116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A national discount retailer is opening its first Iowa location in Iowa City later this year.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet — which has 467 stores in 29 states — is opening in the Iowa City Marketplace, the space formerly known as Sycamore Mall, in southeast Iowa City.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is the country’s largest retailer of closeout merchandise and excess inventory, according to the company’s website.
The store is anticipated to open late summer or early fall in the space that formerly housed Von Maur and Lucky’s Market.
The Iowa City Marketplace announced the store’s opening on Facebook in late December, and the post has garnered attention on social media with more than 150 comments and more than 420 shares.
The Iowa City Martketplace will “feel busy” with the new anchor store, said Ben Hamd, founder of Brookwood Capital Advisors, which owns the shopping center.
Brookwood, a Tennessee-based company that focuses on redeveloping shopping centers, bought the mall last year for just under $14.3 million.
Hamd said having a bigger retailer bring more traffic to the shopping center benefits other businesses in the shopping center, too. Those tenants include Planet Fitness, Joann Fabrics & Crafts, Marcus Theatres, Panera Bread, McDonald’s, Mexico Lindo and Oyama Sushi.
Hamd said Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is similar to Big Lots, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, which have “a little bit of everything.”
The outlet store sells items that include housewares, electronics, home improvement, books and toys, with an inventory that constantly changes.
Many of items are unsold or overstocked merchandise Ollie’s buys from manufacturers.
“You will always find famous brand name products at Ollie’s, but a lot of them could be last year’s colors, patterns or packaging that traditional retailers won’t sell,” according to the company’s website.
Hamd estimated the store will create at least 30 jobs, with the potential for employing up to 70. The store estimates it will bring in $10 million in revenue a year.
“That's money that will stay in Iowa City specifically,” Hamd said. “That’s jobs that will come, good-paying jobs. It's not just hourly workers. You're working with managers, regional people. Ollie's wants to do further stores in the state of Iowa.”
He said Iowa City also will benefit from having the first Ollie’s in Iowa.
“The city gets more tax revenue. People get a better price on stuff than they would elsewhere. They can shop for different options a lot easier closer to where they live,” Hamd said.
“Everybody benefits when a big national retailer comes in and takes a big empty space.”
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