While many retail stores, both large and small, are suffering from poor sales during the recession, off-price retailers are finding their business is in pretty good shape.
"Off-price stores tend to do very well in times like these," said Carol Steinkrauss, a spokeswoman for T.J. Maxx. "Everyone's looking for a bargain."
And, soon Annapolis residents will have an opportunity to shop for those bargains when a T.J. Maxx store opens next month at the Festival at Riva Road shopping center.
A Massachusetts-based retailer, T.J. Maxx will be opening its second store in Anne Arundel County, and the ninth in Maryland. With the addition of the Annapolis store, T.J. Maxx will have 426 stores in the United States.
The Annapolis store is scheduled to hold its grand opening Oct. 20.
Steinkrauss said her company selected the location of the Festival at Riva Road using the same criteria it uses for all of its stores.
"Well, first of all, we're always on the lookout for the best deal, and we think we found it there," she said. "We tend to locate in an area where there's 75,000 or more people.
"Also we tend to locate in strip centers, and about five miles from a major mall. We love the traffic," Steinkrauss added.
The Festival at Riva Road fits T.J. Maxx's criteria in that it is a strip shopping center and home to stores such as Giant Foods, Blockbuster Video, Chili's Restaurant and Kuppenheimer's. The PTC Festival also is near the intersection of Riva Road and Forest Drive, a heavily traveled area.
In addition, the shopping center is across the street from the Parole Plaza Shopping Center, and near Forest Plaza and the Ames Shopping Center. The Festival is also less than a mile from Annapolis Mall and Annapolis Plaza.
Generally, Steinkrauss said, T.J. Maxx will hire about 100 people, many on a temporarily basis until the store is set up. Then, the store will be staffed with 65 to 70 full-time, permanent employees.
The new store will be about 21,000 square feet, about the same as all other T.J. Maxx stores, Steinkrauss said. The space is needed because T.J. Maxx buyers purchase more than 10,000 new pieces of merchandise for each store each week, she added.
T.J. Maxx carries brand-name clothing for the entire family, as well as giftware, domestics, fine jewelry and shoes at prices 20 to 60 percent less than regular department and specialty store prices.
Steinkrauss said the store's typical shopper is a woman, age 25-49, working or non-working, with kids, and a household income of $35,000.