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Store to furnish 40 to 50 jobs

July 15, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

A Value City Furniture store will open in the former Best showroom on Wesel Boulevard by mid-November, bringing 40 to 50 new jobs to the area, a company official said Monday.

Hiring for the positions - all full-time and paying above minimum wage - should begin within the next 30 to 45 days to allow ample time for training, said Gary R. Tittle, the company's senior vice president for operations.

"We'll start as soon as we know the exact opening date," said Tittle, who said the company has been waiting for building permits to start work on the building.

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Pay will depend on the type of job, he said. Positions will include professional, sales, clerical and delivery, he said.

While he wouldn't give a salary range, Tittle said the Value City Furniture chain, owned by Columbus, Ohio-based Schottenstein Stores Corporation, pays "very well for a retail business."

The privately held corporation also owns Value City Department Stores, which has stores in Chambersburg, Pa., and Frederick, Md., Tittle said.

The Hagerstown store at 1581 Wesel Blvd. will be the first Value City Furniture store in Western Maryland, Tittle said.

In addition to pay above the minimum wage, all employees will receive "a lot of benefits," including vacation, medical, dental, vision and a 401K plan, he said.

Value City Furniture has had a long-time interest in opening a Hagerstown store, Tittle said.

"We feel that Hagerstown will be a very good area for us," he said.

The 51,000-square-foot Wesel Boulevard building, built by Best Products Co. in early 1994, offered a perfect spot for a Value City Furniture "superstore," featuring about 200 fully decorated room settings, Tittle said.

The store will sell furniture, area rugs and home accessories such as lamps, pictures and table-top items, he said.

He said the company guarantees the lowest price on all its merchandise.

The furniture store has a 50-year lease on the building, owned by Stoneridge Development Corporation of Hagerstown, said Stoneridge owner Bob Bricker.

Bricker said there had been a lot of interest in the building because of its prime location on Wesel Boulevard and reasonable rent.

Schottenstein Stores Corp. had first choice on the lease because its related liquidation company, Schottenstein Bernstein Capital LLC, purchased Best Products Co.'s building leases last October, after that company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, he said.

Best closed its Hagerstown catalog showroom, which employed 55 full- and part-time workers, in early February.

There has been an official agreement with Value City Furniture since May 23, Bricker said.

Neither he nor Tittle would disclose the rent.

The building will receive a complete makeover before the new Value City Furniture opens, Tittle said.

"The only thing we'll keep is the outside shell. It will have a whole new front. It won't look like the Best store anymore," he said.

The store is expected to be staffed and ready to open by mid-November, Tittle said.

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