HomeGoods to expand presence in Trumbull

BUSINESS

JUN 22, 2022

RON SELAK JR.

Reporter

rselak@tribtoday.com

NILES — Discount home fashion and decor retailer HomeGoods is expanding its presence in Trumbull County with a new store adjacent to the Eastwood Mall, part of a flurry of construction and other openings at the retail complex.

Construction already has begun on the 22,112-square-foot HomeGoods store on Mines Road near Levin Furniture and Kohl’s — part of the Howland Commons area of the complex that also includes TJ Maxx, a discount clothing store operated by Massachusetts-based TJX Companies Inc., the same parent company as HomeGoods.

HomeGoods is targeting the summer of 2023 to open.

“Discussions have been taking place for over a year, and actually we have been preparing that land for future development long before that,” said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Company, which owns and operates the Eastwood Mall Complex.

The store is on a 3.5-acre parcel that is large enough to accommodate another store of about the same size.

“If you break that down, HomeGoods is going to occupy a little over 22,000 square feet, but it still has permissible building area of about 24,000 square feet, so we could build another store right next to it,” Bell said.

The next nearest HomeGoods store is in Boardman.

Last year, TJX Companies Inc. opened a multimillion-dollar, 1.2 million-square-foot regional distribution center for the HomeGoods brand in Lordstown. The facility employs about 1,000 people.

Also, construction is expected to begin soon for a new Longhorn Steakhouse on about 1 acre at the corner of state Route 46 and Eastwood Boulevard, the site of the closed IHOP pancake house.

The plan, according to Bell, is to demolish IHOP and for Longhorn Steakhouse to build new and be ready to open in February.

“Additionally, discussions are underway with two other restaurant operators anxious to establish a presence on the Eastwood Mall Complex,” states a news release Tuesday from Cafaro Company.

Other new openings planned include children’s apparel store Carter’s by Thanksgiving at Howland Commons by TJ Maxx; and King Cajun Seafood & Bar near Outback Steakhouse and Steak ‘n Shake. That 9,637-square-foot building previously contained HomeTown Buffett, which abruptly closed about five years ago. The space was renovated fully, including new dining rooms and bar. Dishes inspired by the cuisine of New Orleans and the Low Country will be prominent on the menu.

In July, Venetia Nail Lounge & Spa will open at the Great East Plaza in a 4,000-square-foot space next to Buffalo Wild Wings and shortly after, NrGize Lifestyle Cafe will open in the J.C. Penney concourse of the mall. The 975-square-foot space is a combined coffee and smoothie shop.

Already open is Aimpoint Airsoft, a practice range that uses Airsoft-brand guns that shoot soft pellets at targets, near the Boscov’s department store.

 

Valley grabs local pizza, beer

BOB COUPLAND, Reporter | bcoupland@tribtoday.com

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Jennifer Holliday-Buchanan of Howland, left, gets pizza from Max Murphy and Joshua McBride of Belleria’s Pizza of Cortland on Sunday at the Slice of the Valley at the Eastwood Event Centre in Niles. The event was hosted by the Warren Rotary Club and is its biggest fundraiser. The public sampled pizza from 12 businesses and beer from six others.

NILES — Not only did celebrity judges put their taste buds to work, but also did the public as they sampled a variety of pizzas for Sunday’s annual Slice of the Valley fundraiser hosted by the Warren Rotary Club.

Twelve pizza places provided food and six places provided beer for the three-hour event at the Eastwood Event Centre.

The family event usually draws more than 1,500 people, according to Rotary member Christine Cope. She said this year, approximately 1,600 people attended.

Ken LaPolla of the Warren Rotary said the Slice of the Valley started in 2015 and is the Rotary’s major fundraiser.

He said the Rotary raises an average of $35,000 to $40,000 annually and funds have been given to Animal Welfare League, Warren Family Mission, St. Vincent de Paul and Cadence Care Network.

The event last was held in 2020 just before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Rotary member Rob Berk is able to get celebrity judges, which this year included actor Jerry Mathers of “Leave it to Beaver” and boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, as well as Tribune Chronicle entertainment editor Andy Gray.

“I think the different pizzas and the celebrity judges is why people come to this,” LaPolla said.

