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A shoppers guide to Pittsburgh Mills

Friday, July 15, 2005

 

By Michael Machosky

The Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh, PA


The Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills mall complex opened Thursday, with more than 150 stores, shops, eateries and kiosks in the lineup.


Not every store was open as the throng of morning shoppers made their rounds -- and some still won't be open for months, including anchor store H&M, an international department store making its Western Pennsylvania debut.

And Pittsburgh Mills hosts dozens of stores already thoroughly familiar to Western Pennsylvania shoppers -- Kaufmann's, J.C. Penney, Dress Barn, American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria's Secret and Foot Locker, as well as a collection of well-known jewelry stores, sports stores and card-and-gift shops.

Although much of what we've seen isn't new to us, there is a selection of stores making their first foray into the Pittsburgh area, some with local connections, as well as a few others we found interesting and fun.

 

Below is a collection of impressions of a sampling of stores at the new mall.

 

For shoppers who love style -- both in clothing and home fashions:

Fenton Art Glass

The minimalist space adorned with unique hand-blown glass creations is the 100-year-old company's first retail store.

Pittsburgh was chosen as the location because of its proximity to Fenton's W.Va. factory and the city's history with steel and glass, says Martha Wright, vice president of marketing for Fenton.

Highlights include a designer hat collection available in different rich hues of cobalt blue, brick red, amber and evergreen, each adorned with hand-painted designs.

 

Among the priciest items in the store are antique-style lamps, some of which feature scalloped edges and hand-painted designs, that range in price from $279 to $399.

Lambs & Ivy

This upscale children's store sells unique clothing, accessories, gift items, toys and special-occasions wear. The new Pittsburgh Mills location is the second in Pittsburgh; the original store in Fox Chapel has been open for 14 years, according to owner Renee Bestic.

Standout items include brightly colored rain slickers adorned with kid-friendly critters including butterflies, bumble bees, frogs, dinosaurs and butterflies, which can be accessorized with matching wellies, backpacks and umbrellas.

Parents can dress their children in pretty threads for fall with equine-inspired fall fashions for boys and girls. Lambs and Ivy sells sweaters, jackets and T-shirts adorned with horses.

Kaufmann's

Upon entering Kaufmann's at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills from the interior of the mall, patrons come face-to-face with the cosmetics department. As shoppers meander deeper into the store, they encounter such Kaufmann's mainstays as the juniors and sportswear departments, jewelry and watches, and menswear on the first floor. Departments on the second floor include furniture and homewares.

Customers can expect to see familiar labels such as Ideology for women and Dockers for men. Some quirky and retro-themed additions to the homewares collections include Fiestaware, martini glasses adorned with decks of playing cards, espresso beans, shoes and handbags, and a flirty woman's face, and billiard-motif bar accessories.

Forever 21

Forever 21 is a teen/young adult retailer that is a cross between Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters.

The store, which is the first to open in the Pittsburgh market, sells moderately priced clothing in the latest styles.

In keeping with the public's clamor for all things bohemian this summer, Forever 21 abounded with peasant blouses, multi-tiered gauzy skirts, and tank tops adorned with sequins. Other trends represented include Western wear, military-inspired separates, and baby T-shirts featuring whimsical prints.

Charlotte Russe

Similar to Forever 21 and familiar to mall shoppers throughout the region -- it's already found a home at Ross Park Mall, Century III Mall, Westmoreland Mall, Robinson Towne Center and Monroeville -- the shop features value-priced, trendy teen fashions.

Earthbound Trading Company

A hybrid between a head shop and Pier One Imports, Earthbound Trading Company sells an eclectic assortment of home decor, clothing, accessories, jewelry, and the piece de resistance -- hermit crabs.

Some of the exotic items for sale inside the store include lotus flower-style candle holders, Chinese paper lanterns, wooden African masks, lucky bamboo plants and beaded wooden curtains.

Cool Waves

Cool Waves sells barely-there, curve-hugging clothing that is more Miami than Allegheny Valley.

Those with few inhibitions will take delight in the store's selection of men's and women's street and clubwear. For women, Cool Waves offers ample varieties of jeans, some in pastel hues featuring embroidery and flowers.

For men, the store carries mid-priced fashions, along with more well-known labels such as Pepe Jeans and Ben Sherman.

To stay cool while in the sun, Cool Waves sells designer shades ranging in price from $50 to $450.

Bon Worth

Bon Worth offers casual separates for women.

Bon Worth, which takes pride in offering "America's Best $9.99 Pants," takes the guesswork out of dressing by selling no-fuss, mix-and-match separates designed for comfort including gingham separates, windsuits, athletic suits and embroidered sweatshirts.

At the rear of the store are racks of polyester pants all priced at $9.99, all shown with pullover shirts in coordinating patterns and colors.

