Representatives from James City and York County joined more than 100 community members to celebrate the grand opening of the new Big Lots store in York County’s Victory Village shopping center Friday morning.
Although the store held a soft opening two weeks ago, several area residents still made their way to the store bright and early for the opening day festivities, which included a ribbon cutting ceremony and giveaways for the first 50 customers in line.
Regional district manager Eddie Egerton said he was proud to bring the big-box retail chain’s new “store of the future” concept to the area, which places an increased focus on its furniture offerings. At more than 50,000 square feet, the store is substantially larger than other Big Lots stores, he said, and dedicates more than 6,000 square feet to its furniture showroom area.
“We wanted to bring furniture to the focal point, which is where we feel that the growth of our business is, along with the seasonal department, our home section and our pantry in the back of the store,” he said. We’re looking to convert every store in the chain (to this layout) over the next five years.”
Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg was chosen to be the first in the store’s charitable partners program. Through the partnership, the Mooretown Road Big Lots store will donate $5 to the organization for every customer who redeems a $5 credit for every three qualifying purchases through its Big Rewards program until Nov. 17.
“100 percent of the money that’s donating to Habitat stays local, and we only build locally only,” said Janet V. Green, Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg CEO.
York County representatives including Board of Supervisors chair Sheila Nolls and Economic Development Director Jim Noel were at the ceremony. The retail space was previously occupied by Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods before the grocer closed its doors in 2009, according to Noel.
“We’re obviously excited to have this space occupied,” he said. “Big Lots has a business model that’s very insightful with the market today, with the ‘Amazon effect’ going on, big-box retailers have to find a way to keep their market share, and I think that the discount that they get by buying goods overstock, they offer something special in the market.”
Nolls said she was also happy to see the retail chain move into the county.
“It’s always exciting when we get a new business and an established business, because it means that it’s not a fly-by-night and we can count on them being here for a long time, so that’s very important to the economy of York County,” she said. “We don’t always want to have to depend on real estate taxes, it’s nice to get something from the commercial sector as well.”
Store shoppers said they were happy to see Big Lots return to the area after the Big Lots store on Monticello Avenue closed in 2014.
“I missed the one that was over on Monticello, and I come to Big Lots often. I make some of my biggest purchases like picnic tables here, because you’re always going to find a good buy,” said James City County resident Cynthia Dandridge.
The new Big Lots store at 6610 Mooretown Road is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit bit.ly/2RuOoFi or call 757-603-4906.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.