Friday, April 4, 2003

New store will open

Old Service Merchandise store to house new merchants

By Gina Holt
Enquirer contributor

FLORENCE - After sitting vacant for eight months, the former home of Service Merchandise on Mall Road will reopen with new merchants.

The 30,000-square-foot area has been subdivided to house two tenants.

"We have David's Bridal scheduled to open on April 14," said Greg Browne, director of asset management for North American Properties, the group that owns the property.

There are David's Bridal locations in Cincinnati and Louisville, but the company did not have a location in Northern Kentucky.

The second tenant has not been chosen. "We have two large national retailers that we are presently in negotiations with," said Browne. "We will choose one to fill the balance of the Service Merchandise space."

Rick Lunnemann, community development director of Florence, said he's heard rumors that Old Navy is coming to Florence, but not necessarily to that location.

"I can neither confirm or deny the Old Navy rumor," Browne said

Browne expects to announce the tenant within 60 days. He would not say what type of retailers he was negotiating with because doing so "would give it away."

He said he was not sure if either retailer was located in Northern Kentucky but knew that neither exists in the Boone County area.

Service Merchandise closed about eight months ago.

"They were one of the original tenants in that strip," said Browne adding that the retailer was there more than 10 years. "They had filed bankruptcy and ceased to operate at this location.

"We had to search for the tenants, but we recognized the type of tenant that would be best for the community and went after those tenants," he said, adding they based their decision on customers' input.

He said he also looked at what the rest of Northern Kentucky, specifically Newport on the Levee, has to offer so not to repeat what is already available.

"We looked at what would be a good draw for the Northern Kentucky area," he said. "We were excited about David's Bridal and the possible other tenant that would draw consumers from all over Northern Kentucky."

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