Sawmill Shops Filling Up Fast

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Two thirds of the retail space in Sawmill Crossing's main entertainment-shopping complex is now contractually occupied.

The ink is dry on six lease contracts, said Paul Peterson, corporate counsel for the property's developer and owner, Kaibab Industries.

In addition to the six-screen Sawmill Theatres, which opened for business in late November, the tenants will include:

Rim Country Kids Fran and George Yates, owners of the Payson toy store since 1995, plan to relocate their establishment from the Swiss Village to Sawmill Crossing by the end of this month. "With a hope and a prayer," George said, the store will hold its grand reopening in mid-February.

The store will gain 400 square feet in the move. The new store will provide Rim Country Kids with 2,000 square feet for an expanded line of toys and gifts.

"We'll get possession (of the new space) on the 26th or 27th of this month, and then there's the fun of moving," Yates said. "There's a prospective tenant who is chomping at the bit to get into (our Swiss Village space), so it's going to be one of those hasty transitions."

Mountain Respiratory Care Moving to the Sawmill Crossing complex, said manager and respiratory therapist Mark Nelson, will provide "better access for our patients, better parking, and quite a bit more room for us. Now we have 800 square feet, and we're moving up to 1,700. It'll be nice, because we've increased our patient count by quite a bit."

Most of that new space, Nelson said, will be filled by new employees and equipment when the business makes its move in mid-February.

"I'm expecting to really increase our walk-throughs for oxygen and respiratory services, wheelchairs, walkers, splints, crutches and all types of medical supplies," he said. "We'll be able to have more of a display there to take advantage of the storefront."

State Farm Insurance Owner Daryl Brende, a six-month resident of Payson, plans to move from his temporary North Beeline office Feb. 1 to 1,000 square feet in Sawmill Crossing.

Created in 1922 as a mutual automobile insurance company owned by its policyholders, State Farm is now a full-service insurance franchise with 27 regional offices and more than 1,000 claim service centers. The company employs 76,500 people and has more than 16,000 agents servicing 66.2 million policies in the United States and Canada. This will be Payson's second State Farm office.

Marble Slab Creamery Founded in October 1983 in Houston, Texas, this ice cream and dessert franchise will be owned and operated by the Tonto Apache Tribe.

Marble Slab, according to the corporation's Internet Web site, sells freshly-baked waffle cones, available in a variety of flavors ranging from vanilla cinnamon to dark chocolate with butterfinger. The cones are filled with homemade, "superpremium" ice cream in flavors ranging from chocolate and strawberry to more exotic tastes such as cheesecake, chocolate Amaretto and butter pecan. The ice cream is blended with the customer's choice of "mixins" on a frozen marble slab.

Also offered will be other dessert alternatives, including nonfat frozen yogurt, smoothies, shakes and malts, sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes and pies, homemade cookies and brownies and fresh-baked apple pie.

Stockmen's Bank This new-to-Payson financial center will take up temporary residence in the main building in mid-February, and that's where it will stay until a new, free-standing bank is built on one of four commercial pads on the Main Street and Beeline Highway perimeters of the property.

Incorporated in 1979, Stockmen's Bank made its first transaction Aug. 21, 1980, in Kingman, Ariz. The majority of its organizers were local residents wanting to supply hometown-based banking services to their neighbors.

In the course of its 21-year history, reports the company's Web site, Stockmen's has grown to one of the most successful and largest state-chartered banks. It now serves Arizona with 19 locations across the state, and has eight locations in the San Joaquin Valley of California. In keeping with the bank's tradition, each branch is operated on the local level, with local decision-making.

In addition to these businesses, Peterson said, "(Kaibab is) also in negotiations with a national deli-submarine sandwich franchise that's looking like a pretty sure thing."

Set on 14 acres south of Main Street and west of the Beeline Highway, Sawmill Crossing will, in its first phase, include three buildings on 7.5 acres of the northern portion of the parcel. It will include the theaters and nearly 30,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Additionally, two of three pad sites along the Beeline where Stockmen's Bank will be built and one on Main are on the market.

The remaining five acres will be developed as phase two of the project "sometime in the near future," Gordon Whiting, vice president of Kaibab Industries, Inc., said late last year.

Sawmill Theatres, the mall's business anchor "has been doing quite well," Peterson said. "During the holidays it performed way above expectations, and it's been performing at or above expectations since then.

"We've been very happy with it; we've gotten a good response from the community, and it's been a pleasure to operate."

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