In addition to moving to a new space along First Avenue in Newton, Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto department store will expand its selection of merchandise to customers and has been approved for an economic development grant of $ 50,000 and funding through a five-year tax increase (TIF) remitted with the city.
Chris Theisen, CEO and president of Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto, said the store will grow from an approximately 20,000 square foot space to a 54,000 square foot building. Theisen said the current store – which opened in 2006 – will remain operational until staff are ready to move into the new building.
At the December 6 council meeting, the city was allowed to change its urban renewal plan for the East-Mart Urban Renewal Zone, which enabled the grant and property tax refunds to Theisen Real Estate, LLC for its redevelopment project. The new department store will be located at 3021 First Ave. E.
Currently operating at 3362 US Highway 6 E. in Newton, the store technically resides outside of the city limits. The move will place the retailer directly in the south building currently occupied by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which is within the city limits. Theisen is excited to move.
“We look forward to offering (customers) additional products and services to meet their needs and lifestyle,” he said.
When the building’s previous owners chose not to renew their lease, Theisen said he contacted his Dubuque-based company, which had expressed interest in the property about 10 years ago. With its greater space and visibility to First Avenue commuters, the building served as an ideal location for a retailer.
The company officially closed the building on November 1. Theisen told Newton News in a telephone interview on December 14 that the property was undergoing renovations and had undergone extensive interior demolitions to free up the offices. The company is also removing floors and plans to add a new roof and a new HVAC system.
“We’ll try to do this stuff over the winter months,” Theisen said. “When the weather warms up, we can tackle the outside, which is really in pretty good shape. There really are no significant additions or changes to the facade other than cleaning it up and making it look like a Theisen store.
Supply chain shortages can affect the project schedule. Theisen said a shortage of devices – which are needed to display the goods – could delay those installations until the third quarter of 2022. The company’s goal is to open by the end of the third quarter, but Theisen noted that there was nothing set in stone.
SHOP UNTIL YOU FALL
The current location is limited on the products it offers. Theisen said that most of the departments of the new store will expand not only the physical space, but also the product offering; in particular, clothes and shoes. With the additional space, Theisen expects customers to have access to the store’s full range.
“We are going to develop sporting goods considerably,” he said. “We’re just very, very limited in what we can do in the store (now). Seasonal shelves inside the store or during lawn and garden season, we’re going to do a lot more with a greenhouse and parking there.
The expansion will also improve the store’s ability to display products correctly. Currently, some inventory items are only available by special order, which Theisen says is directly caused by space restrictions.
“We won’t have that anymore with the expanded store,” he said.
LET’S MAKE A MARKET
As part of the development agreement, Theisen Real Estate agreed to a minimum valuation of $ 1.5 million in return for the $ 50,000 grant and TIF discounts that would pay off 100 percent of the increase that could be legally remitted in the first three years, then 65 percent in the fourth year. and 60 percent in the fifth year.
Tax refunds in the agreement are not to exceed $ 210,000, according to city documents. Currently, Theisen department store is valued at $ 771,160; when the project is completed, its assessed value will have almost doubled. The grant, which required an individual match, is intended to improve attractiveness.
Newton Mayor Mike Hansen told council members on December 6 that he was excited about the move. The community is also talking about it and what the expansion will offer customers, he said. Council member Evelyn George agreed and said it was exciting for everyone in Jasper County.
“It will be exciting to have more offers in our riding,” she said.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]