The name literally means “good tone” in French, but opportunities to sing the praises of the former Bon-Ton department store near Quakertown have been few and far between since it closed two-and-a-half years ago.
All of the chain’s stores closed after it filed for bankruptcy in early 2018, however some are now being repurposed. For example, the former Bon-Ton in Bethlehem’s Westgate Mall on Schoenersville Road will soon house a new Weis Markets grocery store.
There’s been no indication that a supermarket–or anything else, for that matter–will occupy the Upper Bucks Bon-Ton building anytime soon.
The 84,000 square-foot vacancy has left a large hole in the Richland Plaza shopping center’s store tenancy lineup, which includes anchors Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Redner’s Warehouse Market as well as a number of smaller shops and eateries.
A 2019 Bucks County Courier-Times article included a description of the former Bon-Ton as “two acres under a roof,” which isn’t something you find often, according to the Metro Commercial real estate broker who was interviewed for it.
Located along a heavily-traveled section of Rt. 309 in Richland Township, near the south end of a sprawling retail strip that’s more than a mile long, the empty store is now eerily symbolic of a shopping era that has largely passed.
Fewer Americans than ever are visiting department stores, preferring instead to make purchases online or from “big box” retailers like Walmart. The COVID-19 pandemic that began in March has only accelerated the demise of the department store, with some economic analysts calling the overall fallout from the coronavirus a “retail apocalypse.”
So whatever comes next for the space, bear in mind that it likely won’t include a hosiery department.
Tell us what you think should occupy the space, and why, in a comment.