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Harper’s: Connecting with the Community for 94 Years

For 94 years, Harper’s has had its home on College Avenue in Downtown State College.

Brian Cohen, the owner of Harper’s, is a third generation retailer, having grown up with his grandparents working in the business and spending half of his own retail career working with both of his parents.

“I’ve always lived in the State College Borough, within three blocks to a mile of my store. I like the atmosphere from students to alumni to the people who live and work here. We have a very friendly community. There’s a lot of energy, and I personally feed off of that energy.”

The key to Cohen’s success has been the relationships that are built within the community.

“We have a great product and a beautiful store, but at the end of the line, it’s the relationships we have with our customers.”

Cohen is proud of Harper’s relationship with the State College community. From partnering with Meals on Wheels to participating in community fundraisers, Harper’s does what big box retail can’t; forge important relationships within the community.

There is a generational aspect to Harper’s as well, where sometimes multiple generations shop in the store together, something that Cohen loves to see.

“I like that we’ve been able to work with generations of people from State College and the Centre region. I like when I see generations of our customers come in, sometimes three generations shopping together, it’s a great feeling you get in a locally owned store.”

Being in Downtown State College is important to the longevity of Harper’s.

“We’re proud to be here, and I think a business like mine with this store and this kind of clientele, it wouldn’t work if it wasn’t in downtown”


You can visit Harper’s at 224 East College Avenue in Downtown State College.