Three stores open in new homes at The Square

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Published May 4, 2016

The Coloradoan

By Pat Ferrier

Three tenants at The Square, 3500 S. College Ave., are settling in to new stores.

Two — Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. and The Sleep Store — have moved within the Midtown Fort Collins shopping center during its multimillion-dollar makeover, while Christy Sports moved Friday from its freestanding building at the nearby Foothills Mall.

Christy Sports store manager Zach Stevens is basking in the size of his new 9,000-square-foot store that’s full of patio furniture, barbecues, hammocks, cushions and fire pits, with more merchandise coming in before the Memorial Day weekend.

“The spacious showroom and natural light will provide our customers with a better idea of what the furniture will actually look like in their own backyard,” Stevens said.

After patio season, the store will feature a full-service ski and snowboard rental and repair shop, along with an expansion of all winter departments. The new store just about triples the retail footprint of the previous space.

Zach Stevens, manager of Christy Sports, opened the store in its new location, 3500 S. College Ave., next to Sierra Trading Post and Trader Joe’s.  The Square, which languished from inattention for years as the economy waned, is welcoming new tenants as is undergoes the second of a three-phase renovation. Sierra Trading Post and Trader Joe’s, which anchor the southwest and northwest ends, opened in late 2014 and early 2015, respectively.

Christy Sports now sits in between the two anchors. The third phase, which will include renovation of Hobby Town USA and Little Saigon Cafe, is expected to begin next year.

In between Brown’s and Trader Joe’s, a new liquor store, Square Beverage, and brewpub, The Gilded Goat Brewing Co, are expected to open this summer.

Before the renovations, the stores fronted onto an interior corridor, much like a small mall. With the renovations, the mall atmosphere is gone and all retailers have their own front doors opening on to the parking lot.

The reconfiguration didn’t provide larger spaces to Brown’s and The Sleep Store, but the space is more efficient, said Brown’s manager Jim Zimmerman.

“It lays out better … there’s not as much wasted space, so it feels a lot bigger,” he said.

During the grand opening customers can register to win tickets to the Coloradoan’s Northern Colorado Sports Awards program featuring Peyton Manning on May 17.

Just east of Brown’s is The Sleep Store, which combined three spaces into one. Manager John Cramer no longer has to shuffle among the stores to show mattresses, futons, day beds and head boards. He lost space in the renovations, but “we have more usable space,” said Cramer, who’s weathered the ups and downs at The Square for years.

Now, with The Square’s remodel and the $313 million renovation of Foothills Mall across the street, Cramer said “this is the sweet spot of Fort Collins retailing.”

The combined 650,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at Foothills and 150,000 square feet at The Square will make the two properties the largest combined shopping destination in Fort Collins.

Within the next two years nearly 400 apartments will pop up adjacent to Foothills Mall bringing a whole lot of people practically right to Cramer’s front door. “But it’s still retail, and retail is tough.”