Harbor Freight is the newest store at Uptown Virginia

VIRGINIA — Harbor Freight Tools at Uptown Virginia (formerly Thunderbird Mall) will soon open and create 15,000 square feet of redeveloped retail space. The Virginia store is Harbor Freight’s 11th location in Minnesota and joins more than 1,000 stores across the nation. It offers over 7,000 high quality air, automotive, hand, and power tools and accessories at prices up to 80 percent less than competing brands.

Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Calabasas, California, Harbor Freight began as and remains a familyowned business. It has 20,000 employees and operates in 48 states.

The opening of Harbor Freight in Uptown Virginia is part of a larger retail transformation which began six years ago when Texas-based RockStep Capital purchased the struggling Thunderbird Mall with the goal of bringing investor capital to the property. Demolition and renovation of a portion of the former Kmart building and parking lot made way for new national tenants including ALDI, Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels, Tractor Supply Company, and Verizon Wireless. Hobby Lobby opened last year in a space vacated by Herberger’s at the opposite end of the mall.

RockStep said the redevelopment was critical to stabilizing the property and validating the market for other potential national and regional tenants. The mall revitalization is locally led by Jody Vest, RockStep’s director of mall management and long-time Virginia mall property manager. Vest supervises the daily operations and financial management of Uptown and RockStep’s other enclosed mall properties. She plays a key role in helping the malls adapt and achieve financial health in an era of robust retail change and also amidst a global health pandemic that has impacted American shopping.

“The opening of Harbor Freight Tools will complete the redevelopment of the former Kmart building, a project that would not have been possible without the support of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation,” said Vest. “The agency’s grants helped us secure the new national tenants as well as the new local businesses that have relocated to the mall such as Iron Range Apparel, The Sugar Shack, Pebble Spa and Amazing Grace Boutique.”

Uptown Virginia currently has over 20 businesses encompassing retail, food, and professional services. Visit www.uptownvirginia.com/ directory to browse all of the new and long-time retailers at Uptown Virginia.

According to RockStep, the redevelopment project created demolition, construction, part- and full-time jobs and is increasing the city of Virginia and St. Louis County tax bases. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the mall transformation project with commercial redevelopment grants. Email Chris Ismil (chris.ismil@state.mn.us) for grant information or call him at 218-735-3010. Harbor Freight is hiring for the Uptown Mall location. Visit www.hairborfrieghtjobs.com for employment opportunities.

Source: The Ranger, a publication of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation.

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