St. Clairsville Shoppers descend upon Marshalls

New O.V. Mall anchor holds grand opening Thursday

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The face of the Ohio Valley Mall changed once again on Thursday with the long-awaited opening of Marshalls department store.

A crowd of eager shoppers lined up outside the entrance early Thursday morning. Natalie Marling of Martins Ferry was first in line and had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the store. She and Jamie Huff of Shadyside were the first two at the entrance, having arrived at about 5:30 a.m. to be the first customers through the doors.

“It’s a beautiful morning, and we thought we would just come out and join in the grand opening celebration. I’ve never been to one,” Huff said, adding that she was looking forward to purchasing seasonal items and

children’s clothing.

St. Clairsville City Councilwoman Linda Jordan also was on hand, interested in the opening of the store from both personal and community perspectives.

“I’m a Marshalls shopper. I love their prices, and I’m thrilled that they’re here. It’s great to have them this close. They’re going to be quite an asset to the city,” she said. “It’s great to have them come here and fill this space. … They will definitely draw crowds at all times, especially during the holidays.”

Marshalls is stepping into a portion of the space that had been occupied by Elder-Beerman department store since 1998.

Elder-Beerman’s closing was announced in January, with the store shutting its doors in March. Marshalls occupies a 20,000-square-foot space on the east side of the mall. Elder-Beerman also held a large space on the opposite side of the same concourse, and no new tenant for that area has been announced so far.

Throughout the early part of this year, several stores such as Woodbury Outfitters, Radio Shack, Things Remembered, MC Sports and hhgregg either closed or announced plans to close. Some of those vacancies also have been filled, with additional stores and restaurants expected to open in the near future.

Like Jordan on Thursday, many other shoppers were also eager to peruse the aisles of the new Marshalls store.

“It’s something different and something new,” Debbie DeVault of Colerain said.

“Reasonable prices, good stuff,” Theresa Speece of Powhatan Point said. “I love this store.”

The opening celebration also included a donation by Marshalls of $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity. Kara Durbin, director of community outreach for Habitat for Humanity in East Central Ohio, said the store will have a welcome impact on local communities.

“That’s amazing, we are so thankful,” Durbin said regarding the gift of funds. “People know that we build homes, but we also build communities and hope, and that’s really visible here with Marshalls. … They’re providing jobs. They’re building with local families, through this donation, to have a decent, affordable home, and we’re really grateful to be a part of this.”

“At Marshalls we are very big on community service and community involvement,” Manager John Cracroft said, adding that the store will also collect donations for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at its cash registers.

Candi Noble-Greathouse, mall marketing director, said the mall expects an increase in business with the arrival of Marshalls.

“It’s a store where you will find great savings, shoes, home accessories, clothing for the entire family,” she said. “This is a weekend full of excitement, and we’re looking forward to a great holiday season. … This is wonderful for the Ohio Valley Mall. This is a great addition to our merchant mix. We are also looking forward to more store openings with Sweet Treats by Carrie, Division 1 Donuts and Levin Furniture all opening hopefully by the end of October. This is great addition of a new department store in the mall. We feel this will bring more shoppers, as well as even more tenants.”

George Diab, mall manger, agreed.

“We consider this an anchor, based upon the size of the room and the stature of this type of merchant. It’s a great positive advancement this year after losing a few stores earlier this year. We’re on the way to filling these vacancies that have occurred.”

“We have another great retailer in Belmont County,” Commissioner Mark Thomas said in response to the opening. “We’re happy to see Marshalls open at the Ohio Valley Mall. Thank you to the St. Clairsville High School Band for being here. … Thank you to the Cafaro Co. (mall owner) for getting Marshalls to come here. They’re a great retailer, and they’ll be a great addition to the Ohio Valley Mall complex and Belmont County, so we wish them the very best success.”

He added that the crowd size is a testament to the future of the new store and the mall.

“Anytime you have a retailer the quality of Marshalls, you’re going to have a lot of people first thing in the morning stop in,” he said.

According to Marshalls officials, the new store plans to add about 60 full- and part-time jobs to the area.