BLUEFIELD — A new retail store that is opening in Bluefield will hire 75 or more people.
Gabe’s will open March 27 in the former Kmart building on Cumberland Road, becoming the 111th store in the Morgantown-based company.
“We are looking to hire 75-plus,” said Louisa Mulligan, the company’s marketing director. “The hiring event will be next week.”
That event is set for Feb. 22-24 at the Quality Hotel and Conference Center in Bluefield.
Gabe’s will occupy about 70,000 square feet in the store, which will include clothing for men, women, and children, workwear, footwear, toys and games, tech, home and garden, kitchen, as well as food staples and other essential items.
Kmart closed in 2016 and the building was eventually sold to local businessman Raj Chopra who started marketing the facility for retail businesses.
“It’s great news that another business will be opening in Bluefield and creating jobs,” said Jim Spencer, the city’s director of Community and Economic Development. “I think Gabe’s will have a positive impact on other businesses in the area because they will draw people into Bluefield who shop at other locations and take advantage of the great restaurants we have here.”
Spencer said it’s great to see local people as well as companies take an interest in the city and area.
“We are thankful for the investment from Raj and his team,” he said of the effort to market the facility, adding that the city also appreciates Gabe’s interest in locating here.
Bluefield Mayor Ron Martin also said it is a big plus for the city.
“We are extremely pleased that Gabe’s has chosen to locate in Bluefield and that they are adding so many jobs to our city,” he said. “This is part of the overall forward momentum that Bluefield has been experiencing for the last several years. We are looking forward to their opening and welcome them to our community.”
Besides West Virginia, Gabe’s also has stores in Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Seven more openings are planned into 2021, Mulligan said.
The store was founded in 1961 in Morgantown, but actually had its roots in the early 1920s when, according to the company’s website, Z.G. Gabriel began selling merchandise out of the back of a green-paneled truck he had outfitted with shelves and drawers.
“As he drove his mobile shop through the coal towns of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, he greeted and got to know his customers, seeing firsthand the need for quality merchandise at a discounted price,” the website says. “Soon, Z.G. could be found hopping on freight trains bound for New York City, arms filled with empty duffle bags. There, he’d buy up excess inventory from shops, returning with his bags overflowing and apparel that he could sell at deep discounts.”
In 1961 Z.G.’s two sons, James and Arthur, co-founded the Gabriel Brothers Stores in Morgantown. Through the 1980s and 1990s the brothers led Gabe’s through an expansion into states including Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. In 2005, new ownership rebranded the stores as “Gabe’s.”
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