Big Lots, Luskin's plan to join Village 140

August 18, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Big Lots, a store that sells factory seconds, and Luskins, the Baltimore-area appliance giant, plan to move into part of the former Westminster Ames department store by the end of the year.

The remainder of the store's space is being strongly considered by two Carroll County medical clinics, said Jerome Montford, partial owner of the 140 Village shopping center in Westminster.

"We expect to start working there [on site] within the next few weeks," Mr. Montford said of Big Lots. "I think they will add a lot to Carroll County and Westminster."

Kent Larsson, a corporate spokesman, said Big Lots expects to begin hiring at the end of September. Company officials plan to open early in November.

"We hire between 35 to 40 people at a store, normally," Mr. Larsson said. "We may be hiring a little more because it's close to Christmas."

The subsidiary of Consolidated Stores in Columbus, Ohio, will occupy 23,000 square feet of the 47,800-square-foot facility, Mr. Montford said.

The company purchases truckloads of merchandise that has been rejected because of slight flaws, he said.

For example, a trash can manufacturer may reject an entire batch because the yellow color isn't as bright as it should be. Big Lots would sell that $10 trash can for about $1.50, he said.

"It's the exact same thing, but the manufacturer doesn't want it because the color is off," Mr. Montford said. "It's first-rate merchandise that the manufacturer doesn't want to put out for sale in the general field."

Westminster's Big Lots, one of 480 in the United States, also will sell crafts, children's clothing and other items.

"It's almost like a department store," said Mr. Montford, who visited the company's Winchester, Va., store before signing a lease last week.

Customers told him they shop there because they "never know what they are going to find and the prices are so low," Mr. Montford said. "They're lower than discount."

The Westminster store is among the corporation's first in Maryland, Mr. Larsson said. Big Lots has a branch in Cumberland and plans to open another in Hagerstown by the end of the year.

"We're moving in that direction and we're very excited about it," he said.

Mr. Montford said, "I feel very good about it. There's nothing like it in Carroll County, nothing like it in lower Pennsylvania.

"It brings in people to help the other tenants. Since Ames left, they've suffered a little bit."

The national chain left 140 Village in April in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that closed 10 Maryland stores, including one in Hampstead.

Luskin's plans to occupy 15,800 square feet in the strip center's end space, Mr. Montford said.

Jack Luskin, owner of the Baltimore-area chain, declined to comment on the chain's new store.

Mr. Montford also said two area medical clinics -- Carroll County Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, and Carroll County Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center -- are considering leasing the remaining space.

Carroll County Center for Orthopedic Surgery is looking at 3,500 square feet, and Carroll County Sports Medicine is considering 3,400 square feet, he said.

"The leases are out and are in the lawyers' hands," Mr. Montford said.

Current plans call for both offices to be decorated in yellow brick with emerald green awnings, he said.

"I believe what they are proposing is creating a street name for the back of the building," said Gregory Failla, administrator of the Carroll County Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.

Entrances to both offices would be from that new street, he said.

The offices, which are not related, currently are located in the Winchester Building on North Court Street in Westminster.

"Carroll County government bought the building and they need the office space," said Paul Welliver, program director of the Carroll County Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center.

"We expect to sign any day now," Mr. Failla said. "The anticipated move will be in the beginning of November."

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