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October openings set for Belk, other new stores

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s largest retail development in years will open next month, beginning with Michaels Crafts on Oct. 6 and followed by the grand opening of Belk on Oct. 16.
Shoe Carnival is scheduled to open quietly on Oct. 21 with a grand opening celebration planned for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Ulta Beauty has yet to announce its opening date.
Signs went up recently for the four newest stores in Wallace Commons, a shopping center just off Interstate 85 at Julian and Klumac roads. Anchored by Kohl’s in 2008, the center struggled during the recession but has taken off in the past year.
Across the parking lot, next to Long Horn Steakhouse, construction crews are putting up a building that will house a Sleepy’s mattress store and FastMed Urgent Care, scheduled to open in December.
Belk is pulling out of the troubled Salisbury Mall, where the department store was an original tenant in 1986. Manager Lynda Lefler said she’s taking her entire staff with her to Wallace Commons and will add a significant number of new employees.
Belk is investing $7 million in the new 74,000-square-foot store. The footprint is roughly the same size as its current space in the mall, but the new Belk will offer a wider selection of fashion merchandise with more brands and styles, Lefler said.
Belk has partnered with Rowan County United Way to offer a sneak peek to hundreds of shoppers.
United Way member agencies are selling 500 tickets to a private, pre-opening event from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13. Tickets are $5 each, with all proceeds going to the United Way campaign.
The ticket also serves as a 20-percent-off coupon for most items in the store, good during the event only. Live entertainment, prizes and refreshments will turn the sneak peek into a party.
“We are very excited to be the charity of choice for Belk,” United Way marketing director Jackie Harris said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and tickets are going like hotcakes.”
Three days after the private event, Belk will welcome the public starting at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 16. The first several hundred shoppers will receive a gift card.
No merchandise from the mall is moving to the new Belk, Lefler said.
“Everything we will have in the store will be brand new,” she said.
Lefler said she and her staff have mixed emotions about leaving the mall.
“This has been such a great store, and there is a lot of sentiment here,” she said. “… There are a lot of great memories in this location, but we are looking forward to making new memories in the new store.”
Belk opened in Salisbury in 1902.
Tennessee-based developer Hutton Co. built the Wallace Commons expansion and will lease space to Belk, Ulta, Shoe Carnival and Michaels.
Hutton also has an option on 54 acres of vacant land owned by Rowan County in the Summit Corporate Center, across Julian Road from Wallace Commons. But the developer has remained mum on the potential for yet another retail shopping hub at the interchange.
Hutton bought the land for the Wallace Commons expansion from Home Depot, which purchased the parcel just before the recession and never developed it.
Home Depot paid $3.5 million for about 14 acres next to Kohl’s in 2008, and Hutton paid Home Depot $3.9 million for the land four years later.
The 113,000-square-foot expansion at Wallace Commons includes the space for Belk, 17,500 square feet for Michaels and about 10,000 square feet each for Ulta and Shoe Carnival.
By comparison, Kohl’s measures about 68,000 square feet.
Salisbury’s Belk will be the first store in the Southeast to display the company’s sleek new exterior.
Klumac Partners, a company founded by the Wallace family of Salisbury, co-owns the original Wallace Commons with Collett and Associates of Charlotte. Collett oversees leasing at their portion of the development.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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