The holiday shopping season in Mercer County is already underway, drawing scores of people who are searching for great holiday gifts and hoping to pick up some fantastic items for themselves, too.
Mercer County is located in northwestern Pennsylvania. The County's diverse shopping destinations and small-town charm attract people in the western part of the state, but also welcome visitors from eastern Ohio, southwestern New York, and Ontario, Canada. Pennsylvania does not charge sales tax on most clothing and shoes, offering exceptional value for shoppers who are searching for the season's hottest gift items.
We recommend at least a day – and even two or three days – for a Mercer County holiday shopping tour that includes several of Mercer County's most popular destinations, including Grove City Premium Outlets, Wendell August Forge and Kraynak's.
Grove City Premium Outlets
Bargain-minded shoppers from Cleveland, Erie, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Toronto and beyond visit Grove City Premium Outlets for deep discounts on clothing, housewares, shoes, health and beauty, specialty gifts, decor, jewelry and more.
More than 6 million people visit the Grove City Outlets every year. The single-floor, open air outlet mall is located right off of Interstate 79 and three miles from I-80, and is just three hours from the Canadian border. The Outlets feature 130 stores with destination shops that include Calvin Klein, Coach, J. Crew factor, Nautica, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
Michele R. Czerwinski, the director of marketing and business development for the Outlets, says, "Our holiday shoppers come looking to power shop and save. During the earlier October and November sales, the majority of our loyal shoppers are savvy moms who drive a distance to spend the day to shop with us and find savings, since they tend to shop for their entire extended families."
Shoppers can enjoy the smell and taste of Joe Max Coffee, head to Michael Kors and test drive over 60 styles of hand bags, pop over to Skechers and marvel at all the colors and styles of shoes, be seduced by beautiful scents at Fragrance Outlet, and stop into Bose to listen and feel the latest in blue tooth technology. For a last stop of the day, head to Fuzziwig's Candy Factory to share with the family.
Shop and Save on Holiday Gifts at Grove City Premium Outlets
Early holiday events at Grove City Outlets include the Wrap It Up Early Sale from Nov. 13-15, 2017. The Thanksgiving Weekend Sale runs from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, through Nov. 26 with extended hours.
"We love this sale because we see families and friends shopping together and enjoying each other and the event. We have both the avid bargain hunters and those who just come to get into the holiday spirit," says Czerwinski.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, great bargains are offered every day. The After-Christmas Sale is on from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. In addition, from Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, there will be a strolling Santa that kids and adults can visit every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.
How to Get There: Grove City Premium Outlets are located at 1911 Leesburg Grove City Rd, Grove City, PA 16127. For more information, including expanded shopping hours, call 724-748-4770 or go to www.premiumoutlets.com/grovecity.
Wendell August Forge
For unique, heirloom-quality gift items, Wendell August Forge is a must-stop locale on your Mercer County holiday shopping tour. The Forge, which is the largest and oldest in the United States, was founded in 1923 and remains one of the most recognizable metal giftware companies in the country.
Forging is the process of shaping metal through heating and hammering. Using hammers, chisels, anvils and the steady, experienced hands of the metalworkers, the company fashions gifts that are passed down through generations. The metals used at the Forge include silver, copper, pewter, bronze and aluminum. They are crafted into a variety of gifts such as ornaments, trays, plates, coasters and a line of holiday-themed decor. Swarovski Crystals even adorn some pieces, creating a truly one-of-a-kind heirloom that family and friends treasure.
Their Grove City flagship retail store features hand-crafted gifts that you can't find elsewhere, making it the perfect place to search for distinctive Christmas and holiday presents, especially for those hard-to-shop-for people on your list.
Unique Holiday Gift Ideas from Wendell August Forge
Every year, Wendell August Forge produces a line of Pittsburgh gifts that appeal to sports fans and those who love the wonders of the city. The Pittsburgh landscape is on display in the Bicentennial Collector's set, with ornaments commemorating the city's Light Up Night, the Clemente Bridge, Heinz Field, PNC Park, and more.
