Pines Plaza in Ross gets 'fresh look,' some new tenants

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Owners of Pines Plaza in Ross Township say the plaza is getting a “new fresh look” to accompany a few new tenants.

Ed Kernisky, vice president of Union Real Estate, which owns the strip shopping center on Perry Highway, the shopping center is getting a new façade. It is home to Shop 'n Save, Pines Plaza Lanes, Rite Aid, Kelly O's Diner, Legions Hobbies & Games, Bodytech Gym and other tenants.

Scaffolding and temporary signs have covered the fronts of the shopping center's businesses recently, as the new façade and roof are being installed.

“It really is a busy center,” Kernisky said. “Ideally, you have a grocery store, drug store, wine and spirits in a plaza because it's convenient for shoppers.

Pines Plaza has all three key components since a Fine Wine & Good Spirits store opened there in November. A Vocelli Pizza location also opened in the plaza recently, according to Kernisky.

Tim Gasper, owner of longtime tenant Werner Jewelers, said that the storefront where the wine and liquor store is sat empty for several years after a carpet store closed.

“(The liquor store) definitely brings in a lot more traffic than a carpet store, which is great,” he said.

He said that he recently remodeled the inside of his store, so the plaza refurbishment is well-timed. He plans to purchase a new outdoor sign once the exterior work is complete.

“For us, it'll definitely look different,” Gasper said.

Audrey Guskey, a business professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, said the success of strip malls such of Pines Plaza is based on “location, location, location.”

“Strip malls are having a resurrection,” said Guskey, who noted that indoor malls are falling out of fashion with consumers.

She said Pines Plaza is well positioned for success.

The plaza has destination activities, such as the new Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark and Party Center, the Pines Plaza Lanes bowling alley and Legions, where several hundred people visit some nights for gaming events.

“We get some curious onlookers from neighbors like the liquor store,” Legions owner Rob Pernell said.

He said Legions — which hosts the Pittsburgh Slotcar Racing League, game nights for the card game “Magic: The Gathering” and tournaments for “Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles,” is a busy store.

“It's nice to see improvements here,” Pernell said about the upgrades. Having restaurants nearby is helpful for his business, he said.

Fun Slides owner Don Edwards, whose other carpet-sliding park is in Greensburg, said demographics are what drew him to the North Hills location.

His business opened in late May, and, he said, he has a lot of customers since the grand opening.

“We love it. It's been great,” he said.

He didn't know improvements were planned for the plaza when he leased the space but said it's an “awesome surprise.”

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

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