Belk expansion forces businesses to leave North Augusta's Martintown plaza

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 10:25 PM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 12:44 PM
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Editor's Note: Because incorrect information was provided, an earlier version of this story did not accurately report the bag sale day.

NORTH AUGUSTA — Martin­town Plaza, between Martintown Road and Knox Avenue, will soon see several changes, including the closing of its Goodwill and Just Beds stores and an expansion of its Belk.

The Goodwill store, which employs 18, has had a storefront in the plaza since 2000 and will close Saturday, said Susan Everitt, the director of communications for Good­will Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA.

The Lightstone Group, which owns the plaza, notified the nonprofit organization that it was not renewing the store’s lease.

Goodwill’s neighbor, Just Beds Sleep Gallery, received a 30-day notice to vacate from Lightstone, said Lynn Garrick, who co-owns the North Augusta location.

It has moved next to Hamrick’s in the nearby North Augusta Plaza on Mar­tintown Road and is expected to reopen by this weekend.

Garrick said Belk, which was on the other side of the business, is planning to expand through the area occupied by Just Beds and into Goodwill’s current space.

Stella Northington, the Belk store manager, would only say the location is expanding. A Lightstone representative would not comment on the plaza.

OneMain Financial’s North Augus­ta office, which is on the opposite side of Belk, also has to find a new home. The office received notice that it would have to move a couple of months ago, but branch manager Allison Vanecko said she does not know where the business will move.

The 144,000-square-foot plaza’s other tenants include Office Depot, Dollar General and North Augusta Wine & Beverage.

On Saturday, the Goodwill store will hold a bag sale where people can purchase different-size bags for $5, $10 and $20 and place as many items as they can into the bags, Everitt said.

Whatever is left at the end of the business day Saturday will be redistributed to other area Goodwill stores.

All of the store’s employees, except the manager, have been re­assigned to other Goodwill locations.

“The store has one store manager, and we are helping her to get work elsewhere since there wasn’t a manager spot open in our district,” Everitt said.

Even though the store is closing, it doesn’t necessarily mean a permanent exit from North Au­gusta.

“We are currently having a feasibility study so we can figure out how to best serve the North Augusta community, and we are looking for a new location in the North Augusta area,” Everitt said.

The study is expected to take several months, she added.

In the meantime, people in the North Augusta area can still make donations. Lightstone agreed to allow Goodwill to place an attended donation truck in the plaza in the parking lot next to Ruby Tuesday.

An attendant will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and will help people dropping off donations unload their vehicle and provide them with a tax receipt for the donated items.

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wondersnevercease 02/15/12 - 10:21 am
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