From the bustling Centre Region to towns across the county, shoppers can find everything they need in Happy Valley.
Big retailers line the North Atherton corridor and the Nittany Mall area along Benner Pike.
Downtown State College sports numerous shops catering to Penn State students and alumni and those of varying tastes.
Bellefonte offera shopping options outside the Centre Region.
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“It is encouraging to see Centre County’s retail and service sector — which now represents a larger cross-section of the county’s economy — continue to thrive,” said Vern Squier, president and CEO of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County.
Recent years have brought numerous new stores and eating spots to the area.
Downtown State College
There are plenty of shops for gifts and special items, such as The Apple Tree, Avant Garden, Gift Adventures and Home Reflections.
Other local shops include Animal Kingdom, Kitchen Kaboodle, Music Mart, Uncle Eli’s, Rapid Transit Sports and Webster’s Bookstore & Café.
Penn State students and alumni can find everything blue and white at the Student Book Store, Lions Pride, Old State Clothing, Family Clothesline and McLanahan’s Student Store and Penn State Room.
For a variety of clothing options, visit Mr. Tux, Harper’s Shop for Men, Jezebel’s Boutique lingerie, Abercrombie and Fitch and Appalachian Outdoors.
While shopping in downtown State College, stop in any of the dozens of great eateries: the Corner Room and Allen Street Grill, the Tavern, Ye Old College Diner, Spats Cafe, The Deli, Herwig’s Austrian Bistro and Zola New World Bistro.
The downtown also boasts numerous pizza, sub and sandwich shops along with various national restaurant chains.
“We have a very unique town,” said Steve Artz, owner of Gift Adventures.
“It’s a wonderful town here that is filled with the uniqueness of the mom-and-pop stores, giving the community a chance to see products that they don’t get to see at the big stores.”
Centre Region north
The State College area’s North Atherton corridor is exploding, with the Trader Joe’s Plaza filling up quickly and other spots gaining tenants.
Recent additions to the area include Gardners Candies in the T.J. Maxx Plaza and Gap Factory Outlet at the Trader Joe’s Plaza.
Charles Kranich, of Kranich’s Jewelry, called the North Atherton corridor “the commercial hub of Centre County.” Kranich’s opened a large store there in 2012.
The Trader Joe’s Plaza opened in late 2012, and the host store on Patriot Lane now shares the space with Gap, Old Navy, Men’s Wearhouse and Ulta.
Two exits of Interstate 99 serve the North Atherton corridor, which is home to the Colonnade, where shoppers can explore Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other popular stops, including a new Five Below retailer.
Other stores just off the interstate include Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wolf Furniture.
Centre Region south
Merchants along South Atherton Street have plenty to smile about, too.
Weis Markets finished two expansions recently, $8.3 million in work at its Rolling Ridge Drive location, off South Atherton, and at another site nearby on Westerly Parkway.
The Rolling Ridge Drive store was expanded by 1,500 square feet and now boasts a new facade and upgrades throughout, such as larger produce, dairy and frozen-food departments.
A renovated McDonald’s is in the adjacent Hills Plaza.
Down the street, Home Delivery Pizza Pub doubled its seating capacity and added microbrew beer, while CVS Pharmacy opened a new store and IHOP launched its first site in Centre County.
“This area completely revamped itself,” said John McQueary, who owns State College Framing Co., in the Weis plaza.
The Autoport restaurant’s owner, Greg Mussi, recently formed a partnership with Clem Pantalone, of Clem’s BBQ fame, to form Clem’s Roadside Bar and Grill.
Centre Region east
The Cinema 6 site along Benner Pike was transformed into a shopping and dining area, adding more options to the neighboring Nittany Mall and Wal-Mart Plaza.
After a $1 million renovation project, the site is the new home of Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, Advance Auto Parts and Quaker Steak and Lube, while offering an upgrade for tenants Big Lots, Stover’s Furniture and JoAnn Fabrics.
Rey Azteca Mexican restaurant is beside the plaza to the west.
To the east, Stocker Chevrolet has finished an expansion along Benner Pike to complement its new Subaru dealership behind the plaza on Dreibelbis Street.
“We were growing pretty quickly,” Stocker Subaru General Manager Cory Stocker said.
Last June, Philly Pretzel Factory opened inside the Benner Pike Wal-Mart store and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit arrived at the plaza next door.
“Clearly, the redevelopment activity that’s occurring at Eastview Plaza is a positive thing,” College Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh said.
The Nittany Mall boasts anchor stores in J.C. Penney, Bon-Ton, Macy’s and Sears, along with Finish Line, Gymboree, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath and Body Works and many others.
The county seat offers a Victorian backdrop for shops and restaurants.
The historic community is home to numerous bed-and-breakfast options, including The Queen and Reynolds Mansion.
Favorite shopping spots include Confer’s Jewelers, Woodring’s Floral Gardens, Capperella Furniture and Plaza Centre Antiques Gallery.
Route 144 west leads to the growing Benner Pike corridor, home to TJ Colts Restaurant and Klaban’s Home Furnishings.
Downtown Bellefonte offers a variety of eateries, including the Gamble Mill, Cafe on the Park, Diamond Deli, Mama Lucretia’s, the Bellefonte Wok, Pizza Mia, The Governors Pub and Cool Beans Coffee and Tea. For dessert, grab an ice cream cone at Bellefonte Twist.
On Route 550 east of the borough, visitors can encounter two local dining favorites, Bonfatto’s and Home Delivery Pizza, as well as Weis Markets for groceries.
Home Delivery and the Gamble Mill now brew their own beers.