We’re glad to report on the new shops coming to the River Oaks Shopping Center where Kmart closed down several years ago.
It is heartening to already see Hobby Lobby open, Five Below (a very interesting “tweens to teens” store) set to open on June 21, and crews continuing to put finishing touches on several other spaces.
And, of course, we await word of Marshall’s opening day.
Then, even before we went to press Thursday, people were already excited about the news that Eggs Up Grill will be coming to the first of two new spaces created by the River Oaks’ current owners where the Kmart garden center used to be. Apparently, the chain of breakfast and lunch restaurants is popular at its other locations around the state. We know a certain newspaper editor who can’t wait to check it out.
We also learned that Jersey Mike’s (yes, another sub sandwich shop, but variety is the spice of life, right?) and Aspen Dental are coming to the 8,000-square-foot outparcel, along with a third, yet-to-be-named tenant.
This is all great news, especially due to our other front page story about Fred’s pending closure out in east Camden. It is unfortunate when these things happen. We hope both employees and customers will find good alternatives for work and the purchases they were used to there.
Meanwhile, Camden Economic Development Director Suzi Sale reports that a lot of businesses are looking at a lot of sites around the city. These areas include available lots by the new Hampton Inn, which opened June 1, and others near I-20 Exit 98; and others in and around Springdale Plaza.
We are still hopeful that the old Bi-Lo shopping center off West DeKalb and Wylie streets will be revitalized, and that a piece of land next to Lowe’s that was annexed into the city years ago will be developed. We also await more information -- and the sight of work -- at the city’s clock tower building that is set to be converted into a downtown boutique hotel.
On top of all this is a newly announced $300,000 grant to fight commercial blight in the city, which should further revitalize spots in Camden that have been vacant for a long time.
All in all, things are definitely looking up again in Camden after many years of seeming stagnation. We can thank Sale; City Manager Mel Pearson and Assistant City Manager Caitlyn Young and their staff; Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford; and council members Jeffrey Graham, Deborah Davis, Stephen Smoak and Joanna Craig for doing the work necessary to bring new businesses -- and new life -- to the city we call home.