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Ollie's Department Store to Open in Lake Wales

Big Box Discounter Features More than 20 Departments

A long-vacant space in the Orange Grove Shopping Center in Lake Wales will soon be home to a large new Ollie's store amid a burst of new residential development in the area.

Ollie's is a discount department store with 521 locations, and more opening this month in other states. There are several locations in central Florida, including one adjacent to the Lakeland Square Mall. Other nearby Ollie's locations include Avon Park and Kissimmee.

Ollie's is a discount department store featuring more than 20 separate sections ranging from flooring to clothing to pet supplies.

Ollie's stores feature more than 20 separate departments including furniture, flooring, books, clothing, lawn and garden, pets, patio, food, health and beauty, toys, hardware, and electronics, and more.

The addition of the big-box retail operation is indicative of the area's expanding economy, according to local officials.

Lake Wales City Manager James Slaton called it "another great win for Lake Wales," and touted the "adaptive reuse" of the building a great alternative to "plowing up more green space."

The new store will occupy a former Kash'n'Karry grocery store at 1340 SR 60 East that has remained vacant for more than two decades as the once-thriving center struggled to generate traffic.

The Orange Grove was constructed in the mid-1990s and once included a Bealls department store and the city's first Wal-Mart store. The relocation of the major anchors left the center struggling, but several new businesses have opened in recent years.

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The Orange Grove Shopping Center is in the center of a large swath of new or pending residential development sprawled across the south and east sides of Lake Wales, sparking new interest in retail in the area. The center had declined after the big-box anchors moved out. The announcement of a new anchor marks a potential turn-around for the center.

Among current tenants in the sprawling center are Harbor Freight, Family Dollar, and Anytime Fitness. Other small businesses, including two quick-service restaurants and a coin laundry, occupy the center as well.

The center is owned by out-of-state investors and managed by RMC Property Group. According to the Polk County Property Appraiser's website, the center is valued at more than $4 million dollars.

The City of Lake Wales has invested to recruit new retail stores to the city, entering into a $40,000 contract with Retail Strategies, a search firm.

Calling the contract a "strategic plan for recruitment," Slaton explained that it "absolutely compliments efforts by the city and the Lake Wales Chamber/EDC."

"They will develop a strategic plan and execute it hand-in-hand with the EDC," Slaton told at the time the contract was initiated.

"They know the requirements of individual retailers," he said, adding that the firm, based in Fort Worth, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama, has "access to data and resources" unavailable to either local organization.

Slaton was unable to confirm that Retail Strategies was involved in recruiting Ollie's.


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