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Ollie’s Bargain Outlet will open at the Lawrence Shopping Center

Ollie's Bargain Outlet, which sells closeout merchandise and excess inventory from major manufacturers, is joining the list of businesses opening their doors at the Lawrence Shopping Center.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, which sells closeout merchandise and excess inventory from major manufacturers, is joining the list of businesses opening their doors at the Lawrence Shopping Center.

A banner proclaiming “Coming Soon, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet” has been placed atop the vacant storefront next to Staples.

When Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opens later this year, it will be one of more than 400 stores in the chain and spread across 28 states.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet has set a tentative opening date in late October for the store at the shopping center at 2695 Brunswick Pike. The chain opened its first store in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1982.

The closest Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is at the Independence Plaza shopping center on S. Broad Street in Hamilton Township. Independence Plaza and the Lawrence Shopping Center are owned by real estate investor JJ Operating Inc., which is based in New York City.

The merchandise at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet ranges from housewares to sporting goods to flooring and food, according to the chain’s website at www.ollies.us. If a manufacturer makes too much of an item or changes the packaging, the chain will buy the overstocked or old packaged items.

When companies are liquidated, the banks will often sell the remaining inventories and turn them into cash. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet will buy the goods back and pass the savings on to the customer, the website said.

“You will always find famous brand name products at Ollie’s, but a lot of them could be last year’s colors, patterns or packaging that traditional retailers won’t sell,” the website said.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet sells furniture such as chairs, tables, lamps and bookcases, plus hardware, power tools and hand tools, and paint and home repair supplies from brands that range from Coleman, 3M and Stanley to Ameriwood and Symbol Mattress.

Clothing and outerwear from Fruit of the Loom, Gildan and Hanes, as well as suitcases and luggage, can be found at Ollie’s. The chain sells electronics, too, that range from smartphone and computer accessories to tablets, alarm clocks and calculators from major brands.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet will join a string of stores that have opened – or are nearing their opening date – at the Lawrence Shopping Center in recent months. Only a handful of vacant storefronts are left.

Lidl, the German-based no-frills grocery store chain, opened in June in part of the space formerly occupied by ACME Markets.

Five Below, which sells everything from room decorations, clothing and toys and games at prices between $1 and $5, opened last month.

Starbucks and Aspen Dental are slated to move into the former Wells Fargo bank building across the parking lot. The businesses’ signs have been installed, and renovation work is nearing completion.

New Jersey Camera, the Cafe du Pain bakery and Plato’s Closet, which sells second-hand clothing for teens and young adults, were among the first to open in the revitalized Lawrence Shopping Center in the past couple of years.

The Dollar Tree discount store, which opened in August 2020, moved across the street from its former location on Brunswick Pike. It is next door to the Auto Zone automotive parts store that also opened for business around the same time.

The Island Sports Bar and Grill opened in late 2020 in the former Fusion House restaurant space. Next door is the Heavenly Hounds dog training business.

City Electric Supply, which is a wholesale electric supply company, occupies the space that used to house the R&S Strauss auto supply store in the same building as Island Sports Bar and Grill and Heavenly Hounds.

Princeton eBikes, which sells electric bicycles, has also opened its doors. Princeton eBikes donates its profits to the Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, which has a site on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township.

The LA Fitness gym is planned for the former Huffman Koos furniture store, which was demolished in January 2020 to make way for the construction of the gym. Construction has been stalled. The Lawrence Township Planning Board extended site plan approval for the project until Oct. 15.

There are a handful of vacant storefronts, and signs advertising their availability have been taped to the storefront windows.

The 393,430-square-foot Lawrence Shopping Center was purchased by JJ Operating Inc. for $16.2 million in December 2016.

The prior owner, wbcmt 2007-c33 Brunswick Pike LLC, acquired the shopping center at a Mercer County sheriff’s sale in 2013. Lawrence Center LLC, which owned the shopping center, defaulted on a $39.5 million loan, which led to the sheriff’s sale to satisfy the debt.

The Lawrence Shopping Center, which opened in 1960, was the first major shopping center in Lawrence Township. It consisted of 150,000 square feet and 13 stores.

The Lawrence Shopping Center underwent expansions and renovations several times between 1966 and 1997.

Among the original stores at the Lawrence Shopping Center were W.T. Grant, which was a 5- and 10-cent store; the Rexall drug store; Dunham’s department store; the Pantry Pride grocery store and Lawrence Liquors, according to records on file at the Lawrence Township Tax Assessor’s Office.

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