Woolworth’s – Penn Street / Berkshire Mall

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Woolworth's Penn Street Woolworth's Berkshire Mall
Image & caption from “Berks Countians; The Wonderful Way We Live”
When this photo of the interior of Woolworth’s 5¢ and 10¢ store – 530-534 Penn, around 1911 – this was a “5-and-dime” emporium in the true sense. Everything in the place was priced at a nickel or dime. A sign visible near the rear of the aisle clearly states that “Nothing in this store over 10 cts.” Photo by John. B. Woods.

Woolworth’s 6th and Penn Reading store was opened on September 20th, 1884, under the name, “Woolworth & Knox”. It was just three doors down Penn Street across from 6th street from the successful Pomeroy’s department store and later moved to the Berkshire Mall.

Woolworth's Penn Street Woolworth's Berkshire Mall

Woolworth’s moved to the Berkshire Mall when it opened in 1970, as did many of the successful Penn Street department stores. Woolworth’s was again next to Pomeroy’s (first Lit Brothers, but only 1970-1975) near the center of the mall. It could be accessed from the outside of the mall, and was also a restaurant called “Harvest House”.

Woolworth's Penn Street Woolworth's Berkshire Mall
Woolworth’s occupied store space #27, outlined in yellow.

Woolworths chain started declining in the 80s due to over-expansion, and it is believed the Mall location closed for good in the mid-late 90s. The inner-mall part was subdivided into a few more store spaces. The back half that was accessible from the outside was divided off.

Woolworth's Penn Street Woolworth's Berkshire Mall

Above is the outside entrance to what was the Woolworth’s at the Berkshire Mall as it is today, next to the defunct BonTon. As long as I can remember this space has been unoccupied. If you remember it being anything since Woolworth’s closing, please post in the comments.


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Nanette B Merrill
Nanette B Merrill
4 years ago

Remembering sitting at the counter at Woolworths drinking a grape drink and eating a soft pretzel with my bag of purchases at my feet. Good times.

Maureen Frei
Maureen Frei
4 years ago

Gateway Computers used to be there in the early 2000s

Kevin Marsh
Kevin Marsh
10 months ago

I remember back in ’97 when they first remastered the original Star Wars trilogy and rereleased them in the movies I got really REALLY into collecting the new toys, and I very distinctly remember buying my first action figure at Woolworth’s in Berkshire Mall. It was the deluxe Luke Skywalker figure with the desert skiff vehicle. It definitely closed within a year or so of that, so I’m gonna say Berkshire Woolworth’s probably closed around ’98 or ’99. I specifically remember that the toy section was right next to the pet section where they used to always have dozens of Parakeets chirping away. This would have been on the right hand side of the store when you walked in through the mall entrance. If you kept walking down the right side past toys and pets to the back right corner of the store you would reach the electronics/VHS/video game section. I can still remember the bin full of discount and clearance NES games for $4.99-$9.99.

Also, as Maureen Frei stated below, the outside entrance you have pictured was used for a Gateway computer (then dubbed ‘Gateway 2000’) store which was called ‘Gateway Country’, and like their other stores, used a somewhat odd cowskin print motif throughout the store. The Woolworth space was subdivided to allow for this, and as such, the Gateway Country store was not accessible from inside the mall. The old Woolworth outside entrance was the only way to get into the store. Hard for me to remember what took it’s place on the inside of the mall, but I definitely know a large portion of it briefly became a Disney store, which if memory serves me correctly did not last very long.


Berks Nostalgia