The Commerce Journal
If all the pieces fall into place over the next week, Commerce’s newest business plans to roll out the red carpet to customers on Nov. 2.
Hibbett Sports, a sporting goods chain with nearly 900 stores in 29 states, is a new tenant in University Shopping Center on the northwest corner of the Live Oak Street and State Highway 50 intersection in west Commerce.
“We came to Commerce for the first time a year ago, and we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t already have a store there,” said Robby Compton, regional executive for Hibbett. “Commerce is one of several stores that we’ll be opening over the next two weeks, and that’s really exciting because that will give us more than 900 stores nationwide.”
The bulk of Hibbett stores are located throughout the southeast U.S.
Hibbett will occupy one of three spaces that have been carved out of the former location of the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum at the south end of the center. A Winn-Dixie supermarket was the original tenant in that location. The space has been vacant since the museum relocated to a building on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus. Hibbett will be occupying a 5,500 square feet section of the building.
Store manager Lydia Flores said the only thing that could delay the opening is logistics. The store is being finished out and fitted with merchandise displays this week, and inventory started arriving Oct. 28. Hibbett sells footwear, apparel and athletic equipment for a wide range of sports.
Flores, a four-year veteran with the company, was previously assistant manager of the Paris store.
Dollar Tree, a Birmingham, Ala.-based chain of 5,000 dollar stores in all 48 contiguous states, also is nearing completion of its 8,000 sq. ft. store just south of the Hibbett location.
Summit Properties from Little Rock, Ark., has been selecting new tenants and planning refurbishment of most of the shopping center. Planned improvements include new facades for the properties under Summit’s management.
Wanda Ellenberger, office manager for Summit, said that resurfaced parking lots and permanent repairs to center entrances also are in the offing.
“We’re really pleased to welcome our new tenants,” Ellenberger said. “The areas of the center that we manage are being refurbished, and we are sure people in the Commerce trade area will appreciate the improvements.”
Summit is recruiting a tenant for the remaining 8,000 square feet space in the old museum location.
New facades also are being constructed on three storefronts on the north wing of the center. Adventures, a screen printing firm, leased one of those spaces in June.
The site of the Burke’s store and the building formerly occupied by Fred’s discount store are under management of a different commercial realty company.
“This is really good for Commerce,” said Bonnie Hunter, director of economic development for the city. “As a community, we need to be very supportive of these new businesses.”
Besides broadening the base of merchandise available in Commerce, Hunter pointed out that the two stores will provide new jobs and generate tax revenue for the city.
Both stores are in the process of hiring staff.