Address: Gainesville Towne Center Suite 102, 1500 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
Big Lots on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville re-opened its doors to much excitement Friday morning.
A line of about 30 people stretched down the sidewalk at about 8:50 a.m., 10 minutes before the re-opening celebration began. The North Hall marching band played in the parking lot before a ribbon cutting ceremony. They then marched into the store leading the first shoppers.
Christine Martin and Ruthie Watson, both of Talmo, were first and second in line. They both were curious to see what the new store had to offer.
“I used to shop here all time,” Watson said. “I’ve been missing this store since it closed down.”
They had been waiting outside the store since about 8:30 a.m.
Angie Warren, who also came with them, said she’s also been missing the store.
“I’m not looking for anything particular, just some good deals,” she said.
The store, located in Suite 102 of Gainesville Towne Center at 1500 Browns Bridge Road, closed four months ago in order to expand, said store manager Chris Turzo. It had a soft re-opening on Sept. 29 before the grand re-opening Friday.
The nationwide retailer offers a variety of merchandise, including packaged food and beverages, toys, furniture, clothing, housewares and small electronics.
The 12,000-square-foot expansion means the Gainesville store will now offer more products. It also means the store’s layout has changed. Seasonal items, such as holiday decorations, are now in the front of the store on the south side, while furniture is in the front of the store on the west side of the business.
A new ceiling, new flooring, lighting and five-foot-wide aisles throughout the store make it easier to display merchandise. Big Lots took over part of the old Office Depot building during the expansion.
“We expanded our furniture selection. We now have an extra large furniture department,” Turzo said.
Betty Beck was shopping that expanded selection Friday looking for a mattress.
“I’ve always shopped here whenever they were open, and I was very discouraged when they closed down,” she said. “I just like Big Lots. If I can’t find what I need here, I’ll go down to Buford.” She added that may not be necessary anymore.
Demita Mintz of Gainesville said she’s been a faithful Big Lots shopper for years and shopped in the renovated store prior to Friday’s grand re-opening date.
“When they closed I was like, ‘what’s going on?’” she said. She waited outside about 20 minutes prior to the store’s re-opening to purchase household goods.
“I’m looking for more household stuff,” she said. “Rugs — and I want to change out my bathroom. It’s dull, and I don’t like dull.”
During the ribbon cutting ceremony Big Lots presented a $2,000 check to White Sulphur Elementary.
“A part of our Big Lots Foundation it to get more involved in the communities we do business,” Big Lots District Team Leader Ray Bhawani said. “As a business you can’t always take, you have to give back.”
Earlier this year Big Lots and the Big Lots Foundation announced a $50 million gift to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where Big Lots is headquartered. The pledge is to support Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health expansion.
“That started the campaign for us,” Bhawani said of the local Big Lots dedication to the community. “As we continue to go forward into (2017, our goal) is to continue to be more involved in the neighborhoods we do business with.”