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Retailers Pier 1 and Ulta Beauty to open in Branson

Both stores are set to open in the early part of 2013.

October 11, 2012|Emily Wood, KY3 News | ewood@ky3.com

Branson, Mo. -- Branson is still rebounding from the Leap Day tornado and the nationwide recession, but now two major retailers are moving in and bringing dozens of jobs with them.

"The building foundations are in, the slabs are poured, and right now we're working on the block walls," said Construction Site Manager Adam Parks of Q and Co. Construction.

Big name furniture store Pier One Imports and Ulta Beauty, another national chain, are both set to open during the first part of 2013 in the Branson Hills Shopping Center.  Combined, the stores will feature more than 20,000 square feet of retail space.

"There's a lot of excitement.  People stop by and ask what you're building, you tell them.  Of course the ladies get really excited; the guys dont really care that much," Parks said.

Parks is part of an industry hit hard by the recession.  He said being part such a big project is encouraging for his crew and the community as a whole.

"It's starting to look like things are turning around and picking back up a little bit, not like they were five years ago, but it's picking back up," Parks said.

While Branson Hills is expanding, it is a much different scene at the Factory Merchants Mall in Branson where all the stores have closed up and moved out.

"More than half were already duplicate stores that had other locations here in town.  They just weren't seeing the success, having a hard time keeping the center full," said Branson Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson.

Anderson said several of the outlet stores were able to relocate to other shopping centers, and the now-vacant 65-acres of city-owned land presents a huge opportunity.

"We can now work with the community to come up with best possible plan of redevelopment of that property," Anderson said.

For now city leaders are keeping tornado recovery remains the top priority and relying on the entertainment scene, including the shopping, to bring in the tourists.

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Anderson said stores like Pier One and Ulta typically hire 30 to 40 employees.  The hiring process will likely happen next year.

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