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New Gym Opens in Mall at Steamtown

SCRANTON — A new business opened Tuesday morning at the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton. It was a department store, a furniture store, and a sports...
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SCRANTON -- A new business opened Tuesday morning at the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton.

It was a department store, a furniture store, and a sportswear store, but on Tuesday it became a gym.

It is a business that literally lights up Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.

A gym called "Crunch" opened for the first time Tuesday morning.  It occupies the bridge over the avenue that first connected the Mall at Steamtown to the Globe department store.

The franchise owner said they already have 1,000 people signed up. They presume some of those will also shop and spend money at the mall. Crunch employs 75 full and part-time workers.

Nicole Thalman was one of the first inside, on opening morning.

"It's not bad," Thalman said. "I work down the road, but for anybody that lives around here, I think it would be very convenient for them to come in and out."

It is that convenience factor that has attracted a lot of people here -- a gym, open early and open late, in a shopping mall, near downtown apartments, near downtown businesses.

Casmiere Kelley was getting in his morning weight lifting.  He also works in the mall.

"It's unusual," said Kelley. "You usually go to a place like a pure gym, you know, it's never been in a mall setting before.  It's nice.  It's a good setting."

There are televisions all over the place, so you can watch your favorites while you work out.  Gone is the mirrored glass.  Now, you can see out onto Lackawanna Avenue, and get a view of the city as you burn off the calories.

The general manager sees the design as a big wow factor, one to draw in the customers.

"It's the size of it and the layout.  It goes all the way across to the other side, 30,000 square feet," said Charlene Dellavalle.

Crunch is just the latest effort to bring new people in to this shopping mall.

Some of the tenants are non-traditional and the latest piece of the puzzle is to be announced Wednesday afternoon.

Luzerne County Community College will detail its intention to put a satellite campus on the mall's second floor, in space that used to be occupied by BonTon.  Students could be there in the fall.

That comes on top of a previously announced plan to put something called the Scranton Public Market on the first floor, a store filled with food and other items, produced by local businesses.  It should be open in the summer.

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