Collections like The Magic Christmas Village are designed as figurines of a vintage American town that includes a village, church and Christmas tree, that can be placed under the tree or on the mantel.
Ornate ornaments include collegiate pieces, baby themes, pet sets, and Santa scenes, as well as dozens of others. Matching the perfect gift to the right person is easy with so many unique gift items available at the store.
"Our new holiday collection is our best yet," said Wendell August Retail Director Rob Ridgeway. "The quality and craftsmanship of this year's products is top notch and I think both our existing customers, and customers who are new to Wendell August Forge will be impressed."
In addition to browsing the Forge to look for the perfect holiday gift, visitors can take a tour on-site and see just how pieces are formed – from hand hammering, forming the design and creating a die, to pressing it into a metal canvas. Wendell August also plans to introduce an enhanced workshop tour soon. Winter store hours are Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
How to Get There: The Wendell August Forge Flagship Store is located at 2074 Leesburg-Grove City Road in Grove City, on Route 208, 1/2 mile west of the Grove City Premium Outlets). Driving time from downtown Pittsburgh is 1 hour. Visit their website at www.wendellaugust.com.
Step into Kraynak's during the holiday shopping season, and you'll find that you've been transported directly to the North Pole. Santa's Christmasland, a one-of-a-kind attraction, is featured in the store every year from Sept. 10 until Dec. 31. The family-owned business, which started in 1961, features more than 70 decorated trees, each with a different theme. From traditional winter themes with snowmen and penguins, to religious and nativity décor, the display invites visitors to enjoy this spectacle as they make their way down the 300-foot long path of Christmasland. Add in life-like animated figures, festive music, a fresh display each year, and a visit to Kraynak's becomes a holiday tradition that more and more people discover and cherish.
Store customers can buy and decorate their own Christmas trees to reflect the themes that are on display each year, or can even purchase the entire tree to bring home after the holiday season. Many times, store manager Dan Zippie says, people visit Kraynak's to get new ideas and then buy decorations for their own special tree that families trim together.
"Our store is very diverse, and we have 20,000 sq. ft. in the main store, with more than two acres of greenhouses displaying a full line of Christmas decorations. Our toy department includes Lionel trains, Lego and Playmobil, Breyer horses, and Melissa & Doug toys. We have a sports department that sells NFL ornaments and decorations. The gift department is packed with sweaters, scarves, accessories, and Christmas jewelry. There's even a 40-foot section of simple and challenging puzzles. You'll find just what you're looking for at Kraynak's, plus much more," said Zippie.
Visit Santa at Kraynak's
Kraynak's also has a Christmas and holiday department with indoor décor including Department 56 villages, gift sets, and Snowbabies figurines. Just 700 feet behind Kraynak's original store is a full-line garden center, featuring shrubbery, garden accessories, and furniture, and cut trees for those who love the look and scent of a real tree in their home during the holidays. There are also more than 150 artificial trees in stock at the main store from which to choose.
Beginning on Nov. 10, 2017, Santa Claus will greet visitors at the store daily. Kids are invited to sit and talk to Santa and tell him what they'd like to see under the tree this year. Photos can also be taken with Santa for a fee.
"We have the area's largest free Christmas display, so a visit to Kraynak's becomes a family tradition for a lot of people to discover and then cherish. All ages love Christmasland's trees, festive music, and the scenes we create to put smile on everyone's faces. We welcome thousands of people every year, and we're thrilled that so many consider a trip to Kraynak's a part of their family's holiday traditions. Many people come over a hundred miles and when visiting the area, make Kraynak's a stop," said Zippie.
Zippie suggests several hours to see everything Kraynak's has to offer. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., with Santa there from 10 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. On Sundays, the store is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with Santa there from 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Kraynak's is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
How to Get There: Kraynak's is located at the crossroads of I-80 and I-79. The address is 2525 East State St., Hermitage, PA 16148. Driving time from downtown Pittsburgh is 90 minutes. Visit their website at www.kraynaks.com.
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