Replica Fashions

As the name implies, Replica Fashions specializes in designer look-alikes of accessories including handbags, eyeglasses, belts and scarves.

Highlights include several imitation styles of the must-have bag from several seasons back, the Louis Vuitton Murikami, a white bag adorned with the initial "L" instead of the original's "LV" initials, and various styles of purses adorned with cherries.

As opposed to their designer counterparts, which run thousands of dollars, all replica handbags range in price from $25 to $45.

It's A 'Burgh Thing

The first retail location of its kind, this store is a purveyor of Primanti Bros. and I.C. Light merchandise, including some unisex clothing and knicknacks for the home or office or a homesick Pittsburgher.

If you have a hankering to own a keepsake emblazoned with the name of two of Pittsburgh's most recognizable icons, this is the place for you.

Items for sale include polo shirts, gym shorts, T-shirts, stainless-steel coffee cups, frisbees, battery-operated lanterns, and even pizza cutters emblazoned with the insignia of these Pittsburgh institutions.

-- Erin Walsh, for the Tribune-Review

For shoppers looking for fun and frivolity:

Pittsburgh Steelers

For those tough times just before training camp, when you just need a portrait of "The Chief" to genuflect under. But why stop there? You can also find Steelers baseball jerseys (?), a vial of dirt from the Heinz Field groundbreaking (framed), a Steelers model train set complete with stadium, and pink-and-white girlie Steelers jerseys. Just try to imagine Jack Lambert wearing one of those.

Problem: no vintage stuff, at all. Where am I going to find that Mean Joe Greene throwback jersey, people?

Wag Barkery Boutique

I thought I had seen this twitchy pup with the one bugging-out eye before. He's on the sign in Shadyside, too, where the original Wag works hard selling gourmet dog treats to discerning city canines.

Nothing says "conspicuous consumption" like buying cookies and chocolates -- carob, actually -- for your pup. But hey, if you're going to spoil Fido, you might as well go all the way. Some of these treats look tastier than the ones at the actual human-centric chocolatiers in the mall.

Maybe your mutt might learn to like dressing up in goofy little costumes, or perhaps his own Jerome Bettis jersey. But there seems to be only one size for everything -- Paris Hilton purse-pup, or smaller. Do they keep the stuff for the big hairy dogs in the back?

Pollak's Chocolates

Pollak's -- also in Zelienople and Ross Park Mall -- strives to maintain a local, mom-and-pop feel. The owner's daughter was handing out chocolate-covered pretzels at the door on opening day, as he stood by flashing a nervous, excited grin at everyone in range. It's nice to see a locally owned stalwart holding its own among the mega-chains, keeping at least some of the profits in the area.

There's a little bit of everything here, from homemade "Pineapple Creams" and "Rum Truffles" to licorice, lollipops and cinnamon sticks. Best of all are the novelty chocolates -- a TV remote, the Eiffel Tower. You know, for when you just have to take a bite out of the Eiffel Tower.

Puff-N-Stuff

Puff-N-Stuff tries to target a classic clientele -- drinkers and smokers -- by aiming at a few very specific, very different tribes of testosterone.

First, there's the "Anheuser-Busch Collection" of stylized beer tankards -- lots of NASCAR and fishing themes, of course. Then there's the old-school pipes and hip flasks for the grandpa/Sherlock Holmes set. Finally, there's the "Scarface"-themed wall mountings, consisting of a poster, a cigar, a plastic gun and a fake hundred-dollar bill, for the hip-hop fans.

Oh, and there's a whole climate-controlled room full of cigars. That must be the "Puff" part.

Love Sac

Love Sac sells only one thing from this tiny storefront -- the "Love Sac," a gigantic, portable beanbag without the beans. It's super-soft, more of a giant new pillow than a traditional beanbag. To demonstrate the "Movie Sac," there's a big-screen TV, with a hard leather couch and a comfy new Sac to lounge on. The choice is yours.

One of the super-enthusiastic young clerks told me that instead of losing its squishy-soft consistency over time, it actually expands. The "Durafoam" inside comes vacuum-packed, but spreads out over time, getting bigger and bigger. It may be soft and comfy -- but that's kind of scary.

Am I sitting on a harmless piece of furniture -- or The Blob?

Putting Edge

It sounds like a run-of-the-mill golf supplies store, but it's actually glow-in-the-dark mini-golf! Putt-putt in pitch blackness -- except for the club, ball, hole and obstacles, all rendered in glowing pseudo-psychedelic yellows, oranges and greens.

There are giant stone idols blocking your path, massive mushrooms with faces, and knights in armor and '80s neon illuminating your way, while Neil Young wails on the hi-fi.

It's corny, sure, but if the bowling lanes are too crowded and you're in a certain mood, this could be fun.



 

 

 

 

 

   
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