Area residents, Belmont County officials express their opinions on Dunham’s Sports and Hampton Inn & Suites coming to the Ohio Valley Mall

T-L Photo/MIRANDA SEBROSKI Dunham’s Sports will be coming to the Ohio Valley Mall in 2019 and will take the spot where K-Mart once was. The retailer will cater to those who have a love of exercise, camping, and much more.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — With new businesses set to come to the Ohio Valley Mall, Belmont County officials said they are excited about the benefits they will bring.

The mall announced its newest additions, Dunham’s Sports and Hampton Inn & Suites, last week. Joe Bell, spokesman for mall parent Cafaro Co., said the businesses will provide more options to those visiting the mall. The two additions will soon be under construction, and Bell said mall-goers should expect Dunham’s to be open in the second half of 2019 while Hampton Inn will open its doors in 2020.

Dunham’s Sports is a retailer that caters to anyone who needs exercise equipment, sports items and athletic clothes. It features items for those who love to camp, hunt, and fish as well.

Other nearby Dunham’s locations are in Moundsville and in New Philadelphia, Ohio, at the New Towne Mall.

Dunham’s at the Ohio Valley Mall will be located in the space previously occupied by Kmart. That area originally opened as a Montgomery Ward store in the 1970s.

“It’s good news. It’s good that they’re able to get a business into the mall to fill some of the void that Kmart left,” Belmont County Commissioner Josh Meyer said. “We’d rather see the mall filling up rather than department stores having to leave.”

Commissioner J.P Dutton agrees and said he feels as if this development will help the county grow and bring in new people.

“I think it’s just a great sign of the continued growth in that part of the county,” Dutton said. “There’s been a lot of publicity nationwide on some of the struggles with big box retail space, and in this case it’s great to see a new tenant in one of the spaces at the Ohio Valley Mall, along with the Hampton Inn.

“I think they’re both going to be great additions to the mall area, to Belmont County, and we look forward to further announcements in the future.”

Commissioner Jerry Echemann said he hopes Dunham’s thrives at the mall since the world of online shopping has been taking over the market.

“It’s a very tough environment for those who deal in sporting goods. Dick’s Sporting Goods is having a lot of trouble right now due to competition from Amazon,” Echemann said. “Let’s hope that Dunham’s will operate and be successful in Belmont County, and I’m sure that they can.”

Some local residents are pleased about the planned changes, too. James Lucey, a St. Clairsville resident and mall shopper, said he is excited about the announcement of Dunham’s opening at the mall. He said that he enjoys fishing as a hobby and plans many camping trips with his family.

“We could go to Walmart or travel somewhere else, but it will be nice to have that kind of stuff located in one place,” Lucey said. “I know that there are a lot of useful camping supplies at Dunham’s from when I went to the one in Moundsville. I always plan multiple camping trips with my family throughout the year, so I am always looking for stuff to make our experience better.”

Hampton Inn is a branch of Hilton Hotels and will be located between Dunham’s and AMC Classic Ohio Valley Mall 11 Theatre. The hotel will be four stories high with 113 guest rooms and suites for patrons to choose from.

“It’s nice we’re getting a lot of hotels in Belmont County, and people who stay at our hotels will, I’m sure, frequent the mall. Especially this hotel,” Dutton said. “It’s going to be particularly close to the mall. That’ll help the restaurants close to the mall. It’s situated close to the mall, and I think that’s going to hopefully bring more business into Belmont County.”

Margaret Lishman, a Wheeling resident, said that while it will is good that these developments will bring more business to the area, she does not feel as if another hotel is needed.

“We already have hotels near the mall,” she said. “I’m not sure that we really needed another since there are already multiple places to stay. In the future, I would like to see more fun things for people to do around the area.”

Staff Writer Robert Defrank contributed to this report.