By Isaac Bonnell
After sitting vacant for several months, the former Circuit City building will soon be bustling again, this time with appliances and furniture.
Bellingham-based appliance retailer DeWaard & Bode is in the process of moving from its downtown location at 1815 Cornwall Ave. to the former Circuit City space at 3944 Meridian St. in Meridian Village. The new store is being renovated and DeWaard & Bode is planning for a soft opening in mid-September, said store manager Curt Grady.
“The ‘Circuit City red’ will go away and we’re putting up the ‘DeWaard & Bode blue’ soon,” Grady said.
The move will be a significant increase in retail space, from 13,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet. The new location also comes with an additional 12,000 square feet of warehouse space, which will allow the company to carry more inventory.
“Our showroom here [on Cornwall Avenue] has been great, but we’ve outgrown it. We don’t have the room to show all the products we carry,” Grady said.
DeWaard & Bode has been in its current space for the past 10 years and the time just felt right to expand, Grady said. With more space, the business will be increasing its appliance inventory by about 20 percent and its mattress stock by about 35 percent.
The retailer will also start carrying sofas and TVs and is in the process of building a full-size, working display kitchen that can be used for cooking demonstrations.
“We’re going to have a lot more stock,” Grady said. “We don’t want to be the ‘order it and get it in three weeks’ kind of store. People want their stuff now. If you like this brown couch, we’ll have one in the back that you can take home today.”
The expansion also means that the company will be hiring at least 10 more employees for warehouse and sales positions Grady said. DeWaard & Bode currently employees about 60 people.
Since nearby Linens-N-Things closed in December 2008 and Circuit City closed in March 2009, the Meridian Village shopping center has been without an anchor tenant, leaving its vast parking lot mostly empty.
“We’d like to be the anchor tenant in that area,” Grady said.