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Retailer hhgregg moving into former Circuit City location in JC

Jeff Keeling • May 26, 2009 at 12:00 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Electronics and appliance retailer hhgregg should be open in the former Circuit City store at 3211 Peoples St. by sometime in September, bringing 40 to 50 jobs to Johnson City, a company official said Tuesday.

“An end of August, September opening is what we’re shooting for,” hhgregg Vice President of Marketing Jeff Pearson said Tuesday.

The arrival of hhgregg — which sells Serta mattresses in addition to electronics and appliances — will mark a quick reoccupation of the 28,000-square-foot Circuit City location, which closed early this year after that company liquidated all its stores in a bankruptcy.

Pearson said the 111-store hhgregg, established in Indianapolis in 1955, is cautiously assessing opportunities at former Circuit City stores.

“We’re certainly looking at every opportunity right now,” Pearson said. “A lot of it depends on if we’re in a market where we’re doing the advertising and we feel like there’s a good opportunity for us to have construction and (occupy) a previous Circuit City location.”

The company has not been advertising in the Tri-Cities, but Pearson said Johnson City already was on hhgregg’s radar prior to Circuit City’s quick demise this past winter.

“We were definitely looking at Johnson City. We think it’s a great place for us to be, and we feel like we compete very well with Best Buy, with Sears, with Lowe’s and with Home Depot,” Pearson said.

Kingsport also had a Circuit City store.

Pearson said the company will have a job fair a couple months before the store opens, which will be posted in advance under the “careers” section at hhgregg.com. Positions will include management, sales associates, customer service and warehouse staff. Pearson said former Circuit City employees ought to have a decent shot at employment.

“We want to interview as many people as possible and see who’s going to be the best fit for our culture and best serve the consumers, but we certainly want to find some people who have an understanding of consumers in that market,” he said.

A commissioned sales force is one thing that sets hhgregg apart from competitors with primarily wage-based salespeople, Pearson said, adding that the company offers both a price and “advice” guarantee.

“We feel that they are better educated and assist consumers to find what they’re looking for that meets their needs,” he said. “We do think we offer a different shopping experience.”

The stores offer large and small appliances, televisions, home stereo equipment, laptop computers, digital cameras and more. Unlike Best Buy, they do not carry desktop computers, compact discs or DVDs.

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