‘We’re just happy to be in Bellefonte’: PA Wilds-based shop relocates to Bellefonte
Step inside one of Bellefonte’s most historic gems — the Gamble Mill — and you’ll find a shop that’s been a longtime staple in the Pennsylvania Wilds. It’s just in a new spot.
Smith + Front, a retail store previously based in Philipsburg, has opened in a new location in Bellefonte. Both communities are in the I-80 Frontier region of the Pennsylvania Wilds.
When owner Staci Egan started looking for her next space early in 2020, she said that Bellefonte “was the most up-and-coming area in Centre County.
“Bellefonte has everything a customer could want,” she said.
The community has seen significant downtown growth over the course of a few years, with the opening of shops, boutiques, and more, and is home to business-centric events like Friday in the ‘Fonte. With a unique roster of businesses and activities, Bellefonte is positioned to attract shoppers.
“There’s a movement for people wanting to shop small and local,” Egan said. “I think the pandemic increased it.”
Egan noted that as more and more people start to shop local, they see a difference in quality and customer service — and that keeps them coming back for more.
What was once a dark, windowless space in the depths of the historic mill, has been transformed as part of an overall project to revitalize the entire building. In the mill, visitors will find a restaurant, bar, and special event space; and Smith + Front’s totally transformed retail space.
Envisioning the space before the remodel wasn’t easy, Egan said. “It took a lot of creativity and I’m happy with the direction.” Shoppers will find that original pieces of the mill remain inside the new space.
Visitors to Smith + Front can expect to find handmade and locally based products and gifts, including a large plant selection from a Pennsylvania greenhouse.
“I try to keep (the inventory) to creatives and makers and other small businesses so that when you support us you’re supporting several people within your community,” Egan said.
The shop is now open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information visit www.smithandfront.com.
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