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K-Mart to Collins Crossing

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - (CBS2/FOX28)  Questions about whether anything could ever fill the massive space left behind when K-Mart closed its doors on Collins Road NE have quickly been replaced by passersby pointing to the "Opening Soon" signs along the road and asking " How soon? " 

The 150,000-square-foot retail space won't be vacant for long. Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Fresh market and Shoe Carnival are among the national retailers moving in. Crews are working at a frantic pace and some of the stores could open in a matter of months.

Laurel Williams is watching the progress through her front window.  She and her husband own Great Harvest Bread Company, a store filled with incredible fresh baked goods including breads and desserts. It promotes natural, no chemical foods made from grain that is milled right on site.

Laurel says for right now the growing pains will hurt, " In the short term it's a little bit awkward for people to get in right now. "  A chain link construction fence surrounds the new Collins Crossing Shopping Center and Laurel says that has cut access and business by probably one third, " But the long term is fantastic for us. Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Shoe Carnival, a Fresh Market .. these are exactly the customers we expect to be interested in our bread."

Collins Crossing is just the latest marriage of timing and opportunity for the area that includes the "Burrito-fication In Progress" sign across the street for the new Chipolte restaurant. Skogman Commercial Real Estate Broker and city council member Scott Olson says it's retail success that comes after years of recruiting.

Olson says there are scores of cities chasing after Hobby Lobby, Shoe Carnival and others. He says that's why city leaders have actually gone to the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention to try to reel them in. This year's convention is next week and city leaders plan to be there again. They have a list of nearly 20 other national retailers they would love to bring to Cedar Rapids, " They have so many opportunities to build what few stores they build and it's important that you're there saying please consider Cedar Rapids and we'd love to have you here and you need to do that face to face . "

Hobby Lobby already has stores in Iowa, including one in Coralville and another in Bettendorf that occupies part of a former K-Mart. Some of the stores now under construction at Collins Crossing could open by late summer.  




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