Marshalls will be taking the final place of retail stores moving into the Kmart redevelopment project off Highway 192, the London Laurel County Industrial Development Authority announced in a video on its Facebook page Monday.
Marshalls has over 1,000 stores across the country that expand into 42 different states, with an additional 61 stores in Canada and also some in Puerto Rico. The process of acquiring Marshalls took over a year, said Paula Thompson, the executive director of London Laurel County Industrial Development Authority.
“We started out with a void analysis to see what the community and the area in the region really needed and it was affordable clothing,” Thompson said. The void analysis doesn’t take into account what people are wanting to buy, but instead what needs they do not have enough access to.
Thompson said there was a hole in the availability of “name brand, affordable clothing,” and Marshalls fit the the need perfectly.
Marshalls is only behind its sister-company ,TJ Maxx, in the market for off-price family apparel and home fashion retail. The two stores have almost identical pricing and store layouts, with the biggest difference between them being Marshalls’ added emphasis on men’s wear and children’s clothing.
Besides doing a void analysis, Thompson worked with the owners of the building for months, leasing agents and Marshalls’ legal department. While the process took over a year, the old Kmart building sat empty for two years because it had an active lease.
The London Marshalls will be 2,400 square feet, which is slightly larger than the Burkes Outlet in the London Marketplace, according to the Facebook video. The stores work hours will be from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, while the store will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Thompson said London has a large commuting workforce, with around 60% of her big industries commuting from outside of the county. She is hoping that they see stores like these and decide to go shopping after they get off work or bring their family on the weekend to eat dinner and go shopping afterward.
The Facebook video announcement ended with Thompson saying these brands offer shoppers in London more variety to choose from and she urged people in the community to shop local after saying there’s no reason to go anywhere else for stores like the ones that will soon be offered.
Thompson said a lot of other businesses were interested in the London area, but there were no buildings available for them to lease. She said it is good that the city has no large buildings that are sitting empty, but added that they are working to meet the criteria to bring more businesses who want to lease to London in the future.
Marshalls was the last of four retailers to be announced and will be joining Kohl’s, Five Below, and Planet Fitness in the area. Marshalls will open on November 1 and hire between 60 to 65 people, Kohl’s will open September 30 and hire 70 people, Five Below will open October 11 and hire 30 people and Planet Fitness will open in December and hire 30 people.
Thompson said the Industrial Development Authority’s next project will be working on Chestnut Place, an area of 40 acres she believes to be the next big retail spot for the area.