Jo-Ann Fabric will relocate


Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft will open a 36,000-square-foot store next year in the long-vacant former Publix location in the Esplanade at Butler Plaza.

The company wants to open before the end of the second quarter of 2014, preferably in the first quarter, but has "fairly considerable" construction to do, said Seth Lane of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group, which handles leasing for the Esplanade.

A Jo-Ann spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.

Jo-Ann closed its 12,000-square-foot store in the Millhopper Shopping Center in January 2010 to make way for a larger Publix. Before that, several sources said the company was looking for a larger space for a superstore and would close its two smaller Gainesville stores, including the one that remains open at 1220 NW 76th Blvd.

Lane confirmed that Jo-Ann still plans to close the 76th Boulevard location.

The coming store is one of many changes to the oldest part of Butler Plaza at 3610 Archer Road.

4 Rivers Smokehouse opened recently in the former McAlister's Deli, which moved last year to the former Ashley's Pub.

Guitar Center opened its 8,000-square-foot musical instrument store last Thursday.

Cox Communications has signed a lease to put in a Cox Solutions Store in a few months where customers can sign up for service, pay bills, exchange equipment and see features such as high-definition service.

Jo-Ann offers products for quilting, apparel, craft and home decor sewing, as well as components, tools and kits for crafters. The Hudson, Ohio-based company operates 790 stores in 49 states.

The arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby also plans to open a Gainesville store next year, in place of the just-closed Stein Mart.

— Anthony Clark

Jiffy Lube

America's largest Jiffy Lube franchisee, Heartland Automotive Services, has purchased the five locations in Gainesville as part of the company's 33-store acquisition from South Lube Inc., according to a press release.

Heartland, headquartered in Irving, Texas, has 576 Jiffy Lube locations in 23 states, which serve about 4 million customers each year, and employs about 5,000 people. Heartland did not disclose terms of the acquisition.

The 41 employees in the Gainesville locations were invited to remain in their current positions after the sale, according to the release.

Health care insurance and retirement benefits will also be provided to the 250 employees from all 33 stores previously owned by South Lube.

"The newly acquired locations provide a natural platform for growth in the Southeast market," said James Marcum, interim CEO of Heartland Jiffy Lube.

Of the stores acquired from South Lube, 17 are located in the Jacksonville area, one in Atlantic Beach and 10 in the Charleston, S.C., area.

Heartland also has opened a southeast division, which will include existing Heartland locations near Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Jiffy Lube provides oil changes, tire rotations, filter replacements, air-conditioning services, state vehicle safety inspections, emissions testing and other preventive automotive maintenance services.

Heartland said it plans to buy another Jiffy Lube location in Lake City.

— Andrea Carroz

Anthony Clark is the Gainesville Sun business editor and Andrea Carroz is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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