Elmore Avenue becoming new center for Davenport business

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Nearly a quarter of the storefronts around NorthPark Mall now sit empty, as new business heads to a new location in Davenport.

Tuesday, Pier 1 Imports held a grand opening at its new, Elmore Avenue location. Pier 1 joined Beauty Brands as the second store at the Elmore Marketplace shopping center being developed by the Heart of America Group.

Store manager Janessa Ensinger said she was excited to leave Pier 1's old Kimberly Road site for a more up-and-coming location.

"Pier 1, as a company, they're always looking and reviewing to see where business is going, and in Davenport, it's all here on Elmore Avenue," said Ensinger. "So, Elmore Marketplace was really the perfect spot for Pier 1 to move to."

The old Pier 1 location now joins a large number of other empty storefronts surrounding NorthPark Mall. On Tuesday, New Eight took an unofficial count of 100 properties around the mall and found that 24 -- nearly a quarter of them -- were vacant.

The "For Sale" signs surrounding the mall are a marked contrast to the abundance of "Coming Soon" signs on Elmore Avenue.

"We're really hoping to see a lot more traffic over here. We're going to be more centrally located for a lot of our customers who are maybe over in Bettendorf, and our Illinois customers too," said Ensinger.

Carter's and DSW appear next in line to open at Elmore Marketplace, and online jobs postings show the Banana Republic Factory Store and Charming Charlie's are already hiring. Gap, Lane Bryant and a Holiday Inn and Suites will join the shopping center later this year as well.

"It'll be nice to come shopping here a lot more. I'm excited for DSW and baby Gap clothes," said Megan Sharer as she shopped at Pier 1 Tuesday.

The $35 million development of Elmore Marketplace is also expected to create a couple hundred permanent jobs.

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