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Furniture store set for Pinellas

Published February 8, 2006

PINELLAS PARK - An Ashley Furniture Homestore will be built on U.S. 19 N across from Wal-Mart.

The Wisconsin furniture manufacturer and retailer plans to spend about five months building the 60,000-square-foot store, said Mark Cantley, president of Kingswere Furniture LLC, the company for the Ashley stores in Central Florida and Atlanta.

"It's a retail store like the one we did in Brandon," Cantley said.

Ashley will anchor a shopping center on the west side of U.S. 19 that will have four more stores, said Dean Neal, zoning director for the city of Pinellas Park.

Two stores will flank Ashley, and another two will be outparcels. Neal said tenants are unknown at this point but that the outparcels often are drive-through banks and restaurants or sit-down restaurants.

"It gives us a good anchor on the west side of 19," Neal said. "Wal-Mart is on the east side. Hopefully it will stir new development on that (west) side of 19. It will draw more interest. (Retailers) want to be located where the most people are."

Ashley sells furniture made in its manufacturing plants, and carries every category, Cantley said. Ashley Furniture Industries is the manufacturer, and Ashley Furniture Homestores is the retailer.

"We are real big into decorative accessories. That is what makes us different from some of the other furniture retailers. You can spend $20 to $30 to improve your environment or spend enough for a house full of furniture," Cantley said.

Ashley sells a lot of bedding, he added.

Demographics brought Ashley to Pinellas County. The chain liked the number of people here, particularly the women between ages 25 and 54, and the income level, Cantley said.

The Brandon store opened in November. Ashley will continue to grow in the Tampa-St-Petersburg market with multiple locations, Cantley said.

The Pinellas Park store will be at 8000 U.S. 19 N. Because it still is in the permitting stage, Cantley does not have an opening date. He said it takes about five months to build a store and several weeks to stock it.

[Last modified February 8, 2006, 01:15:22]

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