Atwoods Opening in El Dorado - Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on August 21, 2012.
By: Allison Gatlin
Ten years after K-Mart declared bankruptcy
and was forced to permanently shut the doors to its El Dorado facility,
the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce announced on Monday the addition of
an Atwoods to fill the vacant space early next year.
residents Ward and Shelly Rabb have been working closely with the
chamber, Union County Judge Mike Loftin, El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash, El
Dorado Public Works Director Robert Edmonds and El Dorado Economic
Development Board Chairman Robert Reynolds for close to two years to
bring a new business to the 84,000-square-foot facility, which has been
vacant for the past decade.
Ward Rabb, of Rabb Investments,
told the small group outside the former K-Mart on Junction City Road
how excited he is to bring an Atwoods to El Dorado. The store will lease
the space from Rabb Investments and join three others in neighboring
towns of Camden, Magnolia and Crossett not owned by the Rabb family.
worked in towns all over the country, we live in Monticello, originally
from Hampton, so I know El Dorado very well,” he said. "When we
approached the city of El Dorado, Henry (Florsheim), Lori (Coke), the
judge and the mayor, they’ve been outstanding to work with to make this
Beautifying the under-served southeastern
quadrant of El Dorado was on their mind when they looked at the
location, Ward Rabb said.
"I think that this side of town is
going to grow. ... We have another little over 30,000 square feet that
Atwoods is not going to take that we’re talking to some other retailers
about for that space,” he said. "We’re going to go ahead and renovate
the whole building and get some help with the parking lot issues. We’re
hoping to improve the appearance of the area greatly.”
chamber president and chief executive officer, noted that the next-door
area not slated for use by Atwoods would make a perfect grocery store
and encouraged those in attendance to reach out to any contacts they
have in the industry.
The project really helps El Dorado solve two problems, Florsheim said.
of them we know about is lack of retail — availability, diversity in
retail. So having Atwoods here will help us solve that problem,” he
said. "And second is redevelopment of buildings that are vacant,
especially in a part of town like this that is a little under-served.”
Florsheim said he is unsure following the announcement how many new jobs the business will create.
K-Mart, the building has been vacant since 2002 when the company closed
its doors in light of national bankruptcy and resulting company
shifting, according to News-Times archives.
Since then, the
facility has changed hands several times with different aims including a
much-publicized call center that didn’t pan out after the El Dorado
City Council opted to purchase the building in 2009 for $5.3 million.
the announcement, Shelly Rabb said El Dorado’s demographics fit in
perfectly with the target for Atwoods, a ranch store whose website touts
its clothing, tools and hardware, lawn and garden, sporting goods, pet supplies and seasonal merchandise.
consumer base fits in Atwoods’ demographics,” she said. "Atwoods has
something for everybody. I don’t think that there’s a demographic that
they don’t serve.”