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Mall tenants welcome addition of Scheels Saturday

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news Grand Forks, 58203

Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

For more than 10 years, a large section of the west end of the Columbia Mall sat vacant.

And the lack of an anchor tenant on that side of the mall left other store managers feeling like they were missing out on potential customers. Target left the Columbia Mall for the other side of 32nd Avenue in 2001.

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But several neighboring store managers said they expect the added foot traffic Scheels will draw after it opens Saturday morning will mean more business for them as well.

“We’ve been here for two years, and not too many people knew we were here,” said Ginger Tangen, manager of the Dressbarn located down the hall from the future Scheels. “This is going to be a big plus for us. We’re really looking forward to it.”

“I think it’s going to be a plus for the mall,” she added.

Big move

Scheels is leaving behind its current 38,000-square-foot space across the street from Altru Hospital to a 120,000-square-foot spot at the Columbia Mall. Its former space, located at 1375 S. Columbia Road, is owned by Investors Real Estate Trust, or IRET.

Chuck Greenberg, senior vice president for commercial asset management at IRET, said they are marketing the site “and have interest” but don’t have a tenant finalized. He declined to speculate what kind of tenant would locate there.

Scheels, based in Fargo with locations throughout the Midwest, has expanded a number of its locations in the past few years to include more inventory and attractions.

The sporting goods store is opening with a bang on Saturday morning, offering thousands of dollars in gift cards, live entertainment and Zumba classes. The festivities begin at 6 a.m. and the store itself will open to the public at 9 a.m.

Managers of nearby stores, like Dressbarn, said they are planning sales to coincide with Scheels’ opening. Mall management also offered stores the ability to open earlier to line up with Scheels’ opening, according to Lauren Schlieman, an assistant manager at American Eagle Outfitters. They’ll be opening at 9 a.m. rather than the usual 10 a.m.

“Now that we have this I know this is going to draw a lot more people,” she said. Like Dressbarn, American Eagle is located on the west side of the mall where there hasn’t been an anchor tenant.

“I think obviously we’ll play off of each other’s traffic,” Jason Heintz, the local Scheels manager said of Scheels and the mall.

A destination

Scheels officials have said their expanded stores emphasize the experience more than simply shopping for new clothes or gear. The new store will feature a deli, sports simulator game and a mini bowling alley, as well as more space for inventory.

“I think Scheels is a destination for everyone, from the casual shopper looking for new sneakers to the avid outdoors-person,” said Sherry Mast, senior vice president of leasing for GK Development, the owner and manager of Columbia Mall. “And I think the store is going to be a strong complement to the Columbia Mall merchants.”

Dustin Saldet, an assistant manager at Tradehome Shoes just down the hall from Scheels, also expects the new addition will benefit them.

“They of course sell a lot of the same things we do,” Saldet said. “But at the same time, it brings a lot more people to the mall.”

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