Badcock Furniture moving into old Goody’s store at mall
SALISBURY — The beleaguered Salisbury Mall is showing signs of life, with Badcock Furniture planning to fill the long-vacant Goody’s location by this summer.
A martial arts studio, snack shop and cell phone accessories kiosk recently opened inside the mall, and two tenants plan to expand with a women’s clothing store and arcade, said Evan Rafinia, leasing director for Namdar Realty Group, the New York real estate company that bought the mall last year after it went into foreclosure.
The mall is negotiating with the Salisbury Rowan Farmers Market, which is interested in using the mall parking lot for the coming year, Rafinia said.
However, anchor tenant Big Lots will pull out of the mall and move in with Office Depot on East Innes Street, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. Belk announced plans last year to leave the mall and relocate to Interstate 85.
Big Lots’ departure doesn’t change anything for Badcock, a company spokesman said.
“We think the mall is still viable,” said Bill Pou, Badcock’s executive vice president of retail operations.
Badcock, a Mulberry, Fla.-based company with about 40 stores in North Carolina including locations in Mocksville and Concord, will open 12 new stores throughout the Southeast by July 1, Pou said.
“We’ve always wanted to go to Salisbury,” he said. “It’s a nice town and a town that we feel is very close to the demographic for our customers.”
Work has begun to prepare the 25,000-square-foot former Goody’s space for the furniture retailer, and Pou said he expects the store to open before June.
With a distribution center in Mebane, the 109-year-old company continued to open new locations throughout the recession, but at a much slower pace, Pou said.
This year’s 12 grand openings marks a sharp uptick from one or two a year.
“We just think now is the time,” Pou said. “There are good values on real estate.”
The new store will create between six and eight jobs, he said.
Tola Rose last month moved his martial arts studio, Iron Dragon Tae Kwan Do, from downtown to the mall, where he said he signed up four new students within two days.
Rose said he plans to reopen the arcade next door to the studio, which is located across from Radio Shack, so his students can come early or stay after class and enjoy playing games.
During the one-hour classes, parents and grandparents of students shop at the mall, Rose said.
“It was a good decision,” he said. “It’s been good for me, and it helps the other businesses in the mall.”
The owner of GQ Men’s Wear plans to open a similar store for women, Rafinia said.
Traffic at the mall has picked up, he said, and finding new tenants has become easier.
“At first it was difficult, but now we are getting a lot more interest,” Rafinia said. “It’s the improving economy and the improvements to our mall that are attracting more people.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.