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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 8, 201512:00 PM EST

La-Z-Boy to open at St. Johns Town Center


The owner of the two area La-Z-Boy home furniture galleries bought the closed TigerDirect store in St. Johns Town Center.

“That’s been a place that we’ve had our eye on for years,” said Tom DeGoey, president of Furniture Galleries of Atlanta, which already owns two La-Z-Boy stores in Northeast Florida.

The company paid almost $6 million for the property and expects to invest another $600,000 in renovations to turn the store into the company’s new concept design.

It will be first new-concept store in Jacksonville and will feature groupings by lifestyle and design to make it easier for customers to shop, he said.

There are more graphics, color and technological touches and the new stores highlight customization capabilities.

DeGoey said the Town Center store should open by early April. It will employ 15-20 people.

The AFG limited liability companies that own the area La-Z-Boy stores are part of Furniture Galleries of Atlanta LLC. The company owns eight La-Z-Boy stores in Atlanta, of which two are the new concept.

La-Z-Boy is based in Monroe, Mich.

AFG-JAX TC LLC paid $5.99 million on Friday for the more than 19,000-square-foot store on 1.67 acres at 10207 Buckhead Branch Drive.

The purchase price is higher than the property’s Duval County Property Appraiser 2016 market value in progress of $4.1 million.

AFG-JAX bought the Town Center property from The Gate Group LLC of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Hampden, Maine. Gate Group paid $6.3 million in 2007.

Buford, Ga.-based AFG-JAX TC’s owners also own the La-Z-Boy at 10452 Philips Highway, near The Avenues mall and the La-Z-Boy at 2001 East West Parkway at Fleming Island.

DeGoey said those stores are doing very well.

The Avenues store is about 12,200 square feet while the Fleming Island location is about 20,000 square feet.

DeGoey said the Town Center property was a big store, “but that’s obviously one of the hottest malls and one of the hottest traffic areas in Florida overall.”

He said the showroom would be 16,000 to 17,000 square feet.

“We love Jacksonville and we think we are a great fit,” he said.

DeGoey said up to 98 percent of Furniture Galleries of Atlanta’s Laz-Z-Boy furniture is made in Dayton, Tenn., and the rest is made in Newton, Miss.

“It’s still made in the U.S.,” he said, adding the company was very proud of that.

The company sells a wide range of furniture, including recliners, motion furniture and stationary furnishings.

He said Furniture Galleries of Atlanta started there and was granted the Jacksonville market, opening the Avenues area store in December 2010 and at Fleming Island a year later.

Built in 2007, the St. Johns Town Center store first was American Backyard, then CompUSA and most recently TigerDirect before closing this year.

San Jose Kmart site could be redeveloped

Jacksonville-based Ash Properties, a commercial real estate developer, paid $4.385 million for the Kmart store in Mandarin. The deed was executed Dec. 1 and recorded Friday.

Through Atlantic Mini-Storage of America Inc., Ash Properties bought the almost 106,000-square-foot store at 9600 San Jose Blvd. The store, built in 1979, sits on 11.5 acres in a heavily traveled retail area in the Southside market area.

Colliers International Northeast Florida said Friday that Principal Jason Ryals and Senior Vice President Gary Montour represented the buyers.

Ryals said Monday that Kmart still has time on its lease and options to extend, but the plan is for Kmart to terminate the lease, although there was no timeframe for that.

A redevelopment could be a self-storage project, a retail renovation, retail with outparcels or demolition and reconstruction.

Ash Properties bought the property from Jacksonville KM LLC of Old Westbury, N.Y. The LLC is in care of Kmart Corp. of Hoffman Estates, Ill.

The buyer is Atlantic Mini-Storage of America Inc., whose manager is Amoureuses Management Inc. Elaine Ashourian is the president of Amoureuses Management.

Ash Properties owns and develops retail and office centers in Northeast Florida as well as land leases and build-to-suit projects.

An Ash Properties representative did not return a call for comment.

Avondale wins first area Endurance House

Avondale is gaining the city’s first Endurance House, a retail store that serves runners, walkers, cyclists, swimmers and especially tri-athletes.

“It’s a genuinely welcoming, warm and open environment for athletes of all abilities,” said Dan Wilson, a tri-athlete who owns the area franchise for the Wisconsin-based concept.

