WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. — The Lehigh Valley Mall welcomed two new retail tenants amid the busy holiday shopping season.
Lovisa, a global jewelry brand, and Otaku House, a store featuring anime merchandise, opened in mid-December at the two-story mall on MacArthur Road and Route 22 in Whitehall Township.
Lovisa occupies a first-level space that previously housed edible cookie dough chain Dough Life, while Otaku House operates in a second-level space that previously housed Norman’s Hallmark.
“We offer all kinds of anime merchandise – from stickers, keychains, and figures to toys, apparel, and pillows,” said Otaku House employee Joey Fernandez. “We plan to restock soon as the past two weeks have been very busy.”
Born out of a need for “trendy fashion jewelry at ready-to-wear prices,” Lovisa was established in April 2010 and has grown to include more than 600 stores in 25 countries, according to the Lovisa website. the company.
The Lehigh Valley Mall store is the brand’s first location in Lehigh Valley, with other regional outposts operating in Pottstown, Montgomery County and Bridgewater and Lawrence Township, New Jersey.
The company’s trend-spotting departments around the world draw inspiration from couture runways and current street style to bring “must-have new styles” to its target audience, fashion-conscious women aged 25 to 45 years old. More than 150 new models are delivered to stores every week.
“We offer jewelry as well as other accessories like hair clips, scarves, and bridal pieces like tiaras,” store manager Amy Cabrera said.
The openings follow a slew of other retail and restaurant changes at the Lehigh Valley Mall over the past year.
The resort, which opened in 1976 and added an outdoor lifestyle center in 2007, has seen the closure of two restaurants and the opening of two more retailers in recent months.
Closings include Almost Vegan, which closed in late summer after less than a year on the mall’s second level (across from Lens Crafters), and Bravo! Italian Kitchen, which closed in October after a year-long return to the mall’s outdoor lifestyle hub (next to Murphy Jewelers).
Almost vegan, a pescatarian cafe offering wild seafood, plant-based dishes and organic smoothies, opened in 2020 on Liberty Street in Allentown.
Husband-and-wife co-owners Anthony and Nadia Alexander in February moved the restaurant to the mall’s former Subway location for more space and foot traffic.
Bravo!, a chain of full-service Italian restaurants serving lasagna, spaghetti bolognese and other favorites, had been a staple of the mall’s 15-year-old lifestyle center before closing in early March 2020. of the pandemic, then to reopen in October 2021 .
The company’s former parent company, FoodFirst Global Restaurants Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2020 after months-long issues with labor costs, staff turnover and several underperforming restaurants, according to court documents.
The negative effects of the pandemic only made matters worse for FoodFirst, which eventually sold 45 restaurants to Orlando-based Earl Enterprises, which also owns Planet Hollywood, Buca di Beppo and other chains.
Other recent additions to the mall include Better Life With Bry, featuring natural and handmade body, home and cleaning products, which opened in September on the first level (across from Verizon Wireless ); and Chrystols Shoetique, offering women’s shoes, handbags and other accessories, which opened in October on the second level (next to Country Memories).
Better Life With Bry owner Bryanna Tomkins previously operated her business through a mall kiosk for several months in early 2022. Natural and locally made products include body scrubs, body washes, lotions, foaming hand soap, essential oils, all-purpose cleanser and soy candles and fondants.
Chrystols Shoetique, owned by Chrystol Warde, offers a wide range of footwear including boots, flats, heels, sneakers and wedges, as well as fashion accessories such as bags, gloves, scarves, fedoras, jewelry and sunglasses.
Additionally, T-Mobile is preparing to move from its lower-tier location near Boscov to a larger lower-tier space between Better Life with Bry and Love in the coming months.
New tenants join more than 140 Lehigh Valley Mall businesses, including other additions in 2022 And Pose Selfie Salon (providing a creative space designed for taking photos or videos), Rivals Indoor Battlefield (providing a fun and safe environment to play with Nerf Rival guns), Hamsa Exoticz (offering snacks and cold drinks from various countries), NYC Gyro (restaurant offering American and international cuisine), Indian Bite (take-out restaurant offering authentic Indian cuisine), Cloud City (selling games, comics and toys), Warby Parker (offering glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and eye exams).