Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

November 10, 2012

Big box tenants New growth for Bluefield, Va.

All of the long-vacant big box stores in Bluefield, Va., will soon be filled with new tenants. That’s good news for Bluefield, Va., Tazewell County and the region as a whole.

The last of the remaining big box stores that were empty in the town — the old Big Lots and Kroger sites — will soon have new occupants. Bluefield, Va. Town Manager Mike Watson confirmed Thursday that Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, one of the nation’s largest retailers of closeout and excess inventory merchandise, will open early next year at the old Big Lot’s store at the College Plaza Shopping Center. Some area residents are already familiar with the store having shopped at the popular Ollie’s Outlet in Beckley. Ollie’s should make for a great addition to the College Plaza Shopping Center. And it’s great to know that the old Big Lots store — which has been vacant now for several years — will finally have a new tenant.

Watson said the company should begin making renovations to the old Big Lots in a month or so. He said the outlet store is scheduled to open at the site early next year — perhaps by March.

A new dermatologist office also has moved into the old Kroger, and soon a second tenant — Wells Fargo Insurance Services — will be relocating into another section of the old Kroger. Wells Fargo is moving from the city of Bluefield to the town of Bluefield, Va.

Bluefield Economic Development Director Greg Shrewsbury confirmed last month that the insurance company had notified the city in June that their offices would be moving across the state line border.

Shrewsbury said Wells Fargo will move to Bluefield, Va., when their current lease in Bluefield expires at the end of the year. Shrewsbury said city officials in Bluefield tried to get the company to stay on the West Virginia side of the state line. But the good news is that the company is staying in the region.

We are also glad to see that the old big box stores in the town of Bluefield, Va. are finally finding new tenants. That’s good news for the town, and the region as a whole.

But there is still work to be done. Between the College Plaza and Ridgeview shopping centers in Bluefield, Va., there are still four tenant spaces available. Watson says there are some prospective tenants looking at the available spaces. However, until an agreement is reached between the owners of the shopping centers and the prospective tenants, Watson said the town is unable to comment further regarding the possible new developments.

We welcome the new additions to Virginia’s Tallest Town. Renewed growth in Bluefield, Va., is good news for the region as a whole. We hope this is a sign of better times to come. After all, many businesses and industries had been holding off until after the presidential election before considering or announcing expansion plans. Now that the election is finally over, we hope to see more positive economic development announcements for the region in the months and weeks ahead.

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