Endurance House offers apparel, equipment and services for the swimming, biking and running needs of endurance athletes and others who take part in those sports.

Wilson intends to open the franchise at 3562 St. Johns Ave., taking 2,500 square feet of a 7,302-square-foot building that formerly housed an art gallery.

Pending construction approvals, the store could open by mid-January, he said.

Plans filed with the city show Dav-Lin Interior Contractors Inc. will build-out the space at a cost of almost $154,000. There will be areas for apparel and bike retail, shoes, bike maintenance, a fit station, storage, office/flex space and more.

Endurance House is based in Middleton, Wis., and has expanded to at least a dozen locations in Wisconsin, California, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, California, Georgia and Florida, where the first store opened in Sarasota.

Athletes Jamie and Tara Osborn founded the company in 2008. After the first store in Madison, Wis., was successful they started a franchise program in 2011.

Triathlon Retailer and Industry News reported that Endurance House stocks the gear needed by tri-athletes, including nutrition, complete bikes, as well as wetsuit and wheel rentals, running gait analysis and bike fitting and repair services.

Wilson said he chose Avondale because of its location. “I wanted to have something central to the entire North Florida market,” he said.

Avondale, he said, is an active community with easy access, neighborhood charm and in a larger area that doesn’t offer “a lot of options for endurance athletes.”

Wilson said Endurance House would employ six to 10 people to start. After establishing a successful store, he would consider a second in the metropolitan market.

Wilson is a two-time Ironman Florida finisher, in 2013 and 2014, and completed four Ironman 70.3 events, which are half the distances of the full Ironman triathlons.

A Sarasota native, he graduated from the University of Florida in 1997 and earned an MBA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004.

He then moved to Jacksonville and worked for The Haskell Co. and CSX Transportation.

“I always wanted to have my own business,” Wilson said.

That led him to Endurance House.

Clothes Mentor to open in Mandarin

A national franchise that competes with thrift stores, consignment shops and traditional boutiques intends to open in the spring in Claire Lane Center in Mandarin.

Clothes Mentor is a brand of the NTY Franchise Co. Its stores buy and resell designer and name-brand women’s clothing and accessories.

Unlike consignment, Clothes Mentor is set up to buy used clothing outright, paying cash immediately to sellers.

The 3,207-square-foot Clothes Mentor is planned in Claire Lane Center at 11112 San Jose Blvd. Franchise owner Dayna Cerullo said the store should open in the spring after a six- to eight-week period where it is buying clothing.

Once stocked, the store plans a grand opening, she said.

Jenny Mann, director of marketing for NTY Franchise Co. near Minneapolis, said there are about 140 Clothes Mentor stores in 29 states, with 52 more on track to open.

Mann said most of the goods are sold to consumers at 70 percent off mall prices.

Clothes Mentor evaluates the clothes through a computer program and prices them at a third of the determined retail price. It pays the seller a third of that.

Clothes Mentor seeks clothing sizes 0-26, for petites, misses and plus sizes, including maternity wear.

Clothes must be current, defined as having been sold in malls within the past two years, they must be laundered or cleaned, and must be in good condition, free of wear, tears and stains.

The stores also seek handbags, shoes and accessories in current styles and good condition.

“Most women wear 20 percent of their wardrobe 80 percent of the time,” Cerullo said. “This is where Clothes Mentor comes in.”

Cerullo’s experience includes having owned the Underpinnings shop in Santa Fe, N.M., for five years.

The website offers a list of the more than 160 brands it buys and sells, such as Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Naturalizer, Old Navy and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Mann said the stores are designed to look and feel like a traditional retail store. Clothes Mentor also offers a rewards program and a free personal-shopper service.

Sellers also can opt for store credit at a higher rate instead of cash, she said.

Mann said NTY Franchise Co. bought the rights to Clothes Mentor in 2008 from the founders, who also created resale concepts that include Once Upon A Child, focusing on children, and Plato’s Closet, which serves the teenage and 20’s market.

Clothes Mentor is a national franchise system comprising independently owned stores operated by local franchisees under a licensing agreement with Clothes Mentor LLC.

Cerullo said her Clothes Mentor location in Claire Lane Center is across San Jose Boulevard from Stein Mart and T.J. Maxx.

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