Bealls Outlet, Big Lots, and Harbor Freight Brought by Collective Efforts and Competitive Tax Incentive

River South Commons Shopping Center has experienced a $4,000,000 redevelopment of approximately 73,000 square feet of lease space with the announcement of three new national tenants. As previously announced, Big Lots will occupy slightly under 36,000 square feet of the space that was previously occupied by Steele’s and Hair Beauty and More. Bealls Outlet will occupy 21,000 square feet of the former Stage space. Harbor Freight Tools is the newly announced third new business to join the shopping center, and will occupy the remaining 16,000 square feet of the former Stage space. With the arrival of the three new national tenants, the 140,000 square feet of rental space in the shopping center will be 100% occupied.

It is anticipated that the three new national tenants will collectively hire 65 – 85 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. It is projected that Big Lots will hire 25 – 35 employees, Beall’s Outlet will hire 15 – 20 employees, and Harbor Freight will hire 25 – 30 employees.

The Bealls Outlet is the first store in the State of Louisiana and will celebrate its grand opening on October 20 at the River South Commons Shopping Center at 305 South Drive. Founded in 1915, Bealls is a legendary retail brand that has grown from its Florida roots to become a leader in the off-price space with more than 550 outlet stores in 23 states operating as Burkes Outlet and Bealls Outlet. The company’s portfolio of brands also includes Bealls stores, Home Centric and Rugged Earth Outfitters. Burkes Outlet gift cards, credit cards and rewards points will be honored at the Bealls Outlet. The new store will feature great brands and styles at affordable prices for women, men, kids, featuring shoes, home, kitchen, and pets. Grand opening festivities will include raffles and giveaways throughout the weekends of October 21st and 28th.

“Our team is excited to bring the Bealls name to Louisiana and provide this community with the great products, service, and value that they deserve,” said Katina Fontenot, Bealls Inc. District Manager. She added, “Bealls continues to grow in popularity, and we’re excited to have all of our Outlet stores join together under one name.”

Harbor Freight Tools has been America’s go-to source for affordable tools since its start in 1977 as a Southern California based mail-order company. Harbor Freight is still owned and led by founder Eric Smidt, who learned long ago that by working directly with factories he could pass the savings on to the customer without compromising on quality. The company opened its first store in 1980. Today, Harbor Freight Tools has over 1,300 stores across the country, 25,000 associates and more than 40 million customers who depend on Harbor Freight’s quality and value to earn a living, repair their homes and cars and pursue their hobbies. With core values of excellence and continuous improvement, Harbor Freight Tools works to constantly improve the quality of its products and this year will introduce more than 800 new tools and accessories. Harbor Freight Tools is one of the nation’s fastest growing retailers, opening two new stores every week.

“We’re excited to open our new Harbor Freight Tools store in Natchitoches early next year. This is our first location in the Parish and will make it much more convenient for our customers to find the quality tools and products they need at great value. In addition, we’re looking forward to being an active member of this great community and to contributing to it economically.  We hire locally, so in addition to the workers who will be getting the store ready for opening, we will also be bringing 25-30 new jobs to the economy, and will generate ongoing tax revenue for it as well,” said Trey Feiler, Senior Vice President, Real Estate and Construction

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots, Inc. is a leading home discount retailer and a Fortune 500 company, operating 1,432 stores in 47 states, as well as a best-in class eCommerce platform with expanded capabilities via BOPIS, curbside pickup, Instacart and same day delivery across thousands of items. The company’s product assortment is focused on home essentials: Furniture, Seasonal, Soft Home, Food, Consumables and Hard Home. Ranked one of the fastest-growing eCommerce businesses by Digital Commerce 360 and the recipient of Home Textiles Today’s 2021 Retail Titan Award, Big Lots’ mission is to help people Live BIG and Save Lots. The company strives to be the BIG difference for a better life by delivering exceptional value to customers through the ultimate treasure hunt shopping experience, building a “best places to grow” culture, rewarding shareholders with consistent growth and top-tier returns and doing good in local communities.

“Revitalization doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a team, time, and determination. A year-and-a-half of collaboration has yielded three fantastic new stores breathing new life into the River South Commons Shopping Center. This is a direct result of the cooperative efforts of our local government offices, our community leaders, and our business owners,” said Natchitoches Economic Development Alliance Executive Director and Chamber President Laura Lyles.

In addition to the new national tenants and the other long-term tenants currently occupying the shopping center, the courtyard area of the Center consisting of 20,000 square feet recently filled three vacancies with three new local start-up businesses—a personal training studio, a men’s barber shop and a photography studio. The courtyard has functioned as a hub for local small businesses, studios and offices.

“Natchitoches is growing—new and existing businesses are both investing in our spectacular city. My administration has put an emphasis on championing projects like this to enrich our local economy. We are aggressively pursuing avenues for growth that will support development and redevelopment by growing our tax base,” stated Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams. “We are pleased to welcome these new businesses to the Natchitoches community, and proud of the partnerships that have enabled this redevelopment.”

The ability to structure this redevelopment project was enabled by a new Economic Development District created by the City of Natchitoches around the perimeter boundary of the Center. The owners/developer of the River South Commons Shopping Center estimate that these three new national tenants will collectively generate $750,000 in new sales tax revenue for the City of Natchitoches’ general fund. In addition, it is anticipated that the City of Natchitoches utility department will experience significant revenue from the sale of utility services provided to the new tenants.

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