2 new retail stores expected near Big 0

By Tim Howsare

June 11, 2012 - 3:45 pm
Construction of an Aaron's store in Maricopa could begin in September if the developer's site plan is approved June 19 by the city council. Photo submitted by Aaron's.

A developer with plans to build two retail stores and put in sidewalk improvements near Big O Tires said construction of the first one, Aaron’s, a lease-to-own store, should begin in the fall.

Todd Sergi, a partner with Single Tenant Retail LLC, said groundbreaking for the second store, 99¢ Only, would trail behind the Aaron’s groundbreaking after some site work is done to the property on the southeast corner of North John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road.

Aaron’s is scheduled to open by the end of the year, and the 99¢ Only store in 2013, he said.

The 15,000-square-foot 99¢ Only store and the 7,000-square-foot Aaron’s are part of the second phase of a development plan called Edison Place. Phase II also will include sidewalk improvements at the southeast corner of the intersection.

Big O Tires, which opened in October 2009, was the first phase of the project. The third phase could include restaurants, Sergi said.

The developer’s site plan received unanimous approval by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission at its May 29 meeting. The Maricopa City Council will now decide whether to accept the commission’s recommendation at its next regular meeting.

“We go to the city council on June 19 and are optimistic we can start construction around September,” Sergi said.

Sergi said both retailers will benefit from the great visibility along the parkway. Traffic, for now, will enter and exit the businesses from Edison Road.

Aaron’s product line includes home and office furniture, kitchen appliances, televisions, stereos and computers. There are nearly 2,000 Aaron’s stores in the United States and Canada, and the store is becoming increasing popular with people who want to rent furnishings short term, said Garet Hayes, senior vice president of Hope-Beckham Inc., Aaron’s public relations firm.

“Aaron’s is very popular with people with different types of careers,” she said. “We have contract nurses, military personnel and law students.”

Suzie Rotter, a broker with Clear Skies Realty, said she equates furniture rental with temporary housing and there is not much renting in Maricopa for less than a year.

However, Rotter said she can see Aaron’s as an option for new homeowners.

“We do see a need for people who bought a second home and they are always asking, ‘Where can I buy furniture?’” she said.

99¢ Only is a deep-discount retailer mostly in California and the Southwest of primarily name-brand general merchandise such as health and beauty aids, clothing accessories, school supplies and packaged foods.

While Maricopa had a dollar store in Cobblestone Fiesta that closed, City Planner Rudy Lopez said it was not part of a big chain like 99¢ Only, which he expects will get more business.

InMaricopa Facebook readers commenting on the two stores Monday overwhelmingly favored the arrival of a 99¢ Only store. However, one respondent worried such a low-cost store would attract more stores of the same, which could reflect badly on the community.

Responses were more mixed for Aaron’s.

One respondent said with the housing market growing again Aaron’s would do well, while another she was not interested in “rent-to-own.”

Jim McMichael, president and CEO of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce, said it is a premature conclusion to think that one lease-to-own store and one dollar store would draw more of the same, because the local market isn’t big enough.

“If the city grows then we would be more likely to see more of those stores, but they would be spread out,” he said.

Sergi called Maricopa a “submarket,” meaning that although Maricopa is part of the Phoenix metro area, it stands on its own as a market separate from Phoenix.

“With the addition of the new hospital (Banner Health Care), there are a lot of good things happening,” he said. “Both of the tenants want to be in Maricopa.”
 

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