There was no official count of the number of people lined up to be among the first members of the public to see the inside, but employees of the spanking new Gordmans seemed to quickly run out of the tote bags promised to the first hundred visitors to the discount retailer which opened its doors in New Boston with a ribbon-cutting early Thursday morning.
Jennifer Connelly of Wheelersburg was one of those toward the front of the line.
“This kind of thing doesn’t happen around here very often, so I just wanted to be here to see what they have,” Conway said, explaining why she got up early on a Thursday morning to visit New Boston.
“It’s just kind of exciting,” said Portsmouth’s Marie Major, who attended the grand opening accompanied by husband Dale. “Hopefully, we’ll see more of this kind of thing.”
The couple both expressed surprise and pleasure with what they described as the wide range of goods available inside the new store.
The retailer describes itself as a purveyor primarily of apparel and home decor. Clothing, kitchen items, knickknacks and various pet supplies all readily were available during a quick tour of the store Thursday morning.
Gordmans store manager Lisa Cowan also was the manager of the former Goody’s location, which sat in the same spot in the New Boston Shopping Plaza on Rhodes Avenue.
Cowan said the new store, which she compared to a T. J. Max or Marshall’s store, employs some 28 people, nine of whom are former Goody’s employees. They spent about two weeks transforming Goody’s into Gordmans. Cowan said Gordmans has been around for approximately 100 years, operating primarily in the Midwest. Including 36 new Ohio stores, parent company Stage Stores, Inc., brags there will be over 150 Gordmans nationwide by the end of the year.
At the grand opening for each of its new Ohio stores, Gordmans corporate offices said they will donate $1,000 to a local school. In New Boston, the chosen school was Glenwood High School. School principal Donald Stapleton and New Boston Local Schools Superintendent Melinda Burnside were on hand Thursday to accept a ceremonial check.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting in front of the new store, New Boston Mayor Junior Williams read a proclamation passed by New Boston Village Council proclaiming Thursday Gordmans Day in the village.
The proclamation urged “all citizens and residents to shop locally to inspire growth and progress in the development of our entire business community.”
“It’s another place for us all to shop,” said Lisa Carver, director of the Portsmouth area Chamber of Commerce. She described the location as an important one for the area and praised Gordmans for quickly filling what would otherwise was destined to become an empty storefront.
The New Boston Goody’s store held a going out of business sale earlier this month. However, Gordmans parent company also operates all Goody’s stores.
In comments to the Daily Times, Williams readily admitted the New Boston Shopping Plaza has its share of vacant storefronts. But he also quickly added the village is working closely with plaza owners to fill in the empty spaces. Williams further noted village council created a village wide community reinvestment area designed to promote new or expanded commercial development using incentives such as tax breaks.
As has been well publicized, Pat Catan’s craft stores, including the New Boston location which sits near the newly minted Gordmans, all are going out of business. Some will be re-branded as Marc’s craft stores, but not the New Boston outlet.
“We have some people interested in Pat Catan’s and we are working on that,” Williams said.
Williams also praised the arrival of the new Veterans Administration building in the Rhodes Avenue shopping plaza. He said the VA expanded an existing 5,000 square-foot building by a multiple of three. Officials expect the new VA facility to open towards the end of September.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.