Big R employee Crystal Zamiatowski, of Burlington, works in the women’s clothing department Tuesday in preparation for the store’s opening on Wednesday. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Retailer helps revive moribund shopping center

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

Big R opened its Burlington store – the first in Wisconsin – Wednesday morning and effectively injected new life into what had been a languishing shopping center.

Big R Stores owner Joda Crabtree said Tuesday he believes area shoppers will be happy with the store that occupies the former Kmart building in the Fox River Plaza at 1058 Milwaukee Avenue.

“I think they’ll be rather surprised with the depth of our product offering,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything.”

The store – which Crabtree called a “hybrid” of the Kohl’s, Walmart, Tractor Supply Co. and Menards stores that also have a Burlington address and compete for the same shoppers – hosted a Family and Friends Preview night on Tuesday. Members of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce were invited to get a sneak peek of the store prior to its official opening Wednesday morning.

Crabtree called this week’s unveiling a soft opening designed to give the new employees their first exposure to working with actual customers. A grand opening is planned for Oct. 27 through 29 during which daily promotions and sales will be offered, he said.

See Thursday’s edition of the Burlington Standard Press for the full story about the store opening and it’s perceived impact on the community.