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VOL. 117 | NO. 158 | Friday, September 5, 2003

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Improved roads clear way for new retail center

Businesses Flock to East Memphis Center

Improved roads clear way for new retail development


The Daily News

Today in Memphis more than ever, improved roads and new subdivisions often bring with them new retail and commercial opportunities.

The Shops at Kirby Gate, a new neighborhood center located on Kirby Road between Quince and Stout roads, has opened to accommodate the needs of new and established residents in the East Memphis community.

The 115,00-square foot center, anchored by a Kroger grocery store with a fuel station, set up shop a few months ago, and business owners already open in the development expect an increase in customer traffic soon, as more new businesses are scheduled to open nearby in coming weeks.

McAlisters Deli is set to open its doors early next week in a bay in the centers southern corner. A Chinese restaurant, cellular phone retail store and perhaps another deli are planned for other spaces in the development.

A new Wendys restaurant also is planned for the front portion of the property.

Room to grow. Randa Fergus, owner/manager of LaRues Hair Cutters, relocated her business into the Shops at Kirby Gate from the Kirby Gate Shopping Center around the corner.

Her new store opened for business July 23; a General Cleaners store will open soon next door to the salon.

I wanted in here because of the draw of Kroger and a need for more space, Fergus said, noting that her shop increased in size from 1,300 square feet to about 2,000 square feet.

She said shes already noticed an increase in walk-in traffic.

A lot of people see the ongoing construction and still dont realize were open, she said.

Kirby Wine & Liquors also will relocate from Kirby Gates Shopping Center its home for nearly 20 years to a freestanding, 8,000-square-foot store that is set for construction next year directly in front of the new McAlisters location.

Store owner Phil Woodard said his stores move also was prompted in part by the new Kroger store, as well as new road developments in the vicinity of the center.

A shift in traffic. More than a year ago, a stretch of Kirby Road in front of the new shopping center was expanded from two lanes to four; the same road was re-routed north at Messick Road to connect with Kirby Parkway.

Within the next month, the city will complete a new connecting road, Kirby Gates Parkway, that will extend east-west alongside the Shops at Kirby Gate from Kirby Road to Quince Road near the May Soccer Fields.

Woodard added that the expanded portion of Kirby Road from the center to the on-ramp of Bill Morris Parkway already has resulted in an increase in customers.

Every day, we hear customers comment that its easier and quicker for them to get off (Bill Morris Parkway) at Kirby and travel to Poplar Avenue, Woodard said. With the traffic pattern along Kirby growing, we want to be as close to the road as we can.

With the new businesses and roads also have come new rooftops, particularly near the re-routed section of roadway where Kirby Road and Kirby Parkway meet.

Recently, the 48-lot Greenbriar subdivision opened. Nearby, the final plat for another subdivision, the Orchards at Kirby Parkway East, was approved Tuesday by the Memphis City Council.

Planned for convenience. The Shops at Kirby Gate is situated to attract residents from both Memphis and Germantown. The city limits for both are less than a mile away at the intersection of Stout and McVay roads.

Germantown resident Thomas Mullins began grocery shopping at the Kroger store the week it opened for business, transferring his business from a Schnucks store at Germantown Road and Poplar Avenue.

The distance is not a whole lot of a factor between both stores from where I live, but there are fewer lights, its wide open and very convenient, he said about the new centers location. But the key is that theres no congestion.

The new McAlisters marks the chains seventh store in the area, with the closest and oldest local deli located in the Germantown Plaza shopping center.

Chris McVay, assistant manager at the new store, said it seats about 140 and offers patio dining.

He said the store hopes to attract customers from the southeast corner of Memphis, as well as from Germantown.

Were excited about the new store, and we hope to do well well see, he said. Our stores usually do well with the lunch crowd, but were not sure that will be the case, necessarily, here at this one.

Woodard said construction of all types, coupled with the road changes, have made the quadrant premium geography for new businesses.

We didnt hire a consultant or get a study done to know that center is going to be busy, he said.


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