LIMA — A general merchandise retailer that sells everything from pet supplies and houseware to sporting goods and groceries celebrated its grand opening Wednesday in Lima.
Big R Stores, located at 945 N. Cable Road, opened in the old Wal-Mart building in Lima’s Clocktower Plaza. The 110,000-square-foot facility joins existing businesses such as Planet Fitness, Dollar Tree, Gamestop and Pet Supplies Plus.
“We felt like Lima was our type of town,” Big R Stores Co-Owner Joda Crabtree told The Lima News in August. “There’s a lot of retail there which is good for us because of the regional draw, and we liked the old Wal-Mart building. Just everything about it felt good.”
The Lima location is the first Big R outlet in Ohio, though a Findlay store is set to open in spring. Johnie Skeen, an area manager for Big R, said Wednesday’s grand opening “went very well.” He said a steady stream of customers had been filtering in since 8:30 a.m.
“We’ve had some great customers who have been very receptive,” Skeen said. “We’re glad to be in Ohio.”
With 80,000 items, Big R has a wide variety of products for Lima-area shoppers to choose from. The store sells lawn and garden items, apparel, pet products, sporting goods, houseware, farm supplies, tools, food and more. Many of the products are from name-brand companies such as DeWalt, Milwaukee Tool, Under Armour, Levi Strauss, Cub Cadet and more.
“We pretty much have every category covered, so we’re a one-stop shop for a lot of things,” Crabtree said.
Big R is also pet-friendly, as dogs are welcome to accompany their owners on shopping trips. In the spring, the store will sell baby chicks.
According to Skeen, Big R has the inventory of big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Meijer, but places a greater emphasis on customer service.
“We offer the same kind of selection, but we set ourselves a part because of the people we have in the store,” he said. “We really service the customer.”
Skeen added that, compared to other big box stores, Big R has a more welcoming atmosphere for customers. He described it as “your neighborhood store.”
“It’s just a down-to-Earth store,” he said. “People think of it as a big box store, but it’s not really. Yes, it’s a big store, but it’s got that down-home feeling when you come in.”
Big R Stores has been family owned since it began serving the farm and home community in 1965. The company, now in its second generation of ownership, is headquartered in Watseka, Illinois, and operates 20 stores in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
The Lima store employs 46 workers, but Skeen said the company “is always looking to hire more people.” Those interested in employment may apply online by clicking the ‘careers’ link at BigR.com.
Big R is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.