Friday, August 29th, 2014
By Doug Drexler
Marshalls store coming to Celina
  CELINA - Marshalls, which offers name-brand items at discount prices, plans to open a new store in the city next spring.
The long-rumored move was officially made public Thursday when developer RG Properties applied for a zoning permit to build the 21,000-square-foot store in Harbor Square near the Bob Evans restaurant.
RG Properties President Bo Gunlock said his company plans to break ground on the $2.1 million venture when all the permits are completed and contractors are chosen. Local contractors have been invited to bid on the project, he said.
Marshalls wants the building completed by Feb. 1 to allow for an April 1 opening, Gunlock said.
Marshalls has more than 900 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. The closest shops to the local area are in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Huber Heights. The company sells fashion clothing, footwear, accessories and home decor at discounts up to 60 percent, according to its website.
"We're very pleased Marshalls will be coming. We think it will be a great addition," Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said. "It's a great addition to the Celina area and greatly enhances the Havemann Road area."
The store will turn the Mercer-Auglaize county area into more of a destination for shopping and tourism, the mayor said.
"Anything that happens in Celina, it's a ripple effect," he said.
People who shop at Marshalls may also stop to dine or spend a night in the area, Hazel said. They also may spend time checking out other local shops and retailers, he added.
"It's another reason to let people know Celina is a destination in and of itself," he said.
City officials have been working for two years to bring the project to fruition, he explained.
"These certainly do not happen overnight," Hazel said. "It takes awhile to go through."
Marshalls looked extensively at local demographics and economic vitality in the area before committing to Celina, he said.
"Commercial and retail development are finding us because there's a strong economic development core here," Mercer County Community Development Director Jared Ebbing said. "They want to find regions like here because we've got good things going on here. Kudos to the city of Celina and what they've done.
"What's good for us is good for the neighboring communities," he added.
Ebbing said he hopes Marshalls, along with Kroger, Kohl's and Menards, will turn the area into a regional draw and convince people to stay and shop in the Celina-St. Marys area rather than traveling to Lima or Muncie, Ind.
"It can be a destination," he said. "If people drive here and stay here, that's good for the region."
He agreed that bigger stores such as Marshalls and Kohl's help draw customers to smaller, local shops and businesses.
He doesn't think the bigger stores will harm the existing ones in the area. People may first check out Marshalls and then visit other stores if they don't find exactly what they want, Ebbing said.
"The more that's here will help our smaller stores," he added.   
To help lure the store to the area, Celina City Schools Board of Education members in March approved a 12-year, 100 percent tax abatement for the proposed $2.1 million project. RG Properties must continue to pay taxes on the land, per the agreement.
Marshalls is expected to create the equivalent of 40 full-time jobs.
The new store will be comparable in size to others the company operates, officials said. It will be substantially larger than the 17,440 square feet of retail space occupied by the seven shops bordering the Walmart Supercenter.
A proposed second store adjacent to Marshalls was dropped from initial plans but may be added later, Gunlock said. Negotiations with a tenant for the planned 5,500-square-foot building were moving slowly and Marshalls was anxious to move in, he said.
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