Bargain shoppers take note.
South Plaza in Akron is getting what may be the largest Marc’s store in the regional chain, as well as a Big Lots outlet.
The Marc’s is set to open Wednesday in the 71,500-square-foot site of a former Tops grocery in the longtime shopping center off Waterloo Road.
The South Plaza Marc’s — like others in the chain — will offer everything from fresh chicken to pet supplies to beauty supplies. A walk-up pharmacy window, accessible from outside the main store, also will be available.
The Marc’s is relocating from a considerably smaller space in the plaza that will soon house a Big Lots store, according to Larry Levey, head of plaza owner LRC Realty Inc. of Akron. Levey said the Big Lots may open in September.
Big Lots Inc., a closeout retailer, is a publicly traded company headquartered in Columbus, while discount retailer Marc’s is privately owned and has its main offices in Cleveland.
The expanded Marc’s and the new Big Lots are coming to the plaza amid much competition in the discount retail industry. Dollar General has opened several stores in the Akron area in the last year or so.
“The economy is picking up a little bit,” Levey said of the activity at South Plaza.
The onetime Tops space that Marc’s is taking over has been vacant for more than six years.
“Marc’s has evolved like so many other retailers,” Levey said. “They’re offering more services and more products and they need more space.”
Marc’s has been a plaza tenant for about 20 years, occupying about 38,000 square feet. That’s a little more than half the space of the new Marc’s site.
The new Marc’s store will feature more grocery items, increasing competition for the Giant Eagle grocery store, just east of the plaza on East Waterloo Road.
The new Marc’s will offer fresh produce and meats, as well as a deli counter offering sliced meats and cheeses and rotisserie chicken.
The new location also will feature a “cheese island,” boasting a variety of cheeses, spreads and cheese wheels, Marc’s Inc. announced.
Begun in 1978, the Marc’s chain operates 57 stores in Northeast Ohio, as well as 6 Xpect Discounts stores in New England.
Levey’s company has attracted another new tenant to the plaza — Gold’s Gym, which will take over space previously occupied by Fashion Bug. Gold’s Gym International Inc. is a chain of fitness centers based in Irving, Texas.
Ascena Retail Group, a national clothing retailer headquartered in Suffern, N.Y., closed down the Fashion Bug business earlier this year.
Levey’s company built South Plaza in 1991. That was a year after the original plaza, dating to the early 1950s, was ravaged in a fire. It was owned by another entity at the time.
Levey’s LRC Realty Inc., formerly Levey & Co., also owns the Arlington Plaza, Eastwood Square and Magic City shopping centers in the Akron area. LRC Realty also owns the Meadows Plaza in Massillon and the Lakewood Plaza in Lakewood.
Late last year, LRC Realty bought the 438,900-square-foot Shoppes at Northway shopping mall in Pennsylvania.
Locally, LRC Realty is co-developer of the University Edge student housing complex set open to next year on East Exchange Street, across from the University of Akron.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.