WEST FRANKFORT — The West Frankfort City Council will take up business during Tuesday’s City Council meeting to fill more stalls at the Factory Stores of America outlet mall.
West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan said the newest additions won’t be big corporations.
“That area, we are just going to make it for some local people,” Jordan said, adding that in the next two months they hope to fill between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet of retail space.
Jordan said the city will be welcoming Lazy Daisy Yarn and Needlecraft to the mall. John Nolen Chiropractic will also be making the move.
Nolen, who has been in his current location on Van Buren Street in West Frankfort for 27 years, said he had been in negotiations with Glenwood Equities LLC for nearly two years before finally selling to them. They wanted his lot in order to build the new Dollar General store coming to town.
Nolan said he looks forward to renting as he will have less responsibility for maintenance. He said his last day of work in his current spot will be no later than Aug. 31, and he said the city plans to have his new, 2,200-square-foot stall in the mall ready within the first week of September.
Jordan also said there could also be a big announcement within the next 90 days regarding the development of the property adjacent to the front of the mall. Jordan said the location could be home to a new gas station/convenience store. However, Jordan declined to provide further details as the deal is not final. He did say if it goes through, the mall property could see a boost in traffic because of the pending development.
The city purchased the failing mall in 2015 after watching it decline for years. Jordan said it’s been slow but steady progress.
“I’m not disappointed in the development that we have,” Jordan said.
2017 has had its ups and downs for the property. In February it was announced a Taco Bell would be moving into a lot in front of the mall, which generated a lot of local excitement. However, this year also saw plans fall through for West Frankfort to be the new home of Little Egypt Beer.
“We tried our best to help him,” Jordan said of Little Egypt's owner, Ken Rhude. “I just don’t think it was meant to be. I wish him well.”
Still, Jordan said while he would love to see the property teeming with businesses, he knows it will take time and said he thinks the decision for the city to purchase the property was a sound one. He said it gave the city more power to control the destiny of a huge development.
“If people want to come here, we have a seat at the table,” Jordan said.