Staff Picks: What Should Replace The Fraser Street H&M?

Last week we have learned that downtown State College’s H&M will close its doors for good on Sept. 19 after nearly five years in business.

While some may miss a convenient location to buy upbeat business casual wear for a presentation, there’s a lot of potential for what could replace H&M’s storefront.

The space is huge, the location is preferred, and many students walk to and from campus door-to-door. Of course, our employees have strong opinions about what H&M should replace.

Dana June Nunemacher: A thrift store

We need a thrift store in the center. Webster’s has a smaller selection of yarns, but I’m talking a full clothing warehouse.

I remember being a thrift-hungry freshman who wanted to be trendy, but local thrift stores are quite far from campus. I was suprised that there was no accessible option downtown as thrift and DIY style clothing is popular these days.

It would also be a great way for students to recycle clothes and save money.

Colleen Nersten: Center Bonfattos

Bonfatto’s Italian Market and Corner Cafe is a 100-year-old family-owned business in Bellefonte. It’s easily my favorite local business as the selection ranges from quality coffee to pasta to Italian subs. The 20 minute drive for students can be quite inconvenient, so I suggest a downtown State College location.

H&M’s showcase is large, providing ample seating for students to hang out and study for a few hours, something lacking in downtown. I’m confident the business would do well in State College, as it’s the middle ground between a coffee shop and a full-fledged restaurant. Besides, who can say no to freshly cut prosciutto?

Ryan Parsons: Supermarket, Trader Joes

Goodbye, H&M, and hello, overpriced fruits and vegetables. It’s about damn time we got a real grocery store on the west side of downtown State College. While the Target just above the old H&M and even places like McLanahan’s offer some product options, most people know you’ll need to head to North or South Atherton to really get the job done in the grocery department.

While this space may be a bit small for a large grocery store like Giant, it would be the perfect size for a Trader Joe’s or even a new, local spot. Let’s face it: getting a TJ’s downtown would just be a game-changer, especially for those of us who live on the west side of town. Stuffed gnocchi down the street? Yes please.

Sam Brungo: plumbers union

If you add Penn State to the mix, State College has a population of about 90 thousand, making it the fifth largest city in the state. All this before considering surrounding areas, including Boalsburg and Bellefonte. Although State College has 19 unions in the greater metropolitan area, they do not have a district plumbing location.

In fact, the closest is in Harrisburg, which is almost an hour and a half away. With State College growing rapidly with the addition of high-rise buildings, so has the need for plumbing.

The newest apartment building, The Standard, has more than a thousand toilets, but the plumbing doesn’t stop there. These workers work on everything from pipes to sinks, likely doubling the number of appliances under their supervision. Multiply this by the number of high-rise apartment complexes, then you know how extensive a job is.

We already have many malls and chain restaurants (all of which add more plumbing to the mix). We need support for our workers to keep this city we know and love afloat. That said, the H&M building should not only be turned into a home for the Plumbing Union, but also the hub for other unions in the same boat that need representation.

Caitlin burns: Joe Pa’s Closet

A permanent location for Joe Pa’s Closet would be a great replacement for H&M. Vintage Penn State clothing is highly sought after and would make it much more accessible.

A Penn State graduate and the owner of Joe Pa’s closet, Zac Cowell always has pop-up stores at 3 Dots, Doggie’s, and other downtown locations. A permanent storefront for him to sell items would be very unique and successful if he was likely to keep the store stocked.

Haylee Yocum: Sheetz

I’ve never been to downtown H&M, so I’m not sure exactly how big it is. But I do know it’s big enough for a Sheetz. There’s one on Pugh Street, but if you’re not actively looking for it, you’d never see it. Unless I go home for the weekend or take the bus to another part of State College, I can’t experience walking through the doors of a Sheetz and seeing everything in front of me.

Don’t even talk to me about a Wawa. This is without a doubt Sheetz territory. The food is better and the atmosphere is impeccable, especially for a college town. Downtown State College deserves a second, and better, Sheetz.

Charles Reinert: Wawa

I know it’s cliche, and I don’t care.

I miss Wawa so much when I’m not home. It’s the lifeblood of Philadelphia and it’s always one of the first places I go when I get home. That said, what’s stopping the goose from coming to central Pennsylvania? They would make money hand over hand from the big student organization that comes from the eastern side of the state and New Jersey.

I know I would go there almost every day to get me a Sizzli. Plus, all the yinzers here at State College both get a Sheetz and a Primanti’s to give them a taste of home. I think it’s high time we wood-drinking people got something to level the playing field.

Rachel Padnis: Wegman’s

Wegman’s should definitely replace downtown H&M. I don’t know how anyone could be against bringing Wegmans’ magic to the masses of people who live in the Borough and on campus.

I live for my 15 minute car rides to the Colonnade, but having a Wegman’s nearby would make my life a million times easier. I’m sure I speak for everyone on campus when I say the market fruit just isn’t the same.

Rico Gore: OPP Memorabilia Museum

I would like to see an OPP Memorabilia Museum because OPP still does not get the recognition it deserves. This world-class museum is said to be the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” from Penn State. I would like to see this beautiful place contain exhibits including, but not limited to, the very first OPP vehicle and the standard work schedule of the original OPP personnel. This public space would bring some more interesting history and beautiful art to the State College area.

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