Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
HomeGoods set to open

By Howard French
Journal Inquirer
April 11, 2005

Massachusetts-based TJX Companies Inc. has set Thursday, April 21 for the grand opening of its "side-by-side" format new store at Vernon's Tri City Plaza.

The expanded store, which opens at 9:30 a.m., is actually two stores: a TJ. Maxx apparel and accessories store and an adjacent HomeGoods store selling home furnishings and accessories, according to a statement from Alex Smith, senior executive vice president and group president of TJX Companies.

"We know that our customers are time pressed and looking for shopping destinations that meet multiple needs," Smith said. "By providing easy access between our two stores, we are able to offer our customers a truly one-stop shopping experience for all their apparel and home fashion needs," he added.

There are two openings in the wall separating the two stores, allowing a free-flow of customers from one to the other, according to Smith, who said the two stores share a common customer service desk and checkout area. Each store has about 25,000 square feet of floor space, and the combined stores will employ a total of 110 full- and part-time workers, he said.

Smith also said each store has its charitable side as well. The T.J. Maxx store will join its siblings around the country in contributing money and gifts to the Save the Children organizations, he said, while the HomeGoods store will be joining that chain's program that donates money to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, he said.

In addition to T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods stores, TJX Companies also operates Marshalls, A.J. Wright, and Bob's clothing stores in the U.S., as well as Winners and HomeSense outlets in Canada, and the T.K. Maxx chain in England and Ireland.

TJX Companies disclosed last fall plans to expand into the former Adams Super Food Store, at the south end of Tri-City Plaza. TJX already operates a TJ Maxx store next to the former Adams grocery store, which closed in 2003.

It is the second significant piece in a major resurgence of the Tri-City Plaza, where New York-based Price Chopper Supermarkets opened one of its largest stores in the former Ames Department Store last December.

The supermarket, which brought with it at least 275 jobs, occupies 99,000 square feet in the former Ames space as well as the space where some smaller adjacent shops were housed.

The former Ames building had been vacant since October 2002, when Ames went out of business.

Based in Schenectady, N.Y., the family-owned Price Chopper company has 106 stores in six states — the largest number, 67, in its home state of New York. The Price Chopper chain also operates Connecticut stores in Bristol, Southington, Torrington, and Waterbury.

Tri-City Plaza officials also are working to replace two other stores that closed in recent months.

In March, its only book store — Wordz/Buck-a-Book — announced its closing after a liquidation sale. Buck-a-Book, based in North Dighton, Mass., is closing seven of its 15 stores, five in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut, where it also is closing its Cheshire store in addition to the Vernon outlet, according to a company statement.

Tri-City Plaza also lost an Old Navy store in 2004 when that chain moved its outlet to The Shops at Evergreen Walk, in South Windsor.

T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods are subsidiaries of TJX Companies Inc., based in Framingham, Mass.

TJX stock ended the trading day Friday at $24.18 per share, down 14 cents per share. That was behind its 52-week high of $26.82 per share, but ahead of its 52-week low of $20.64 per share.

Home Goods
Irena Pastorello / Journal Inquirer
The HomeGoods store next to T.J. Maxx in Vernon's Tri City Plaza is scheduled to open April 21.