Store will replace old Wal-Mart in Land O’ Lakes
By B.C. Manion
Bealls shoppers who are accustomed to traveling between company stores in Lutz and Land O’Lakes soon will be able to choose from a larger selection of goods under a single roof.
The Bradenton-based chain is closing its locations in the Land O’ Lakes plaza at US 41 and SR 54 and in Sunset Plaza on US 41, south of Sunset Lane in Lutz. The stores will close when the inventory in those stores sells out or when the new store opens, whichever happens first, said Bill Webster, Bealls director of public and government affairs.
The combined space of the current locations, at 2410 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. and 18445 US 41, respectively, totals about 20,000 square feet.
The new location at 21703 Village Lakes Shopping Center Drive in Land O’ Lakes will be 27,500 square feet. It will have an orange, red and white motif, Webster said.
The home goods section in the new store will be somewhat smaller than it is at the current stand-alone store in Lutz, Webster said. However, the new store will have a substantially larger selection of shoes, kids’ apparel, young men’s and juniors.
Bealls specializes in apparel for the entire family and has experienced considerable growth in its young men and jeans segments, Webster said. He thinks that’s because the company has increased its number of stores in urban areas.
“We have a really big plus size business,” Webster added.
The store will have an ample assortment of shoes, hats, handbags, wool ponchos, jewelry, luggage, home décor items and linens, he said.
The new store also will use the company’s new customer check out system, with shoppers waiting in a single line to check out. That system will ensure that people will be waited on in the order they stepped into line.
No layoffs are anticipated and it remains unclear whether any positions will be added, he said. The company will likely be able to meet its staffing needs by combining personnel from the stores it is closing, he said.
Bealls is enthusiastic about establishing a larger presence in the community, Webster said. “We have a very strong business at Land O’ Lakes. We love the market there.
“We have had that on our horizon to expand that for a very long time.”
The store at the new location will have a new façade, Webster said.
He’s optimistic about its prospects.
“We’re looking for more growth, absolutely. The outlet division has really thrived during the Recession. More and more people are looking for good prices and we absolutely do have that.”
Once things get moving, they’ll really get moving, Webster said. “Tallahassee is going to fast-track everything.”
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