Dealing with a rapidly transforming retail industry, teen fashion chain Rue21 recently announced the closing of about 400 “unprofitable stores across its fleet,” according to a company statement.
The closings include Rue21’s State College location at the Nittany Mall. The Cranberry-based company released a list of store closings on its website, but did not announce when they would occur.
In social media posts, the company said the move was “a difficult but necessary decision.” The closings come at a time when more retailers are shifting their focus from brick-and-mortar operations to their online business.
Chains such as Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney have announced plans to shutter stores in 2017. Online sales of apparel and accessories, meanwhile, are projected to increase by 20 percent during the next four years, according to a Goldman Sachs report, and millennials, a sought-after population among companies, are more likely than other generations to purchase clothes online.
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The closings leave Rue21 with about 700 stores across 48 states. The privately held company confirmed the planned closing of the Nittany Mall location, 2901 E. College Ave. in Patton Township, on its website.
Philipsburg Business Incubator adds second tenant
The Philipsburg Business Incubator, 220 N. Front St., is now half-full with the addition of Fire Pit BBQ, a barbecue sauce retailer.
Owner Justin Hollabaugh, a Philipsburg area native, said he’s looking to expand from the office space to a restaurant location in the future, and is currently developing a website for the business.
But in the coming months, he said, Fire Pit BBQ will offer a line of homemade sauces, including flavors such as black rum dipping sauce and birch beer barbecue. Side menu options, such as potato salad and pot pie, will also be offered.
“It will be the unique taste of campfire cooking, with smoking aspects and unique flavor profiles,” he said.
Hollabaugh said the sauces will be available for sale by May or June.
Fire Pit BBQ joins IT consulting business Jade A Consulting, which moved into the incubator in September.
2000 Degrees sold
Longtime business owner Gary Filkins has sold popular paint-your-own pottery studio 2000 Degrees to manager Kelly Cummins, who took over on April 1. Filkins first opened the State College business in 1999.
The business, at 202 W. College Ave., will continue to operate as a paint-your-own pottery studio. It will keep its name, branding and hours, said Filkins, who will continue to serve in advisory role.
Numbers of the deal were not disclosed.
“The operation will continue as it has for the past 18 years,” Filkins, 63, said.
Cummins has been the manager of the studio for the past six years. She said she and her husband Joe — both grew up in the area — are excited to be part of the downtown scene, and credited Filkins for making the transition an easy process.
“I feel honored that he’s willing to trust me with his business,” Cummins said. “We will not let him down.”