A customer gets ready to play Fortnite on a PC at Pixel Playground’s new location in The Shops at Upper Valley Pike Monday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Remodeled shopping center adds tenants

A previously vacant strip mall on Upper Valley Pike is showing new signs of life after a small number of local businesses — including a screen printing shop and an arcade facility — have moved into the shopping center.

Pixel Playground moved from its previous location at the Upper Valley Mall to the shopping center at 1030 to 1068 Upper Valley Pike and reopened a few weeks ago, said Brian Anderson, Pixel Playground’s owner. The business focuses on providing a space for customers to meet and play new and old video games on a variety of consoles.

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The mall was a good place to start the business, but the new location at 1062 Upper Valley Pike provides nearly twice the space and will allow the business to grow, Anderson said. He said the mall location helped him figure out what it would take to make the business successful, but the shopping center will allow the business to offer more room for expansion.

The old space was about 3,500 square feet, compared to about 6,000 square feet in the shopping center.

“There’s a lot of flexibility to grow into if we choose,” Anderson said.

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Anderson is one of three new tenants for the shopping center, which was vacant as recently as July.

Argeri Lagos, a Springfield attorney and owner of Spartan Residential Properties LLC, purchased the shopping center earlier this year and has since made several improvements, including renovating the interior of the businesses and refurbishing the parking lot.

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Lagos purchased the property from a limited liability company called CR Dayton VI in February for about $54,000, according to records from the Clark County Auditor’s Office. Lagos said further work is planned to improve the heating and air conditioning systems within the shopping center, but the majority of the renovations are complete.

“It’s at a point right now where I’m comfortable showing it to people,” Lagos said.

He said about seven additional spaces are still available in the center, ranging from a 15,000 square foot site to a storefront as small as 860 square feet.

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“We’re just making all the spaces presentable so it’s easy to imagine what’s possible there,” Lagos said.

Along with Pixel Playground, Baldwin House LTD. and Champion City Awards moved into the shopping center at 1030 Upper Valley Pike, said owner Rodger Daye. The business focuses on screen printing and providing promotional items for businesses, Daye said. He said the businesses can print company logos and other designs on a wide variety of promotional items.

“If you want to put your name on it, I can do it,” Daye said.

He said he looked at other possible locations, but said the shopping center was the best fit for the size and price he needed.

“I needed 3,000 square feet, and I was having trouble finding it at a reasonable rate,” Daye said.

It’s Your Party Bakery is also planning to move from its present location at 45 E. Clark St. in North Hampton to the shopping center by early January, said Shari Donnelly, who owns the bakery.

She started the business in her home, but opened a store front in North Hampton about three years ago. She said the business provides specialty cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other items, but its starting to outgrow its current location. She said the shopping center should offer better foot traffic and provide a more convenient location for customers.

“Foot traffic is the main reason, and everyone says driving the seven or eight miles to North Hampton was so far out of the way,” Donnelly said. “I decided to go to my customers instead.”

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