Rural King hopes to reign

PARKERSBURG – A new farm and home store will be coming to Parkersburg this fall at the Park Shopping Center.

Rural King will open its 76th store in the vacant 110,000-square-foot facility previously occupied by Big Bear Plus, said Susan Samuelson, vice president of human resources for Rural King and Brad Glazer, managing member of Park Center LLC, in a news release Thursday.

The exact opening date has not been announced, but officials said work will be starting soon to get the property ready.

The release says Rural King’s product mix includes pets, livestock and feed; medications; power equipment; seasonal decor; lawn and garden chemicals; agricultural parts and chemicals; hardware; plumbing; sporting goods including camping, hunting and fishing; automotive; heating and cooling; clothing; power tools; toys; and pest control.

“You never know what you will find at your local Rural King, and that’s why every trip is an adventure,” Samuelson said in the release. “We are excited about our new location and look forward to supporting the community with outstanding service, low prices and a great product assortment.”

The local Big Bear Plus closed in 2004.

The city has been working with the shopping center to improve traffic control and access to make the property more attractive to potential investors, Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said.

“This is great for the city,” Newell said. “That store has been vacant for several years.

“It will be good to have that space filled.”

The city has been working for years to try to land a big box retailer for that space, the mayor said adding Rural King is planning to use the entire store space available.

The store will employ about 70 associates.

Newell said it seems the store’s product lines will appeal to a wide range of customers throughout the area.

“It will be a nice, all-encompassing retail store,” Newell said. “We are very thrilled to have the jobs that store will create.”

Park Shopping Center is all ready home to Gabriel Brothers, Crafts 2000, Dollar Tree and Big Lots.

“Park Shopping Center is known for its unique stores,” Glazer said in the release. “Rural King will continue the tradition of bringing quality products to quality people.”

Newell believes the store will also help attract other businesses to the Park Shopping Center.

“It will be a great addition to that shopping center and the city,” Newell said. “Rural King will help revitalize that shopping center.

“It will be instrumental in filling the other business spots there.”

The city will be working with the shopping center to help facilitate the store’s move into that space, officials said.

“Park Center LLC continues to enrich our community through their development of Park Shopping Center,” Ron Salter, president of Salter & Associates, the local public relations and marketing firm representing Park Shopping Center, said in the release. “Filling a vacant property and bringing new jobs to our community is a win-win for everyone.”

Rural King opened in Mattoon, Ill., in 1960 and has added 74 stores since then in an eight-state area, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Missouri and Florida. The company opens an average of 10 new stores each year. The Parkersburg location will be their first store in West Virginia.

Job candidates may apply online at www.ruralking.com/careers.

Rural King plans on conducting interviews approximately two months prior to the new store opening.

People will see work begin on the site within the next week or week-and-a-half to get the property ready, Salter said.