In addition to the 13 celebrity judges, the public also could vote for its favorite pizza.

Among the visitors was Stephan Wilder, mayor of North Canton and Rotary district governor, who said he was overwhelmed at the crowd.

“This is a hallmark event for the Warren Rotary Club with an outpouring of support from the community. Not too many Rotaries do events of this magnitude. You can see how much fun everyone is having,” he said.

Rotary member Andy Bednar said volunteers from the Animal Welfare League, Boy Scout Troop 101, Warren Harding Interact Club and other groups help make the event a success.

Max Murphy with Belleria Pizza in Cortland said the public could sample a variety of pizza from white, old fashioned to chicken and greens.

“Pizza is always a popular food. There is so many varieties that there is something everyone will like,” Murphy said.

Jennifer Holliday-Buchanan of Howland said she liked Belleria’s Old World Pizza.

“I have always liked pizza and the different toppings,” she said.

Katie DeToro of Pizza Joe’s in Girard said the gyro and veggie pizzas are well liked.

“We always try out new pizzas with the public with this year Nashville Hot. This event gives us the opportunity to let the public try the different pizzas. While many like the pepperoni pizza, they also get to try the gyro pizza,” DeToro said.

Joanie Ianazone of Ianazone’s Pizza in McDonald said the baked potato and bacon chicken ranch pizzas were popular.

Stany Boney, WKBN-27 news anchor, said the 13 judges each had to sample 24 slices of pizza.

“You really need to only take two bites per slice when you’re judging. If it’s really good, you can do three bites,” Boney said, noting he has done 25 pizza-challenge events in his career.

A long line formed for autographs from Mathers.

Bill Brooks of Austintown had Mathers autograph two baseballs.

“I was a fan of the show when it was on TV,” he said.

OUTLOOK: Shopping local – in a big way – at Eastwood Mall Complex

NILES, Ohio – Do you remember hopping in the car for a “shopping trip”? A lot of people think of that as a quaint concept that’s all but dead, unless you count shopping on the tiny screen of some electronic device. Believe it or not, the idea of walking into a physical place, picking up merchandise, paying for it and taking it home is making a roaring comeback.

After a long period of virus-induced isolation, Americans have been eager to get out again sample the social joys of shopping. According to the Commerce Department, total retail sales for October through December 2021 were up 17.1% over the same period a year earlier, with most of it happening in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

That enthusiasm for shopping was evident during the recent holiday season at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles. There are several reasons why people came out. As news accounts spread of shipping and supply chain problems nationwide, many in search of that special Christmas gift wanted to make sure they had it in hand.

A great many people wanted to check out the new Boscov’s that opened at the mall in October. At 180,000 square feet, it’s the largest department store in the region and perhaps the only all-new department store to open in the nation last year.

Perhaps one big motivation was the desire to “shop local”. Along with national chains, there are also dozens of locally-owned stores serving customers at the Eastwood Mall Complex. They offer a unique flavor to the merchant line-up, often providing merchandise you may not see anywhere else. You’ll find it in the formal fashions on display at Lavish by Coral Rose and the specialized jewelry and Vera Bradley accessories at Gracylane.

In 2019, Renee Malutic and a partner opened a shop unlike any other in the region. The store, known as MiMe, uses 3-D printing technology (additive manufacturing) to create incredibly precise miniature statues of whoever poses in the store’s sophisticated photography booth.

Leaping into the role of entrepreneur is something Malutic relishes. “It allows you to have some creative freedom” she said. “You’re marketing something that you’re creating yourself.”

At Tri-County CBD, Jordan Robinson builds loyalty by counseling customers on the benefits of cannabis-derived oils, lotions and edibles designed to provide relief from a variety of ailments. “When we tell people we’re a ‘mom and pop’, they get relief just from that,” he said.

In many cases, the “new” stores at Eastwood are already familiar to local consumers. Last summer, after 135 years in Sharon, the iconic Reyers shoe tore moved (just about 14 miles) to the mall. While its old clientele followed, new customers soon discovered the brand.

Reyers Vice President Steven Jubelirer noted the importance of customer loyalty. “All our money we make, and all the money our employees make, is kept local,” he said. “You cannot find that up and down the street at chain stores. When you come into Reyers, customers know the difference.”