More than $2.9 million is being spent on new retail stores in Springfield’s busiest shopping corridor, while a regional farm retailer may fill a large vacant space on Upper Valley Pike.
Hobby Lobby is spending about $2.1 million to construct a new 55,000-square-foot location on North Bechtle Avenue. Dollar Tree, 1674 N. Bechtle Ave., will build a new, $658,000 location in one of outlots in front of the Hobby Lobby development.
Kay Jewelers also is constructing a new $163,000 location inside the Bechtle Crossing shopping center at 1654 N. Bechtle Ave.
And Rural King, a regional farm retailer with 86 stores in 10 states, may be filling the vacant space at the former Kmart location at 1476 Upper Valley Pike.
The new Hobby Lobby store is expected to open in late spring, spokesman Vince Parker said.
“We are hoping to better serve our current customer base and be accessible to new customers,” Parker wrote in an e-mail to the Springfield News-Sun.
All employees will transfer to the new location, Parker said.
The development plan for the new shopping center includes the 55,000-square-foot Hobby Lobby store and a 30,000-square-foot anchor store, as well as 55,000-square-feet of shops in between the two stores. The plan also includes three outlots in front of the big box developments.
“They’re moving really fast on (Hobby Lobby),” said Springfield Planning, Zoning and Code Administrator Stephen Thompson.
Kay Jewelers has applied for several permits, including for signs, and is currently renovating the space, Thompson said. The new location will be about 2,400 square feet.
“It’s a good thing for Bechtle because there are some vacant tenant spaces,” Thompson said. “It’s good to fill those up. It’s good to get a little bit more variety.”
The jewelry store currently has a location at the Upper Valley Mall. It’s not clear if that one will remain open. Representatives from Kay Jewelers and the mall couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.
The Dollar Tree is expected to begin construction on its more than 9,000-square-foot location in March, according to building permits.
The former Dollar Tree location further south on Becthle Avenue is expected to be demolished along with the Ashley Furniture Store, 1690 Bechtle Ave., to build a Dick’s Sporting Goods. Ashley Furniture is expected to close by the end of the year.
Bechtle Avenue remains a hot spot for retail development for the community, said Horton Hobbs, vice president for economic development of the Chamber of Greater Springfield.
“I don’t see that changing until that area is full, which maybe won’t be that long from now,” Hobbs said.
Rural King currently has locations in Xenia and Huber Heights. The company didn’t return multiple calls seeking comment on Monday.
“Everything looks like it’s a go,” Degenhart said. “They’re the perfect match for our Springfield market. … We’re a tremendous market that’s under served now. This particular company does a great job with bricks and mortar and internet.”
Several community members have asked Degenhart to examine a Rural King in the former Kmart location, which closed last year.
“It’s the people who have wanted this store,” he said. “We’re excited about the possibility of them coming to town.”
Hobbs has been working with an interested company for the location, but couldn’t confirm nor deny that the retailers Rural King.
Clark County Commissioner John Detrick met with company officials about six weeks ago.
“I had a very positive meeting (with the company),” Detrick said. “The fact that they’ve moved this far is very indicative that something positive is going to happen.”
Residents from Clark County are driving to other locations nearby, he said.
The county’s agriculture base will be good for the company, Detrick said, and the opening will help offset some of the recent losses at the nearby Upper Valley Mall.
“It’s a distinct niche and I’m sure they’ll do well,” he said. “They have a great track record … The mall area is still very viable.”
The reuse of the former Kmart will be good for the area, said Springfield resident Chelsie Prater, who was shopping at Hobby Lobby on Monday.
“It’s nice to see something going in there instead of an empty building,” Prater said.
The new Hobby Lobby location on Bechtle Avenue could lead to more trips in the future, she said.
“It’s closer to other businesses that we go to,” Prater said.
By the numbers
$2.9 Million: Money being spent on three new retail stores on North Bechtle Avenue, including a $2.1 million Hobby Lobby location
$658,000: Money being spent on a new Dollar Tree location on North Bechtle Avenue
$163,000: Money being spent on a new Kay Jewelers location at the Bechtle Crossing shopping center
The Springfield News-Sun provides complete coverage of retail development in Clark County, including recent stories on the Ashley Furniture store closing and the Upper Valley Mall auction.