published Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Burkes Outlet, Gander Mountain bolster Hixson shopping center

A Burkes Outlet store is scheduled to open soon in Hixson at Oak Park Town Center. "It's an 18,000 square-foot sales area," general contractor superintendent James Brown, of First Choice Industries said.
A Burkes Outlet store is scheduled to open soon in Hixson at Oak Park Town Center. "It's an 18,000 square-foot sales area," general contractor superintendent James Brown, of First Choice Industries said.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BURKES OUTLET

• Parent company: Beall's Inc. of Bradenton, Fla.

• Merchandise: Apparel and accessories for the family at up to 70 percent off department store prices

• Locations: Stores are in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

• Area stores: Bradley Commons Shopping Center in Cleveland, Tenn.; Rhea Town Place, Dayton, Tenn.; Athens, Tenn.; Scottsboro Marketplace, Scottsboro, Ala.; Glenn Crossing, Fort Payne, Ala.

Source: Burkes Outlet

A Hixson shopping center hit by the Great Recession and store shifts has regained its footing with new additions, including a first-in-the-market Burkes Outlet.

Oak Park Town Center on Highway 153 is 97 percent leased with the Burkes Outlet, slated to open in October, and a Gander Mountain store, set to debut next week, said Clint Wolford, vice president of Wolford Development.

"It has turned the corner," Wolford said about the center that also holds Walmart, Marshalls and Shoe Carnival.

He said Burkes features family apparel and accessories similar to a Beall's, the Florida-based chain which is its parent company.

"It's a junior department store," Wolford said. "It fills a void when we lost Goody's."

Work is underway to house the Burkes Outlet in 20,000 square feet of space, said Wolford. He said it will have a soft opening on Oct. 10 with a grand opening set for Oct. 16.

Beall's has a store in Fort Oglethorpe.

Meanwhile, Gander Mountain has scheduled a soft opening next Tuesday, said store manager Travis McMasters. He said the outdoors store will hold a grand opening on the following weekend, Sept. 12-14.

McMasters said Gander Mountain, which will be 50,000 square feet in size, will employ about 75 to 100 workers.

"That's a great addition," Wolford said. "We're really excited about those guys."

Gander Mountain, one of the largest retailers of hunting, fishing, camping and marine supplies, is the first of three new outdoors stores coming to the Chattanooga market. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops both have stores planned.

But, Wolford said, Gander Mountain is the only one of the new units located on the Hixson side of the Tennessee River. He expects Gander Mountain to pull from the other side of the river as well.

Oak Park was built in 2001, but the last recession hurt the shopping center. In 2009, Goody's department store closed and other small retail shops shut down or relocated. By 2011, the center was 69 percent occupied and the the project financiers, Oak Park Partners of Rome, Ga., foreclosed on the property and later bought it for $9 million.

The center also has seen some stores shift locations. For example, Old Navy and Hibbert Sporting Goods moved to Northgate Mall.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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