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Kindley: Retail economy looking brighter

SARAH LOWERY, STAFF WRITER

The outlook for local retail industries may be looking gradually brighter.

Ken Kindley, president of the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber has hosted roughly 30 new retailer openings in the area so far this year, with 40 having opened last year.

“Most retailers are holding their own,” he said.

But he was quick to point out that it depends on with whom you speak, saying some are doing better than others.

“There are certain businesses that are expanding,” he said, adding that others “may be hanging on by threads.”

After a slower summer, Kindley said retailers are looking forward to the holiday season, when many often generate about one-third of their sales for the year.

Noting that shopping is seasonal, he said retail is often unpredictable, but things tend to pick up a bit once school is back in session.

Kindley also pointed out that new manufacturing industries opening throughout the county will be a boost to retailers.

He hopes that as the manufacturers add employees the workers will “shop local.”

He cited Blood Sweat Gears Cycle & Skate and Expressions Day Spa, both in Denver, and Lizzie Lu’s in downtown Lincolnton as good examples of retailers that are expanding. Lizzie Lu’s recently moved to a larger facility on East Main Street.

Kindley also mentioned the new Hampton Inn coming to town, which he said should be opening to the public within the first couple of weeks in November.

There is also the new Dunkin’ Donuts coming to Boger City, which has plans to hire between 15 and 20 employees in the coming weeks.

Jonathan Grenier, director of operations for the new location, said employment applications are being accepted until Nov. 12, noting that those interested can apply in person at the chain’s Shelby or Gastonia locations.

He also said applicants should be sure to specify that they are applying to the Boger City store.

As of now, Grenier said a solid opening date has not been set, but he is “pushing hard for early December.”

Overall, Kindley said, in all his years of Chamber work, he has “never seen a recession grab hold quite like this.”

But he believes that new businesses opening up is a good sign for the future.

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