Five Below to open in the Lawrence Shopping Center

Five Below is set to open its new store at the Lawrence Shopping Center on July 30.LEA KAHN/STAFF
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Five Below is set to open its new store at the Lawrence Shopping Center on July 30.LEA KAHN/STAFF

Five Below, which sells everything from room decorations, clothing and toys and games at prices ranging from $1 to $5, is poised to open its new store at the Lawrence Shopping Center.

Five Below has announced that it will open its doors July 30, joining several new businesses that have already opened or that are planning to do so in the next few weeks at the shopping center at 2495 Brunswick Pike.

The Five Below chain, which opened its first store in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in 2002, operates 1,050 stores in 39 states. This year, it plans to open 13 stores, including the new store at the Lawrence Shopping Center, according to its website.

Five Below is opening a few weeks after Lidl, the German grocery store chain, opened in the former ACME supermarket space in June. Starbucks and Aspen Dental are slated to move into the former Wells Fargo bank building across the parking lot and which is under renovation.

The three soon-to-be-opened stores and businesses are among the new businesses that have opened in the past two years at the Lawrence Shopping Center. The shopping center is anchored by Burlington Coat Factory and Staples.

New Jersey Camera, the Cafe du Pain bakery and Plato’s Closet, which sells second-hand clothing for teenagers and young adults, were among the first to open in the revitalized shopping center.

The Dollar Tree discount store, which opened its doors in August 2020, moved across the street from its former location on Brunswick Pike. It is next door to the Auto Zone automotive parts store that also opened for business. The two businesses are in part of the space that was formerly occupied by the CVS drug store chain.

The Island Sports Bar and Grill opened for business in late 2020 in the space formerly occupied by the Fusion House restaurant. Next door to the Island Bar and Grill is the Heavenly Hounds dog training business.

City Electric Supply, which is a wholesale electric supply company, occupies the space that used to house the R&S Strauss auto supply store in the same one-story building as Island Sports Bar and Grill and Heavenly Hounds.

Princeton eBikes, which sells electric bicycles, has also opened its doors. Princeton eBikes donates its profits to the Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, which has a site on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township. The club offers social, enrichment and recreational activities to young people ages 3 to 18 years old.

The LA Fitness gym is planned for the former Huffman Koos furniture store, which was demolished in January 2020 to make way for the construction of the gym. Construction has been stalled. The Lawrence Township Planning Board extended site plan approval for the project until Oct. 15.

There are still a few vacant store fronts, and signs advertising those vacancies have been taped to the storefront windows.

The 393,430-square-foot Lawrence Shopping Center was purchased by JJ Operating Inc. for $16.2 million in December 2016, according to the Lawrence Township Tax Assessor’s Office.

The prior owner, wbcmt 2007-c33 Brunswick Pike LLC, acquired the Lawrence Shopping Center at a Mercer County sheriff’s sale in 2013. Lawrence Center LLC, which owned the shopping center, defaulted on a $39.5 million loan, which led to the sheriff’s sale to satisfy the debt.

JJ Operating Inc., the current owner, is a family-owned real estate investment and management company based in New York City.

The Lawrence Shopping Center, which opened in 1960, was the first major shopping center in Lawrence Township. It consisted of 150,000 square feet and 13 stores. The shopping center underwent expansions and renovations several times between 1966 and 1997.

Among the original stores at the Lawrence Shopping Center were W.T. Grant, which was a 5- and 10-cent store; the Rexall drug store; Dunham’s department store; the Pantry Pride grocery store and Lawrence Liquors, according to records on file at the Lawrence Township Tax Assessor’s Office.