Sears and Auntie Anne's returning to Shops at Ithaca Mall this fall

August 30, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

Two familiar names are returning to the Shops at Ithaca Mall. Construction is under way on a new Sears Hometown Store location and an Auntie Anne's pretzel shop, both scheduled to open this fall.

Coming soon at the Shops at Ithaca Mall.Coming soon at the Shops at Ithaca Mall.Sears Hometown Stores is a new department store concept operated by the retail giant, offering a more limited selection of product lines than their full-size stores. The new storefront, scheduled to open in October off the mall's central corridor, will feature appliance and tool selections, including popular Sears brands, as well as housewares and apparel, in about a tenth the space of the former Sears.

"We're looking forward to bringing the Kenmore and Craftsman names back to the Ithaca area," says Mike Esch, owner of Ithaca's new Sears Hometown Store franchise. Esch operates similar stores in Olean, New York and Bradford, Pennsylvania.

A Sears department store was one of the anchor stores at the Shops at Ithaca Mall for about 25 years, before closing several months ago. The store opened as part of an expansion on the west side of what was then Pyramid Mall, including a larger Hoyt's Cinemas movie theater complex.

The 55,000 square foot Sears included home and garden departments, electronics, apparel, a photo studio, and auto service. Before Sears opened at Pyramid Mall in the late 1980s, Ithaca had a Sears Catalog Store at the nearby Triphammer Mall. 

Also under construction in the mall's central food court this summer is a new Auntie Anne's pretzel shoppe. The brand, featuring freshly baked handmade pretzels and lemonade, has been at the mall off and on over the last few decades, closing most recently about a year and a half ago. New franchise owner Cris Craft hopes to "reconnect with all of our Ithaca Auntie Anne's pretzel lovers" and "share pretzel positivity." The stand will open in November.

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