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BizBeat: Mall makes way for books, sporting goods and cookies

BizBeat: Mall makes way for books, sporting goods and cookies

September 24th, 2017 by Philip Joens in Business

The new store front for Book World is seen in Capital Mall in Jefferson City. It plans to open Oct. 3, 2017 in the mall's C Wing, near the Dunham's Sports store still under construction.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

Less than a year after Barnes & Noble closed its doors, Jefferson City will get another book store when Book World opens at Capital Mall.

Jefferson City will be the independent bookseller's 47th store and the first in Missouri. The company focuses on small or touristy Midwestern markets, many left behind by large book companies that close their doors.

Gregg Belonger, Book World director of store operations, said Book World plans to open its Jefferson City store Oct. 3. The company hired a bookseller from its Burlington, Iowa, store to be the store's manager. About four to six part-time booksellers will also be employed by the store, depending on foot traffic and sales.

"We expect it to do very well," Belonger said.

Book World sells a large selection of books and magazines. The company also sells toys, games, puzzles, plush items, calendars, bookmarks and snacks. The store held a hiring fair Sept. 13 that didn't go as well as planned, Belonger said, but it gave the company enough candidates to fill all positions.

Work on the store's interior will continue this week as the store prepares to open.

"We should have it 99 percent ready by the end of the day Thursday," Belonger said.

Based in Appleton, Wisconsin, family-owned Book World operates stores in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. The company's portfolio includes stores in small cities like Jefferson City, as well as touristy, resort and college towns like Baxter, Minnesota, and Marquette, Michigan.

Belonger said the small company probably won't stray much farther from its Wisconsin roots in the future.

"It's getting to be a stretch," Belonger said. "I don't know that we could go much further away from our home office. But from the looks of it, it's certainly worth giving it a chance."

Book World will be located at the center of the mall in the heart of the Capital Mall's C Wing. Belonger said Book World initially expressed caution when visiting the mall because of the closed Sears store in the A Wing.

After the company found a location near the Dunham's Sports store that's under construction, though, it was sold on Jefferson City, he said.

"We probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere else if we hadn't gotten that location," Belonger said.

Barnes & Noble closed at the end of 2016 after 13-year run when its lease at the Wildwood Crossings shopping center at 3535 Missouri Blvd expired.

Dunham's Sports now hiring

Dunham's Sports announced Thursday it has begun hiring employees for its new store at Capital Mall, set to open later this fall.

The company said in a news release positions available are "team members/cashiers and key team leaders." Interested applicants can apply at qhire.net/Dunhams.

Ron Summers, general manger of Dunham's Sports' Jefferson City store, said it will open in the beginning of November.

In addition to the team member roles, some supervisor roles also remain open, he said.

Troy, Michigan-based Dunham's Sports has 230 stores in 22 Midwestern and Southern states. Founded in 1937, the chain offers traditional sporting goods and athletic equipment as well as sports apparel and footwear.

The Jefferson City store will offer a full line of traditional athletic equipment and a variety of active and casual sports apparel and footwear from brands like Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Puma and more, according to a news release. The store will also include a fitness section and a hunting department with brands like Remington, Rocky and Bushnell.

A golf department will include items from brands like Taylormade, Titleist and Callaway.

The store is being built into a 48,000-square-foot space it Capital Mall's B Wing, tucked between Fuji Japanese Steak House and Dillard's and across from Hibbett Sports. The company is spending at least $300,000 renovating the space.

Summers said construction is progressing, but work remains before the store's opening.

Cookie company re-opens

The Great American Cookie Company's Capital Mall location has re-opened in a new location.

The restaurant moved from a location behind Fuji Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in the mall's south wing to a location near H&R Block in the mall's east wing to make room for the new Dunham's Sports store.

Great American Cookie Company temporarily closed in late June to make the move.