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Old Kmart building finds tenant

MOVING IN: Sporting goods store Walnut Creek Outdoors has announced it will move into the old Kmart building, located at1015 E Main St.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Walnut Creek Outdoors of Gas City announced it will be moving into the old Kmart building located at 1015 E Main St.

The move will be a significant expansion for the sporting goods business, which is moving from its 6,000 square foot location into a building that is nearly 90,000 square feet, according to Mayor Larry Leach. Walnut Creek Outdoors is located next door to the former Kmart.

The former Kmart is owned by Tunlaw, LCC, which is remodeling the building to update many of the location's dated aspects as it readies for its new tenant.

According to Leach, this is a huge move for the sporting goods business.

"I am real excited about it because I think I know what the potential is there," Leach said. "We'll have a first class sporting goods retailer which I believe will draw people from many miles away."

Leach said he believes the move could give an additional boost to Gas City's economy as outsiders spend at nearby gas stations, convenience stores and hotels.

"Walnut Creek Outdoors is a sporting goods retailer that (has) both local customers and customers that travel several hours from out of state to visit and shop their current location," said a press release announcing the move. "They are hoping to increase the amount of people visiting and spending extended time in Gas City with the new location."

According to Jim Norton, president of Walnut Creek Outdoors, the goal is to turn the additional space into an event center.

The store will be offering a "moving" sale in preparation for the new store opening, in an aim to help generate foot traffic prior to the relocation.

The smaller location will be put up for sale or lease, Norton added.

"I think it's great," said Gas City Councilman Bill Rock on the move. "It (opens) an empty building and gives an opportunity for people to come in to purchase sporting goods."

Rock added that the new location is more central, which will help to give Norton more traffic from those just passing through town.

"I wish Jimmy luck," he added. "He's done a really good job with Walnut Creek Outdoors."

No word yet on when the move will occur. Norton said he will be able to provide more information about the new store as details are finalized.