Clovis business boom

Hastings associates make the final preparations Sunday night for their grand opening, which was Monday. CNJ staff photo: Ben Kessler

By Jack King

Clovis’ newest business is off to a good start.
“I called headquarters (in Amarillo) on the phone and people couldn’t believe it,” said Jessica Ririe, who helps set up new Hastings stores. “We had 50 people here at 9 a.m. and now we’ve got at least that many in the music department alone,” she said about 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
The 24,400-square-foot store at 2001 North Prince St., which opened on Monday, offers books, music, video tapes and cassettes, video games, software and boutique items that include calendars. An espresso cafe and “comfy” chairs invite customers to sit and sample the books and magazines. Ririe said the company’s mission statement is to be “the entertainment leader is small-town America.”
Ririe said Hastings had a small store in North Plains Mall a few years ago, which it closed for a variety of reasons. It wasn’t until the company “did the numbers” that it decided to come back to Clovis in a big way, she said.
“We figured it would be a really good town and, as you can see, we were right,” she said.
Hastings isn’t the only new store on the street.
Mike Duguid, manager of Lowe’s home improvement store at 3601 North Prince St., which plans to open for business Friday, said his company is counting on a growing Clovis economy.
“We look five years down the road. Obviously, this town is a very up and coming, growing town. I believe Lowe’s saw a market here,” Duguid said.
Lowe’s 95,000-square-foot building, plus a 2,400-square-foot lawn and garden center, has 35,000 items. In addition to lumber, nails, nuts and bolts, Lowe’s boasts flooring, carpeting and tile, as well as lamps, ceiling fixtures and a full line of home appliances including refrigerators, washers, and dryers.
“If you go to Lubbock or Amarillo and see the number of New Mexico plates in the parking lots there, I do believe it shows there’s a market in this area for a store like ours,” he said.
Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., said there’s a reason consumer products chains such as Lowe’s and Hastings take notice of a town like Clovis.
“I think if you look at the growth pattern, it’s put us on the radar screen,” he said. “The microplex designation, with Curry and Roosevelt counties combined, has generated some new numbers that companies have come back and looked at. Also, the (incoming) cheese plant is a big ‘anchor.’ Anytime you have a project that size people will look at the future and anticipate the growth it generates,” he said.
But, Gentry added, the stores provide their own benefits for the community.
“From my perspective, they strengthen our quality of life. They provide more variety,” he said.
Lowe’s will hold a special “family night” for its employees and a “board cutting” — as opposed to a ribbon cutting — which city officials are invited to attend at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before opening for the public Friday.