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Laurel Mall in Dunbar Township plans grand reopening

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
KnottybeadsforU is a unique store that has been in the Laurel Mall for nearly five years. It is located at the entrance of the former Metzler’s Department Store. Eva Metzger, 6, likes to help owner Denise Kaydo (right) with signs and merchandising in the store.
Nancy Henry | for the Daily Courier
KnottybeadsforU is a unique store that has been in the Laurel Mall for nearly five years. It is located at the entrance of the former Metzler’s Department Store. Eva Metzger, 6, likes to help owner Denise Kaydo (right) with signs and merchandising in the store.

The Laurel Mall in Dunbar Township will undergo a rebirth of sorts with a grand reopening on Saturday.

“We are increasing our business base here, revitalizing the mall with more tenants and expanding the flea market,” said Joey Escalona, director of business development at Laurel Mall. “People who want to sell their wares can rent tables or spaces at low prices. We have a wonderful mix here. There is great value in a venue like this for sellers and buyers.

“During the grand reopening Saturday, there will be prizes including flat screen TVs and DVD players. Everyone is invited to stop in, look around and shop, see all the unique items our merchants have for sale,” Escalona continued, noting that a Highlands Hospital physician's office will open at the mall on April 1 and an Internet cafe will be opening soon.

Built in the early 1970s, the mall had three anchor stores until the late 1980s, when Metzler's space was turned into a flea market. That left two anchor stores — Ames and Montgomery Ward.

Wards closed in 2001, and Ames closed in 2002. Later that year, a Shop ‘N Save moved to the Wards parcel, and then left in 2005. Pechin Superfoods complex then moved in and is still there.

In addition, there are Carmike IV Cinemas and Burger King.

Negotiations are under way with Family Dollar, Subway and Goodwill.

As time went on, the mall's inside shops closed, and in 2008, the mall was purchased by a entity from Florida, Gator Laurel Partners of Miami Beach. It opened a flea market in the mall corridors in November 2008, and some stores opened.

In October 2009, all but the former Eckerd and Ames stores were leased out.

The grand reopening will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Laurel Mall has been an ideal place for private guitar instruction,” said Gene McFadden, who teaches all kinds of guitar music, by the book or whatever the student wants. “I have been here for over a year. It's funny, because when I first began teaching decades ago, I was at Fulton Piano and Organ here at Laurel Mall. It's the first place that I started giving lessons. I was teaching guitar at an organ and piano store.”

McFadden is at Booth #38 on Sundays. He has quite a few students and times available for more.

“I have students from Dunbar and Uniontown. It's convenient for them to come to Laurel Mall,” McFadden said. “The rent is reasonable. There are all kinds of things offered for sale here — everything from antiques to gold to videos — and the management is easy to work with.”

Anyone interested in setting up guitar lessons can reach McFadden at 724-628-0394.

Kathryn's Jewelry of Connellsville has had a store in the Laurel Mall since it reopened.

“This has been a good venue for us,” said Joe Orszulak of Kathryn's Jewelry. “There is a lot of foot traffic and customers. We are open here Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. We have a sampling of our gold, silver, diamonds, coins and paper currency from our main store.”

Orszulak said it's a convenient location for people from the Uniontown area who want to sell their gold and silver coins and jewelry. “People can also drop off their repairs here, get new watch batteries — the same services we offer at our main location, plus there is a sampling of goods we have at our Connellsville store.”

“I have had my business at Laurel Mall nearly five years,” said Denise Kaydo, owner of Knottybeads4U. “It's a hippie store with a family atmosphere. We sell fragrance oils, essential oils, incense — the biggest selection around — all kinds of tie-dye, newborn onesies up to 5XL, a vast selection.”

The shop is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I enjoy my customers,” she continued. “I meet all kinds of interesting people from all over the place. We all enjoy sharing really great stories about the '60s. We like to reminisce.

“Since I've had this store here I've met 10 different people who were at Woodstock and a woman who personally knew Bob Marley. Coming in my shop takes people back to when they were young and carefree. It makes people happy to walk in here.”

Visit her Facebook page for more information.

A group of friends who meet every Sunday at the Laurel Mall include Larry Conroy, Bob Cook, Ed McMaster and Butch Porter. They call it a meeting of the minds and enjoy spending time talking and watching all the shoppers.

The Laurel Mall is located at 1952 University Drive, Route 119, Dunbar Township. For information on leasing opportunities, call 724-626-0160.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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