Tonawanda News

Local News

January 18, 2008

WHEATFIELD: Climbing The Summit

Like many shoppers from Niagara County and beyond, John Majka remembers the days when The Summit mall in Wheatfield was a bustling center of commerce.

The recently retired 62-year-old from North Tonawanda has been coming to The Summit — formerly known as the Summit Park Mall — since 1972. As a long-time shopper and mall walker, Majka has talked to countless others in his daily travels around the 800,000-square-foot mall who still love it, but want to see it improved.

“It could still be a hell of a lot better,” he said. “It looks great, they fixed it up inside. ...It’s nice and bright. It used to be kind of dreary.”

Sales up 18 percent

Mall officials say they’ve been working hard to bring The Summit back up to expectations. After years of multiple ownership changes and subsequent structural neglect, The Summit is making a comeback, they say, pointing to a number of happenings in the past year as prime examples.

The Summit’s 2007 sales were 18 percent higher than the previous year, “which is huge,” General Manager Brian Marciniak said, adding that that figure excludes major retailers Bon-Ton and Sears. The uptick in sales, he says, is directly correlated to increased traffic.

The opening of 11 new stores in 2007 is one reason why. In addition, the mall recently welcomed a Save-A-Lot grocery store and lured two retailers from Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. The first is Beacon, a Christian bookstore; the other is edgy clothing store Phase Id.

V-Twin motorcycle shop even thought highly enough of The Summit to leave its Town of Tonawanda location on Sheridan Drive, and clothing retailer Rainbow began occupying 8,000 square feet in November. Marciniak says he expects plenty more good news in coming months, although he couldn’t discuss specifics. Majka says he’s often heard people say they’d like to see J.C. Penney and a couple shoe stores open up shop.

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