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Ring out the old, ring in the new

Some stores closing while others get ready to open

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Ring out the old, ring in the new

Meryvn's final day in business in Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED December 27, 2008 1:57 a.m.

Cash registers at the Manteca Mervyn’s are  silent.

The store — which opened in 1991 as “the place” to shop for clothes in Manteca — is a victim of slumping sales in the rough economy. Some contend Mervyn’s — along with Wal-Mart’s clothing department — helped hasten the end of downtown clothing stores such as MARS Department Store, Brown Mahin Department Store, Jo-sel’s, and a host of specialty clothes selling everything from shoes to dresses.

That leaves Kohl’s as the 900-pound gorilla in soft goods in Manteca — at least for three or four months. That’s when the new 103,000 square-foot JC Penney store is tentatively targeting an opening in The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that’s anchored by Bass Pro Shops. JC Penney’s store is more than 42,000 square feet bigger than the Mervyn’s store. It represents roughly a $10 million investment in the overall construction of the store.

It might seem a bit odd given the struggling retail sector that JC Penney is moving forward as is Best Buy, which is also locating in the lifestyle center. But companies in a strong position are strengthening their share of the market. Kohl’s, as an example, is buying 15 of the Mervyn’s stores that are closing.

It also speaks volumes about the confidence that large retail concerns have in the overall Northern San Joaquin Valley economy and specifically the Manteca market.

Mervyn’s isn’t the only retailer closing or struggling in Manteca. But the market’s attraction — an average household income of $62,000 — means that when the dust settles on the housing mess that retailers expected strong, steady growth to continue.

A new shopping center is even breaking ground — Woodbridge Shopping Center —in early 2009 on the northeast corner of Union Road and Lathrop Road.

The city’s fourth McDonald’s is going in as part of a Boyett Petroleum convenience store and gas service — probably under the Valero brand name — that will include the fast food operation under the same roof. It is similar to the Chevron station in Ripon that has a Jack-in-the-Box under the same roof as well as the oil company’s Extra Mile convenience store.

Prime Shine Car Wash — which has a Modesto location — also will break ground in early 2009 as part of the 53,100 square feet of overall retail being pursued by Art Nunes and Bill Filios kitty corner across from the Raley’s Union Square Shopping Center.

They are currently trying to secure a separate freestanding sit-down restaurant. In addition, plans call for three buildings with in-line retail space of 13,700, 10,500 and 7,800 square feet. The in-line space will be built as the market dictates.

They have also inked a deal to house one of CVS Drugs’ first California stores being built from the ground up. The new CVS Drug Store will have 13,000 square feet.

The sluggish economy has slowed down some retail plans.

The land has been bought and plans approved for the Lowe’s Home Improvement Center proposed for the northeast corner of the Highway 120 Bypass and Airport Way interchange. The project includes 28,000 additional square feet including Manteca’s second Walgreen’s drug store. Construction has been delayed due to the economy.

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