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Lower Saucon's Long-Lost Supermarket: What Should Go Here?

The March 2011 closure of the Lower Saucon Pathmark store—which first opened in the late 1990s as a SuperFresh, and was unsuccessfully rebranded after about a decade of operation—has left a void for many township residents.

It's been nearly three years since the former Pathmark supermarket in the Saucon Square shopping center on Rt. 378 in Lower Saucon Township closed.

At the time, it was hoped that another retailer would fill the space relatively quickly. But that hasn't happened.

And the closure of the store—which first opened in the late 1990s as a SuperFresh, only to be unsuccessfully rebranded after about a decade of operation—has left a void for many township residents who used to shop there.

The lack of tax revenue has also become a concern for local officials, who late last year approved the formation of a Lower Saucon Township economic development task force to help attract more businesses to the area.

One goal of the task force is to seek input from members of the public.

In the past, some Patch readers have expressed hope that an upscale grocery chain such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's will open a store in the shopping center.

Other readers have said they would prefer a local grocery store—such as Valley Farm Market, which has locations in Allentown and Bethlehem.

In an email shared by a Patch reader, a Valley Farm representative said the company is "always considering new locations" and is aware of the Rt. 378 vacancy.

Another reader said she is under the impression that a fitness center will open in the shopping center in the spring, although that hasn't been confirmed. 

Since 2011, one ray of hope for the beleaguered Rt. 378 commercial corridor in the township was the 2013 opening of Revolutions at Saucon Valley—a large dining and entertainment venue that occupies the former Regal Cinemas multiplex on the other side of the shopping center parking lot from where Pathmark was.

However, several other smaller retail spaces in the center remain vacant, and most have been empty for some time.

A sign posted in the window of the former Pathmark as of Tuesday listed contact information for leasing agent Greg Goldberg of Retail Properties of America Inc. (RPAI), which owns the shopping center and has information about the vacant storefronts posted on its website.

According to its RPAI portfolio page, the shopping center should be attractive to potential tenants because it is "conveniently located on heavily traveled Route 378, serving the affluent community of Lower Saucon Valley."

The average household income of homes within a one-mile radius of the shopping center is $123,881, according to demographic information posted on the RPAI site, which also features photos, an aerial view of the center and other information, such as a property brochure.

What do you envision for the site of the former Pathmark? Would you like to see another grocery store open there, or would you prefer to see a different type of business altogether, such as a gym? If there's a specific business that you would like to see attracted to the area, please specify it in the comments section.

If you have ideas for the new task force being formed to help attract businesses to Lower Saucon Township, please feel free to share those as well.
busybody January 13, 2014 at 08:15 PM
The shoping center has dried up. Probably due to 1. High cost of permits todo anything in LST, not to mention how long ittakes them to decide, 2, high sale price, 3. High taxes and 4. High cost to rent the space once allis said and done. Greedy people will always be greedy. That said, put in a Marshalls/HomeGoods. And you have a shopping mecca. Build out. A few spots for LADIES WHO LUNCH and the younger crowd who want to hit. M/HG after work on pay day, then stop. Into a WINE, TAPPAS AND DESSERT BAR. Something for everyone, the parking lot will be full.
busybody January 13, 2014 at 08:19 PM
Also, youcanget to. any one on the 3Wegmans in 20 minutes fronSaucon Valley by taking the highways. I do it all thetime.
mcbar January 14, 2014 at 07:32 AM
I really don't know?????Where is a Wegmans i can get to within 20 min. from Hellertown????
Justthefacts January 14, 2014 at 08:02 AM
mcbar - I'd like to know the same thing! Busybody must live in Lower Saucon and not in Hellertown.....because there is no way you can get anywhere in 20 minutes if you live in town!!! Oh wait....yes, you can (maybe) get from Crossroads to Saucon Park in 20 minutes!!!
busybody January 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM
First of all, the highway project will not go on forever. I do go from Hellertown, I just don't use 412. I cross 412 go across Easton ave to Cherry and down and onto the the east ramp to 78. I do not do it at 8 am, or 5 pm. I have more sense than that. I go in off hours. take 78 to 33 and go to Wegmans at 248 (my choice), or get on 22 east to 191 turn at the first light go through the industrial park (no traffic) cross 512 and go into Wegmans Bethlehem. You want Allentown, Follow the same route but take 78 west to Tilghman St it take 14 minutes, get off going east and enter Wegmans parking at their light. It is not rocket science. You just have to learn to break the mold and not be a sheep. Learn some back roads for heavens sake, no need for speed, but also no need to sit in out of town bumper to bumper traffic while your tax dollars are at work.
Cindy Cicero January 14, 2014 at 01:11 PM
That shopping center is half empty like the Westgate Mall in Bethlehem because the rent is too darn high. I know this for a fact, I once had my business in there. Put in another grocery store.
mcbar January 14, 2014 at 02:49 PM
Well, thank you busybody for your words of wisdom. Sheep????? Some of us have jobs and are not able to go shopping during "off hours." Also, our job may be in Hellertown. You suggestions as to a different route to travel are welcome. However, name calling is NOT necessary.
NikO January 14, 2014 at 11:28 PM
Just wanted to let you all know since everyone wants a closer wegmans, there is talk of a wegmans and a target going in the new shopping center they are putting in the industrial Park right by 412 and I78. My husband found this out from one of the detail cops working all the construction over there. He said other than for the casino traffic, they are widening 412 for the shopping center. I think he said sometime in 2015. I'm hoping this is true because that would be fantastic!
busybody January 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM
@mcbar, so your job is in Hellertown, all the more reason to follow the routes through town to avoid 412 congestion. Most people work, I was saying avoid using 412 during rush hour and you can get to a lot of places than most of the "boro residents" would have you think. My reference to sheep was to to point out not to follow the crowd.....be an individual, form your own route and leave the moaning and groaning to those who are unable to think outside the box.
Amie T. January 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Nik0, I hope what you wrote is true. A Kohl's there also would be good, like the selection of stores off the Wilson exit of Rt. 33. Fingers crossed!
NikO January 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Yeah that would be great! I'm tired of driving to Quakertown. I guess we'll see! Fingers crossed here!
busybody January 16, 2014 at 10:01 AM
@NikO if you live in Hellertown, have you ever tried checking the time and distance between the shopping along the 33 corridor vs Qakertown? 33 has Wegmans, Target, Walmart, Kohls, BBB, Lowes, Barnes & Noble, Michaels, Pier One, plus lots of smaller places and loads of places to eat. The best part about it is that they are all in one or two areas. Quakertown you have to drive a distance from one place to another plus the traffic on 309 is insane. The only thing I miss on 33 is Joanne's. There is a Petco and a Petsmart, BestBuy, Sporting Goods places. If you have not been there you should set your odometer, check the time and get off at Freemsburg Ave. After than continue North to 248, they even have a movie theater.
Cindy Cicero January 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Hobby Lobby has material, not a selection like Joanne's but in a pinch. Nice store but they are closed Sundays.
busybody January 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Didn't know there was a Hobby Lobby on 33.
Cindy Cicero January 16, 2014 at 05:01 PM
Same shopping center as Walmarts:)
Hugh Gallagher January 17, 2014 at 04:03 AM
Cindy take him/her along next time you go. Let us know the truth.
Rose Linden Dierolf January 17, 2014 at 01:07 PM
My inlaws live in Quakertown so I go there often, but I prefer the 33/248 shopping center if I'm going to Walmart or Target. It's actually almost the exact same distance if you look at driving directions, but about 5 mins faster in equally favorable traffic.
Cindy Cicero January 17, 2014 at 09:47 PM
@Hugh 10-4 Would you like to come along?
Jim Gress January 18, 2014 at 01:57 PM
We need some kind of grocery store, the fact that it has been empty for so long is a disgrace and becoming an eyesore. Isn't there some kind of tax incentive the township can offer to draw some sort of business into the vacant property? How pathetic when a shopping center just a short distance away can thrive, and this one remains vacant...the traffic and neighborhood geographical layouts are nearly the same.
Barbara Scherer January 19, 2014 at 02:39 PM
I would vote for Valley Farm Market like the one on Stefko Blvd. in Bethlehem. I go there every week because their seafood and meat is much better than the Giant. The veggies and fruits are also a lot cheaper and better than Giant. I don't like the Valley Farm on Emmaus Ave.; for some reason it doesn't meet the standards of the one on Stefko Blvd. They also have a great deli with a lot of selections. It would give Giant a run for their money. Giant lures people with "points for gas, etc", but if you think about it their high prices pay for the "free" stuff. The only thing cheaper there than V. Farms is their canned goods and laundry products. If you watch for sales, you can take care of that.
Maryann Cort January 19, 2014 at 09:15 PM
Would love to see a Trader Joe's there...something new to the Lehigh Valley.
Evelyn Wellings January 23, 2014 at 02:10 PM
I'd love to see a grocery store as well. Giant takes full advantage of being the only grocery store in town!
gillian springer January 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM
I agree with the suggestion to bring in a Trader Joe's. It has unique items. Healthy choices. Fair prices. And, will draw shoppers from all over the Valley. I have seen Trader Joe's go in in may places and it never fails to pull in people from wide demographics as well as geographical area.
Jim Gress January 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM
At this point I would welcome a hot dog cart. I am so disgusted that there is no movement on this eyesore that brings my property values down. The benefit of the loss of rent each month must simply outweigh the income from renting it.
Kelly Waechter February 09, 2014 at 08:52 AM
My family and I just moved from Denver, CO to Lower Saucon and live a mile from the shopping center. While in Denver we lived less than a mile from whole foods and loved it. I vote for whole foods or some upscale/natural grocery store.
Jim Gress February 09, 2014 at 09:45 AM
Some talk about a gym and dollar store splitting the space...oh joy.
Angie Drake February 09, 2014 at 01:32 PM
Is that space big enough to hold a Trader Joe's? It is a rather small grocery store compared to say a Wegmans...
Resident February 09, 2014 at 03:20 PM
For those of you who want Trader Joes @ Saucon Valley Square-Please go to their website and recommend it. Maybe if enough people recommend it, they will consider it. Another great option is a low cost gym like Planet Fitness! I'd be happy with anything at this point....
busybody February 09, 2014 at 11:12 PM
@Jim Gress, check the financial page. Dollar stores are leading the retail market in dollars per sq ft. For those of you who so desperately want a Trader Joe's, just go to the Aldi's on Easton Ave. It's the same German company that owns them both. The products are the same. You just have to know what you are looking for and be able to recognize it in different packaging, be willing to bring your own bags and bag it yourself, oh yes, and pay a whole lot less for the same thing. Look it up, it's just a pig with lipstick.
Resident February 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Personally, I desire something closer than driving to Easton Ave. I just want some type of Food Store # 1 ( & at this point i don't care what it is....) A Gym # 2. Another post said Maxx Fitness was going in---but they still have for rent signs up? Pretty sad that both the Giant Hellertown Center, this center and the one near the Hellertown Diner all have vacancies.

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