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Staff photo by Dave Flessner / A Spirit Halloween store is to open in about half of the lower floor of the former Sears at Northgate Mall.

A pop-up Halloween superstore and a trendy soaps and skin-care business are new additions to the retail lineup at Northgate Mall and an adjacent center under construction in Hixson.

A Spirit Halloween store is to open within a couple of weeks in the mall's former Sears, said Bassam Issa, an owner of the space.

Also, Issa said that Buff City Soap will open a store next to new Panera and Buddy's bar-b-q restaurants which are going up on the ring road around the mall near Outback Steakhouse.

The Spirit Halloween store will take up about half of the first floor of the former Sears with plans to stay open through Nov. 15, he said.

The seasonal retailer supplies Halloween decorations, costumes, props and accessories. It opens over 1,300 store locations in North America in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Most of its shops are set up in vacant storefronts.

"It has a ton more than any other retailer," Issa said.

Spirit Halloween was founded in 1983 and is based in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Since it was acquired by Spencer Gifts LLC in 1999, Spirit Halloween has grown from 63 locations to more than 1,300 stores.

Meanwhile, Issa said Buff City Soap will take up about 2,000 square feet in the new multimillion-dollar center he's building near the mall.

The company was started by Brad Kellum about six years ago, according to its website. But now the business has more than 20 units in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.

Buff City Soap offers soaps, bath bombs, scrubs and other bath and body products, and the website says that each of its locations makes every product sold right there.

The company said that what's not in its products are artificial detergents, surfactants, dyes, or other "harsh chemicals."

"It's a very fast-growing chain," said Issa.

He said his development on the former Firestone auto repair site just has one 3,000-square-foot space left to lease.

Issa said that all the tenants are slated to be open around Jan. 1.

The nearby 192,500-foot Sears store closed at Northgate Mall in February 2019. Sears was one of the original anchors when the mall when it opened in 1972. Another of the original Northgate anchors, J.C. Penney, closed in 2014 and has also housed temporary stores since then.

Issa, who also co-owns the Penney store with Chattanooga Lookouts partner John Woods, has offered the Sears property to Hamilton County Schools as a replacement for the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts.

The Penney store, meanwhile, could become the future home of a combined Alpine Crest, DuPont and Rivermont elementary school, as recommended in "Phase One" of the school system's facilities plan.

The school board delayed a vote on the potential purchase in June.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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