ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) — Empty storefronts can be difficult on a city and discouraging for residents and other business owners. But on Wednesday, people in St. Albans celebrated improvements to one existing business and the fact that two new businesses will open soon.
St. Alban’s leaders named April 14 “Kroger Day” in the city to recognize the grocery store for making a multi-million dollar investment in improvements.
“It seems roomier and it is brighter, the paint is brighter and the aisles are wider and I do like it,” said Kroger customer Sharon Dollison.
The day also brought news that two new stores are moving into spaces in the St. Albans Mall that have been vacant.
According to St. Albans Vice Mayor Walter Hall, Goodwill Industries will move into the former CVS space and an Ashley HomeStore Outlet is going into the old Goody’s.
“We’ve already hired quite a few people in here,” said Ashley HomeStore Store Manager Ed Sharps.
Fifty or so people are scrambling to get the furniture set up before a planned soft opening Friday. Hall said the new businesses will help improve the city and provide jobs.
“We’ve been appreciative of the CARES Act funding and to help us do some infrastructure projects, but when you hire employees we spend our money here locally the city reaps those benefits,” Hall said. “There is a lot of traffic that passes by this area and when you see businesses opening doors it is a mentality that we all need in this world today to be quite honest.”
It is a step toward revitalizing a shopping area and building enthusiasm among businesses and the people who shop there.
“That creates a destination again and hopefully in the coming months and years this will be a thriving area as well again,” said Joel Weese with Kroger.