New Year Brings New Business to St. Marys

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Wednesday 5 January 2022

By William Kincaid

A whirlwind of economic development is underway at St. Marys Square Business Com. . .

ST. MARYS – The St. Marys Square shopping complex is home to a host of new businesses that are expected to further boost commerce in the 29.4-acre commercial building located just off US 33 on Indiana Avenue.

The revitalized resort is almost fully leased with 22 of the 24 suites on offer, said Janice Grieshop, vice president of St. Marys Square Business Complex LLC.

Goodwill opened on December 30, The Tap House at the Square is expected to start serving foam in late January, and discount retailer Big Lots is targeting an August opening, according to St. Marys Square officials.

Comprising 36,000 square feet in an area that housed a third of the former JCPenney store, Goodwill offers clothing, housewares, textiles, shoes, furniture, electronics and appliances, toys, books and d ‘other articles.

“It was amazing how well received it was,” Grieshop said of the initial response to the store.

The store currently has five employees and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, said Cindy Carusone, public relations manager for Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley. Those hours will change once 20 more employees are hired, she said.

Carusone said St. Marys was a good fit for Goodwill.

“Whenever we consider opening a location anywhere in our service area, we are looking at a community that we think we can help as a whole and also a community that can support the mission of Goodwill and Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley.” , she said. “And there was the mall right there. We felt like we could fill the void for St. Marys in this mall as well. It helps the community as well.”

For every $ 1 in revenue generated, 87 cents goes to programs for people with disabilities or other challenges, noted Carusone.

“In reality, our stores are there to support our more than 40 programs that we have for people with disabilities or who face other challenges and barriers to become independent,” she said.

Sandwiched between Dollar Tree and GNC, Tap House will have 50 self-serve taps, allowing customers to serve their own beer, wine, cocktails, seltzer, ciders, cold beer and kombucha, according to directors Bill and Jill Roy.

“We’re going to try to incorporate a bunch of really local breweries and we’re going to try to get some hard-to-find craft beers that everyone is always looking for,” said Jill Roy.

There will also be small plates and appetizers. This spring, Tap House aims to open a beer garden with seating for 40 patrons and flat-screen TVs. Live music and food trucks are also on the program.

It was the culmination of a dream of sorts for the Roys, who regularly visit breweries on their way to business and vacation destinations.

“If you look back in all of our photo albums he’s traveled all over the country,” Jill Roy said. “We travel from brewery to brewery. We’re not going anywhere in a straight line. If we go to Boston, we’ll go through upper New York state so it can hit all the good breweries out there.”

In fact, the couple was on one of their trips when they stumbled upon the self-serve model where customers pay by the ounce.

“We ran into this concept in Denver and then locally in a few places in Ohio and we just thought it was a perfect fit,” she said.

After opening a tab, a customer will receive a card that allows them to operate the draft system and pour up to a full pint. Once finished, they can pay their bill from the table.

“This will allow us to operate with fewer employees,” added Jill Roy. “With the tightening caused by COVID with the labor pool and everything, we thought that would be a good way to ease (Bill Roy) into retirement and do something he loves.”

Bill Roy left his career in the auto industry, where he had worked as an engineer and in maintenance management, to operate Tap House, according to the couple.

In August, Big Lots, which operates more than 1,400 stores in 47 states, plans to open a new 36,000 square foot site, also in the old JCPenney store, Grieshop said.

“They were looking to expand,” she said.

St. Marys Square Business Complex LLC was established in 2018 and purchased the property. The LLC consists of Janice and Herb Grieshop, Bill and Jill Roy and Jeff and Kelli Grieshop, the same people behind Celina Tent, Janice Grieshop said.

Celina Tent manufactures and distributes tents, tarps, ducts and accessories for military vehicles around the world. Its products are used in government, rental and hospitality industries.

With expansion in mind, Celina Tent officials turned to the old Kmart store located in the shopping complex. The Kmart closed its doors in January 2018.

“We needed space and it was a quick way to get space,” Janice Grieshop said.

At the time, Celina Tent president Jeff Grieshop said in a press release that the addition would represent the biggest expansion in production space since the company completed a 100,000 square foot distribution center. in its main assembly plant in 2017.

The LLC has made million dollar upgrades to St. Marys Square Business Complex LLC, Janice Grieshop said. She attributes the resort’s growth to these improvements, as well as the shift of consumers towards local shopping.

“When we bought it, it was like 60% occupancy. We don’t have it at 93% occupancy,” she said.

St. Marys Mayor Patrick McGowan was enthusiastic about the new economic life underway at the complex. He also noted that members of the city council had decided to install electric car chargers there.

“There are so many of these malls that are abandoned all over the country and these people have come and brought Celina Tent in,” McGowan said. “It was wonderful that they came. We are so happy that they did. The town is 100% behind them and the stores they bring to the town of St. Marys ”

The resort attracts visitors who in turn spend their money on stores there and across town, McGowan said, noting the local multiplier effect.

“There’s a lot of foot traffic going in there. I mean, it’s just packed all the time,” he said of the resort.

McGowan is optimistic about future business growth at St. Marys, but stressed that it requires entrepreneurship and a willingness to risk personal capital.

“I see that there is now an opportunity for people to come in and open small stores like clothing stores, shoe stores,” he said, stressing the attractiveness of the experiences of ‘tangible purchase versus online purchase.


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