Will New Hellertown Starbucks Give Shopping Center a Boost?

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Starbucks Hellertown

Significant progress has been made on a Starbucks that is expected to open in Hellertown in the coming months. Located in a former Bank of America branch at Main Street and Polk Valley Road, the coffee shop will have a drive-thru with lanes that wrap all the way around the building to accommodate many vehicles waiting in line.

Figuratively speaking, it could be the shot of espresso that a Hellertown shopping center with a number of vacant storefronts needs. But will a new Starbucks with a drive-thru on Main Street ultimately provide the Shoppes at Hellertown a shot in the arm in the form of more foot traffic?

There can be little doubt that current shopping center tenants will be closely watching their sales figures once the popular coffeehouse/cafe opens, which could be by the end of the year. Beyond that, additional future investment in the retail plaza at Main Street and Polk Valley Road is much less certain, however the presence of a well-known national brand within sight of the vacant stores is likely to raise the hopes of the realtors who have been trying to lease spaces in it.

Among the stores that have closed in recent years in the Shoppes at Hellertown have been National Auto (April 2021), Spring Hill Cleaners (August 2020), T-Mobile (February 2019) and Yo-Fresh Yogurst Cafe (November 2016). A retail space that once housed a martial arts studio has been vacant for years, and it remains unclear if an urgent care facility that operated in another storefront will ever reopen.

The Tower Health Urgent Care facility has been “temporarily” closed since around the time the coronavirus pandemic began in the spring of 2020. In the intervening year-and-a-half, Reading-based Tower Health, has struggled financially. The health system was called “financially troubled” in a Sept. 28, 2021 Reading Eagle article about Tower Health’s plans to try and sell two of the hospitals it owns.

Although it remains unclear when the Hellertown Starbucks will open, the company is now hiring to fill positions in the new store, with ads posted for shift supervisor and barista at Starbucks.com/careers. Applications for the positions may be made online.

The identifying store number for the new location will be Store #62732, according to the website.

A Starbucks kiosk located inside the nearby Giant supermarket on Leithsville Road (Rt. 412) is expected to remain open after the freestanding Starbucks opens. The kiosk is operated by Giant, as opposed to being a company-operated store.

Shopping Center Starbucks

A row of vacancies in the Shoppes at Hellertown gives the impression of a retail plaza that has seen better days. Pictured above, from left, are the former T-Mobile store, the former YoFresh Yogurt Cafe and the former National Auto store, which closed in April 2021. All three stores closed within the past five years.

Starbucks Hellertown

The rear side of the former Bank of America branch has been altered as part of the building’s conversion to a Starbucks.

In order to open the Starbucks, developers were required to make changes to the parking area that surrounds it along with updates to the nearby intersection of Polk Valley Road and Main Street. Driveways that lead into and out of the shopping center are also being relocated to facilitate vehicular movement in and out of the new Starbucks.

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