Smith + Front reopens in Bellefonte’s historic Gamble Mill

Smith + Front reopens in Bellefonte’s historic Gamble Mill

Centre County | I-80 Frontier of the Pennsylvania Wilds

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the PA Wilds Are Calling blog at PAWilds.com/blog.

By Ellen Matis

Step inside one of Bellefonte’s most historic gems — the Gamble Mill — and you’ll find a shop that’s been a longtime staple in the Pennsylvania Wilds. It’s just in a new spot. 

Smith + Front, a retail store previously based in Philipsburg, recently opened in a new location in Bellefonte. Both communities are in the I-80 Frontier landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds. 

When owner Staci Egan started looking for her next space early in 2020, she said that Bellefonte “was the most up-and-coming area in Centre County.”

“(Bellefonte) has everything a customer could want,” she said. 

The community has seen significant downtown growth over the course of a few years, with the opening of shops, boutiques, and more, and is home to business-centric events like Friday in the ‘Fonte. With a unique roster of businesses and activities, Bellefonte is positioned to attract shoppers. 

“There’s a movement for people wanting to shop small and local,” Egan said. “I think the pandemic increased it.”

Egan noted that as more and more people start to shop local, they see a difference in quality and customer service — and that keeps them coming back for more. 

What was once a dark, windowless space in the depths of the historic mill, has been transformed as part of an overall project to revitalize the entire building. In the mill, visitors will find a restaurant, bar, and special event space; and Smith + Front’s totally transformed retail space. 

Envisioning the space before the remodel wasn’t easy, Egan said. “It took a lot of creativity and I’m happy with the direction.” Shoppers will find that original pieces of the mill remain inside the new space. 

Visitors to Smith + Front can expect to find handmade and locally based products and gifts, including a large plant selection from a Pennsylvania greenhouse. 

“I try to keep (the inventory) to creatives and makers and other small businesses so that when you support us you’re supporting several people within your community,” Egan said. 

The shop is now open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. 

Smith + Front is a Trading Post member of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Smith + Front or leave a review/recommendation on the company’s Wilds Cooperative of PA profile!


RECENT WCO MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

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    The Progress Fund is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that is focused on providing flexible financing to new or expanding tourism-niche businesses.
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    Picture this: A perfectly curated tablescape alongside slowly flowing water, underneath the shade of a weeping willow. In the background, the sound of kids playing, ducks quacking, and even a summer concert being performed. It’s the scene that Renea Nichols creates almost weekly through her business Spring Creek Picnics, based in Bellefonte — part of the I-80 Frontier landscape of the PA Wilds.
  • PA Made: Bringing the outdoors in
    Mickayla Poland at PA Made has a knack for bringing the outdoors inside. Her artwork is inspired by wildlife, culture and the people of Elk County. And her workspace is, too.

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