Dunham’s Sports reopening in Springfield

Dunham’s Sports left its spot on Upper Valley Pike without much explanation earlier this year — but eight months later, the store is returning to its same location in Springfield Plaza.

The store is set to reopen later this month or in early October.

German Twp. Planning & Zoning Director George Degenhart said he hopes the return of Dunham’s is the tip of the iceberg for business on Upper Valley.

“In the past, the only thing we saw was maybe moving trucks — moving things out,” he said. “Well, we now have those trucks bringing things to us.”

Dunham’s closed on Jan. 12. In an email previously sent out to customers, the company said the store was losing its lease and would close.

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Several previous and current calls to Dunham’s Marketing department about reasons for the closure and the reopening have gone unanswered.

The store’s closure seemed like another nail in the coffin for an area that has recently struggled economically. Some of the major losses in the last few years include JCPenney’s, Macy’s, Elder Beerman, Target, Sears and — one of the most recent, Dick’s Sporting Goods on Bechtle Avenue.

“I just figured one more went down,” said Springfield shopper, Sandra Holzworth.

Holzworth said she noticed the ‘coming soon’ signs when she drove by the storefront. As a previous Dunham’s shopper and someone who’s lived in Springfield for decades — she was optimistic that retail on Upper Valley could once again come back to life.

“Happy we’re getting a quality store coming in here,” she said. “Let’s hope this is the beginning of more stores coming in.”

Degenhart also said they have been getting other inquiries about properties in the Upper Valley area.

“It looks like a turning point for retail in our community,” he said.

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One of the biggest pieces of the pie — is the Upper Valley Mall.

The Clark County Land Bank purchased 40 acres of the mall site in spring of 2018.

Since then, several local government partners have been working with a potential developer, but that developer hasn’t been identified and they also haven’t officially closed on the property.

In February, one of the mall’s current tenants posted on Facebook what appeared to be a rendering shared with them by the developer.

It showed a multi-use sports complex that included restaurants and retail — but at the time, Clark County officials warned that nothing was set in stone.

When asked last week about the current status of closing on the mall with a potential developer — Degenhart asked the community to keep faith in the long-term project.

“No one has said no yet, so that is positive,” he said “We’re talking about 15 months of people working on it very closely.”

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