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MATTOON -- Harbor Freight Tools plans to open a store in part of the former Staples building, possibly by early next year.

Code Enforcement Official Matt Frederick said the city staff recently approved the building and sign permit for a Harbor Freight to fill the west side of the vacant Staples building, 1201 Charleston Ave. East.

Frederick said the tool store will occupy approximately 14,000 of the building's 24,049 square feet of floor space and utilize this facility's existing loading dock. He said Harbor Freight plans to start remodeling its portion of the building on Monday and open the store as soon as six weeks from then.

Harbor Freight, based in Calabasas, Calif., reports at www.harborfreight.com that it specializes in offering low prices by purchasing its stock of more than 7,000 tools and accessories directly from factories. The company started in 1977 and has grown to operating approximately 700 stores nationwide.

The planned Mattoon store is already listed as "coming soon" on Harbor Freight's website. The next nearest Harbor Freight store is in Urbana.

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Staples had opened its Mattoon store in fall 1998 in the then newly constructed building at 1201 Charleston Ave. East. Staples closed the Mattoon store on Oct. 8 as part of a series of store closures throughout the country.

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Frederick said the city staff has fielded inquiries from interested retailers about the remainder of the former Staples building and other commercial locations in Mattoon.

The code enforcement official added that the city staff recently approved a sign permit for Planet Fitness to open a location in part of the former Wal-Mart building at 301 Richmond Ave. East. Frederick said this new fitness center is slated to open sometime early next year.

New Mercy Worship Center moved out of the planned Planet Fitness site this fall and is now located in the former Pepsi bottling plant building at 1200 Moultrie Ave.

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Reporter

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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