MATTOON -- The Rural King company has formally announced its acquisition of the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.
Brian Hutchins, vice president of business development for Rural King, said in a press release that Rural King plans to move its Store Support Center home office into the old Sears building, at the east end of the mall. He said about 250 associates will work at the mall and this number will grow significantly over time. He said the move is expected to occur no sooner than the fall of 2018.
Rural King's home office is currently located in the same facility as the company's Mattoon Store No. 1 and its Mattoon Distribution Center at 4216 DeWitt Ave., on the west side of town. Hutchins said the store and distribution center will remain where they are now.
"We do not plan on operating a store in the mall or on the east side of town anytime soon," Hutchins said. "It is our hope that our Charleston and Mattoon stores serve the customers on the east side of Mattoon well already."
Hutchins said Rural King will serve as the landlord for all mall tenants, as well as the Alamo, Taco Bell and the strip center just west of Taco Bell. He said all tenants and their leases will remain in place as per the terms and conditions of the respective leases. He said Rural King plans on continuing to host events that are scheduled at the mall while considering new events in the future.
"We look forward to being their neighbor. We anticipate our patronage on the east side of town will increase sales significantly for several businesses, including the tenants at the mall," Hutchins said. He added that, "We plan on having all vacancies filled as soon as possible, as interest in joining us at the mall has been high."
Rural King Chief Executive Officer Alex Melvin announced on Sept. 28 during a Mattoon Emerging Leaders luncheon that Rural King was interested in purchasing the Cross County Mall, 700 Broadway Ave. East, and moving its home office into part of this shopping center.
Hutchins said Rural King knows that many of its neighbors in the community have been curious since then about the future of the mall. He said company officials have been careful not to comment on the details until they were fully confident Rural King would complete the purchase and become the new owner of the mall. He said they apologize for any anxiety or inconvenience this may have caused.
"The entire Rural King team is fully committed to continuing and enhancing our bond to Coles County and beyond," Hutchins said. "We are humbled by the communities’ overwhelming support over the years, and especially recently, as we have worked through the process of the mall acquisition."
Rural King, which was founded in 1960 in Mattoon, reports that it currently has more than 100 stores in a 12-state area and is continuing to grow. The Cross County Mall was previously owned by Regis Property Management Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas.