Goodwill decides to leave struggling shopping center for more visibility, better design

February 21, 2010 

A sign on the window of Buf's in Beaufort lets customers know the trophy shop is moving out of the shopping center on Salem Road on March 1. Goodwill's retail store also plans to move, at which time the center would be empty.

JONATHAN DYER/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE — Jonathan Dyer/The Beaufort Gazette

Goodwill recently received final design approval from the city of Beaufort for a new 14,447-square-foot store at 137 Parris Island Gateway, near the Crossings of Beaufort, and plans to start construction in April, a project representative said last week.

Once the store moves, the strip mall on Salem Road it currently calls home will be empty unless a new tenant moves in in the interim.

Other tenants, including Omni Health and Fitness Center and Dukes Barbecue, left last year. Buf's, which does engraving and sells Boy Scout and Girl Scout supplies, plaques and trophies, plans to relocate to 1111 Boundary St. across from the Boys & Girls Club in early March, owner Buf Bufkin said.

The owners of Dukes Barbecue are listing the part of the building they own for $700,000 or seeking tenants for $3,500 per month, plus a $50,000 down payment, said Jay Kennedy with National Restaurant Properties. He said the roof on the complex was replaced a few months ago.

The rest of the building is for sale for $1.5 million, said Wayne Webb, a broker with Neighborhood Realty, which is listing the property.

"We've had quite a bit of interest but nothing finalized yet," Webb said Thursday. Webb said the owners of the building want to remain anonymous.

Omni moved to Boundary Street in late June.

Goodwill has been on Salem Road for 10 years and had "no interest in staying" as it neared the end of its lease, which is up at the end of the year, said Mike Schmitt, a broker with Southwind Commercial Real Estate, which is representing the Beaufort Goodwill store.

The new building will have a drive-through drop-off, so donors will no longer have to drive to the back to drop off donations, said Sandra H. Cashion, vice president of operations with Piedmont Companies Inc., which provides consulting services for Goodwill retail stores.

"Design is key," Cashion said. "We're so excited about the new building and its prominent location."

Buf's has been at its Salem Road location for 22 years and is moving because it outgrew the space, Bufkin said.

He's seen tenants come and go and said at one point, his was the only store in the complex for 19 months. People either need the products and services Buf's offers or they don't, making high visibility less of a concern, he said.

His new location likely will provide a more "psychologically convenient" location that's easier for people to find.

"When I first came here, Food Lion was here, so I could just say, 'We're next to the Food Lion,' " Bufkin said. "More recently, we had Dukes Barbecue. ... It's getting to where it's not so easy to tell folks."

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