot near the former Sears location at the mall.

A date for this event has yet to be established, Clark said.

Tenants

7 Deadly Stitches – handmade wallets, purses, messenger bags, hooded bath towels, key chains, custom embroidery and more

Allegheny BBQ Supply – barbecue sauces, rubs, spices, accessories, cookbooks and more

Alyssa’s Amazing Accessories – jewelry and more for just $5

Asian Express – Asian food

Bath & Body Works – soaps, lotions, fragrances, candles and more

Cranberry Place – senior center

Cranberry Wellness Center – quality vitamins and more, inside God’s Little Garden

DAPA Decor – Handcrafted items, wooden decor, crochet items and more

Dr. Brooker Regional Nephrology – kidney specialist

Dunham’s Sports – sporting goods

God’s Little Garden – organic foods, vitamins and more

Inspire Me Gifts & More – jewelry, candles, home decor, hand-dyed items, personalized jewelry and more

Jeanne’s Pottery – handcrafted pottery, clothing and more

JoAnn Fabric – crafts, fabric and more

Jones Party Magic – bouncy houses and more, private parties

Lee’s Nails – nail salon

Maurice’s – women’s clothing

The Movies at Cranberry – cinema

Nell’s Crafts – home decor and gifts

Oil City Dialysis Center – dialysis care

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet – bargain store

PA Pride LLC – trucking school

PAWSitively Fun Dog Training – dog training

RCS Designs – scrimshaw, custom printing on mugs, posters, T-shirts and more

Sassy Mama’s – food items, candles, handcrafted items and more

Shoe Department – shoe store

The Bargain Bin – variety bargain store

Two Cousins Pizza – Italian food restaurant

Venango County Co-Op – indoor flea market

Wool & Ewe – wool crafting items and art

LAURA O’NEIL, reporter for The Derrick and The News-Herald, can be reached at lauraoneil.thederrick@gmail.com or (814) 677-8357.

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Like other businesses, the Cranberry Mall felt the economic impact of COVID-19 during 2020. But this past year brought hope that things are getting back to normal.

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Forest County commissioners continue to work on broadband expansion and improved ambulance services, among other projects, to better serve the resident of the county.