KINGSPORT — The new Kohl’s in Kingsport will help make company history during its grand opening Wednesday.
The location, an anchor store of Kingsport Pavilion at East Stone Drive, Suite 120, is among 95 new stores in the Kohl’s Department Stores chain having grand openings Wednesday, marking the largest number of concurrent grand openings in the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer’s history.
However, some customers couldn’t wait for the grand opening or even the soft opening Sunday.
“During this whole process, customers come to the store,” store manager Joyce Haynie said Friday morning, shortly after a man entered the store ready to shop.
The store grand opening with city officials is set for 7:55 a.m. Wednesday.
The 68,000-square-foot store is about the same size as the Johnson City store but is what Haynie called an innovation store, with wider aisles and other design features to help customers view and find merchandise. After the grand openings, about 200 of 929 Kohl’s stores in 47 states will have the new design.
“The customers that shop Johnson City are excited it’s coming here because they don’t have to travel as far,” Haynie said.
She said the store would employee from 130 to 160 people, a mix of part-time and full-time people. The store is fully staffed, but applications still are being taken for the upcoming holiday shopping season, she said.
Haynie said employees range from mothers and housewives who work around their children’s and family’s schedules to full-time employees with careers in retail.
“I’ve been shopping at Kohl’s stores. I think they have great merchandise, and I thought it would be a great place to work,” said Rhonda Martin of Bristol, Tenn., who will oversee the jewelry sales at Kohl’s and has been in jewelry sales for nine years.
Clothing dominates much of the store, but it offers a variety of other merchandise.
“We actually sell everything for the family,” Haynie said of the store, which offers various lines of clothing, small kitchen appliances, luggage, housewares and holiday items. Brands include Levi’s, Carter’s, Cuisinart, as well as Cahps, ELLE and Candie’s.
Two brands introduced by Kohl’s in September were Simply Vera by Vera Wang and Food Network, including Rachael Ray items.
Haynie has lived in Kingsport about two years and joined Kohl’s in June. He has 30 years of retail experience, including work as a district manager for another retailer.
Kohl’s has one store in Johnson City, about two years old, and four in Knoxville.
Haynie said she couldn’t divulge if Kohl’s was eyeing a Bristol area location but said the retailer was looking to expand in the region.
Haynie said she believes Kohl’s and the overall Pavilion development, which includes a soon-to-open Target as another anchor, will help existing Kingsport retail by keeping and attracting more people here.
The store also offers $5 Kohl’s Cares for Kids plush animals, books and CDs as part of the Kohl’s Cares for Kids program. All proceeds go to benefit children’s charities, which in the Tri-Cities is The Children’s Hospital at Johnson City Medical Center.
Last year, the program generated $16,000 from the Johnson City Kohl’s. Nationwide, the chain has raised more than $85 million through the program.
The Kohl’s Cares program also has a scholarship program for youth volunteerism that awarded $200,000 in 2007 and a Kohl’s A-Team grant program to promote employee volunteerism focused on enriching the lives of children, a program that last year meant almost 58,000 volunteer hours and $1.2 million in grants to nonprofit youth-serving organizations.
The chain also has a fund-raising program in which up to 5 percent of Kohl’s gift card purchases goes back to schools and youth-serving nonprofits.
Store hours, especially during the grand opening and toward the holidays, will vary.
For a list of store locations, hours, online shopping, gift registry and other information go to www.kohls.com.