6 more closures add to up to at least a dozen vacancies at the Promenade Shops

Six business owners recently closed shop at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, bringing the total number of vacancies to 12.

Cosi, Crepe Soleil, Portrait Innovations, Center Valley Creamery/Auntie Anne’s are closed, confirmed Melissa Napolitano, general manager for the Promenade.

Vincent Albanese, who co-owned Learning Express Toys with his wife, Michell Albanese, said he also closed in recent weeks.

It’s unclear when the businesses closed.

Signs remained up at most of the six sites this past week. Napolitano on Tuesday didn’t provide a reason for the closures, but said the Promenade is working through the tenant evaluation and selection process to fill vacancies.

“We are dedicated to maintaining a vibrant mix of retail, dining and entertainment options that make The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley a community destination,” she said in a statement. “While we are not able to formally unveil any new tenants at this time, we are currently working with several exciting concepts, and look forward to announcing additions to our tenant lineup in the coming months.

Cosi was a fast-casual restaurant chain which offered offered offered soups, sandwiches and salads. The chain went bankrupt in September 2016, according to a USA Today report.

The chain closed 40 percent of its restaurants but later emerged from bankruptcy with new company-owned and franchise locations, according to various published reports.

Crepe Soleil was a European-inspired Creperie known for its savory crepes using ingredients found in the coastal Mediterranean town markets.

The chain in September opened a location at The Crossings Premium Outlets in nearby Tannersville, Monroe County.

Learning Express Toys closes less than a year after shutting down a second location at the Madison Farms strip mall in Bethlehem Township.

The chain is known for its arts and crafts, puzzles, Legos, giant stuffed animals and pretend playsets.

On Tuesday morning, Vincent Albanese said he struggled to stay afloat due to competing sales, not enough foot traffic, tariffs cutting into profits, the move to online/convenience shopping for patrons and increasing operating costs.

He said his family had to choose between his child’s college tuition and the store.

“We made a hard decision because our ability to survive to next holiday season was in doubt,” he said.

“We had to go to work for an actual paycheck. The big boys won.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Portrait Innovations filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2017. Sometime just after New Year’s Day, the chain shut down more than 100 studios nationally, reports AL.

com. The chain’s website currently is not working and its Facebook and other social media pages have since been removed.

Auntie Anne’s is known for its line of sweet and salty pretzels. The Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township welcomed an Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon in mid-November in a single 1,055-square-foot café.

The reported six closures add to another at least six vacancies. Patrons can find shuttered storefronts in these locations: between OshKosh B’gosh and Portrait Innovations; between Claire’s accessories and American Eagle Outfitters; next to Fidelity Investments; between Gail Gray Home Furnishings and Design and Athleta; and two on either side of Sweet Sassy.

The shopping center put signs in the empty windows directing shoppers to other open stores such as Bath Body Works and Athleta.

These businesses are among those remaining in the Promenade:

Brooks Brothers, American Eagle, Athleta, Francesca’s, Bath Body Works, J.

Jill, Justice, Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh, Murphy Jewelers, The Children’s Place, Yankee Candle, Peeps and Company, White House Black Market, New York Company, Kay Jewelers, L.L.

Bean, Old Navy, Barnes Noble, Starbucks, a nail salon, an AMC movie theater, several upscale restaurants and a Fresh Market.

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at pholzmann@lehighvalleylive.

com. Follow her on Twitter @pamholzmann.

Find on Facebook.