Jensen's Home Furnishings is moving to the Nugget Mall from the Mendenhall Mall.
Part-owner and president of the furniture store, Scott Jensen, said the company's decision to move is due in large part to the bigger space and cheaper rent that Nugget offered.
With double the space of the old store, the company will be able to consolidate, run more efficiently and offer customers lower prices, Jensen said. He also said the slowing traffic at the Mendenhall Mall factored into the company's decision to move.
Jensen's plans to open its doors at the Nugget Mall on Aug. 16.
"There's no doubt Nugget Mall has more traffic," Jensen said. "And it did play into our moving. It makes it more difficult when traffic is slower. But we enjoyed working with the folks at Mendenhall, we have friends there and we are excited to be going to the Nugget Mall."
Bud Jager, manager and leasing agent for the Nugget Mall, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Jensen's will fill more than 22,000 square feet at the Nugget Mall, compared to the 11,000 square feet it occupied at the Mendenhall Center. Jensen said the company plans to consolidate its stores and its warehouses in the Nugget location. This will translate to a 10 percent savings to customers, he said.
With Lyle's Home Furnishings, which Jensen's owns, located nearby, his staff will be able to refer customers to Lyle's if they don't find what they want at Jensen's, he said.
"It always helps to have easy access to both stores," Jensen said. "Our whole goal is to offer better service with lower prices to the community."
Mendenhall Mall owner Rein Fluk said although it looks like stores are leaving the mall in quick succession, occupancy actually is up 12 percent from last year.
In the past two years the Mendenhall Center, which includes the mall and businesses across Mendenhall Mall Road, lost over a dozen businesses. Fluk said he managed to fill all but three of those vacancies.
He said if it were not for the long-term lease that J.C. Penney still has on its former space in the mall, he would have the mall at capacity. He said merchants have been interested in the vacancies, he said, but end up not taking them because the spaces are too small. But if he were free to use the former Penney space, he could divide it to fit more stores or use it for one large store.
Fluk said he has at least three prospects for filling Jensen's space, but wouldn't identify them. But he said he plans to divide the store in half in order to fit two prospective businesses.
Fluk said, after Jensen's leaves, he is going to take the mall in a different direction in the types of businesses he brings into it. Sears is slated to open by mid-August, and Fluk said this is indicative of the types of business he wants.
"We are restructuring the whole mall," he said. " We want to bring in younger people. We want a different kind of retail. I think I want something more stable. We've had too many come and go, but that's the trend with malls. People want more day-care centers in their mall and computer outlets. The clothing stores are very hard to support, and people buy their clothes on the Internet."
Fluk said he doesn't expect to see any movement into Jensen's old space before Christmas.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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