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City of Peoria Press Release

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Retailers to Occupy Two Empty 'Big Boxes'

Hobby Lobby Coming to Bell Road; M.D. Pruitt’s to Old Peoria Avenue Walmart


PEORIA, Ariz. (Nov. 2, 2009) – Peoria is celebrating the emergence of new tenants for not one, but two, vacant “big-box” locations.

Hobby Lobby will be taking over the former Circuit City on the south side of Bell Road between 75th and 77th avenues, while M.D. Pruitt’s will be moving into the former Walmart location on Peoria Avenue near 83rd and Grand avenues.

“When you are able to fill an empty big-box store you are able to re-energize a power center. It’s like getting a breath of air,” says Scott Cooper of Peoria’s Economic Development Services Department. “It brings people back to an area that was left behind – and draws new people as well.”

The two stores also will bring new jobs to the city, and the sales taxes they generate will help pay for city services.

“To be able to fill two big boxes at once in this economy is a real coup,” says Susan J. Daluddung, Peoria’s deputy city manager for Development and Community Services. “It’s vote of confidence in the city’s ability to emerge from this downturn stronger than ever.”

Home furnishings supplier M.D. Pruitt’s has been operating in Phoenix since the early 1950s. It has leased 117,000 square feet in Peoria Town Center, a location that housed Walmart until the latter moved a few blocks down Peoria Avenue to a new Supercenter. The store is expected to employ 10-to-12 people and open this month.

Acacia District Councilmember Vicki Hunt says the arrival of M.D. Pruitt’s is a big deal for area she represents.

“I’m thrilled that Pruitt’s has committed to joining our downtown economy,” Hunt says. “I know they will bring an outstanding effort and influence in revitalizing our downtown.”

Hobby Lobby is an Oklahoma City-based retailer of materials for crafts, picture framing, jewelry making, fashion fabrics, floral arts, cards, parties, baskets, wearable art, home accents and holiday supplies. It operates more than 400 stores in 35 states.
According to Vincent Parker, its director of training and customer service, “Current market conditions have made our growth in the Valley more attainable, and we have been able to expand in order to meet our growing customer base.”

Hobby Lobby will take over a 50,000-square-foot former Circuit City location that has been vacant since the end of 2008. The store is expected to employ 30 to 50 people and open in the late spring or early summer. Willow District Councilmember Joan Evans calls it “a welcome addition to the Sports Complex area.”