Rim Country Mall Becomes Place To Work Out, Shop, Snack

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The Rim Country Mall, located at the site of the former Wal-Mart, is taking shape with increasing tenancy.

According to mall owner George Harrison, as he continues to bring more tenants, business improves for all the stores in his mall.

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Owner Janell Holzwarth brings her customers an incredible shopping experience -- from log beds to rustic looking bookends -- at her East Verde Trading Company, located inside the Rim Country Mall.

"They feed off one another," Harrison said.

The next store to open will be the woman's clothing store that many are anticipating.

"It's going to be more upscale woman's clothing," Harrison said. "Something comparable to the Gap."

At about 3,000 square feet, the store will carry clothing, accessories, and shoes for women seeking an alternative to Wal-Mart.

It's anchor store, Sears, has benefited from the increased occupancy.

"This location has been great," Sears owner Ana Jenkins said.

Jenkins and her husband, Don, took over the store in November.

"We get very good exposure being in the mall," Jenkins said. "It's the only mall in town."

Best selling items, according to Jenkins, have been washers and dryers.

"Sears is really good at standing behind the customer. They go above and beyond," Jenkins said.

Payson Athletic Club, which relocated to the Rim Country Mall 10 months ago, has enjoyed its expanded space.

"Things have gone really well for us," manager Keven Rush said. "Our membership has increased dramatically and a big reason for this is that with having a larger facility, we've been able to offer a lot more services."

PAC offers members free personal training, childcare, and an expanded range of classes such as aerobics, yoga, body sculpting and Pilates.

Other classes are geared towards seniors such as a new senior stretch class, Sit & Fit, and Oxycise which instructs students on breathing methods that increase metabolism.

When members are done working out, they can go to the club's juice bar, Just Makin' Juice. Manager Brooke Varga makes a host of smoothies which can be supplemented with protein mixes, wheatgrass and other dietary supplements. Back to Basics health food store has been instrumental, according to Rush, in overseeing the juice bar and providing the fresh juices that are used in their concoctions.

Walking through the mall's main entrance takes you straight to Payson Perk, an espresso shop with a seating area. Payson Perk features several different coffee drinks, as well as scones and homemade baked goods. Payson Perk's owner, Danette Harrison, said that business continues to improve since opening more than a year-and-a-half ago.

Rim Country Cellular has a kiosk which sells cellular service by Verizon Wireless. The satellite store, manned by Mike Desmond, sells phones and some phone accessories, as well as cell service.

Pine Country Outfitters features all the gear for hunting excursions.

Owner Rick Hill also has filled a few niches besides hunting supplies. He calls Pine Country Outfitters an "all round outdoor store." Hill includes "truck toys" such as wenches and tool boxes as part of his inventory, as well as scooters.

"We carry electric scooters," Hill said. "We sold 67 scooters at Christmas."

Hill said business is better than last year as the mall has started filling up.

Wood Floors & More located to the left of Pine Country Outfitters carries a variety of wood flooring as well as tiles to complement.

Further down the mall, a new concept courtesy of Dee Wesley and her daughter, Karen Kolb. An insurance agency that adjoins a gift shop called Danary's Gifts.

Wesley's insurance company, Allstate, use to be located on Zurich.

"We decided we needed a little bigger space and a little more visibility so we moved over here to the mall," Wesley said. "We had a little more square footage so we decided to open Danary's as well."

Wesley and Kolb saw a niche that needed to be filled.

Little Britches, according to owner Christine Marr, has become medium and big britches, too. The store began as a clothing store for infants and children, but as more and more customers came in looking for teenage clothes, Marr began to carry some larger sizes.

"The teens would come in and look disappointed," Marr said, "So I started carrying things for them."

Marr also said that she has had many requests for special occasion clothes like christenings that she can order for customers.

Don and Diane Johnson opened DJ's Bed, Baths & More that carries an assortment of towels, linens and accessories for the home. If a customer needs a particular color of towel or sheet, they can most likely find it at DJ's.

DJ's Bed, Baths & More also will be the location of the JC Penney Catalog Store that should be up and running by the end of March.

Once your bathroom is decorated, you can furnish the rest of the cabin with items in the East Verde Trading Company. Owner Janell Holzwarth started her store as a way to promote the work of local artisans. Her store features furniture and accessories such as antler lamps, log bed frames and willow bark candleholders.

The Rim Country Mall will be having events during the month of April.

According to Dee Wesley, a spring garden show is scheduled for the first weekend with plants featured by Plant Fair Nursery and a local potter will be demonstrating the art of pottery-making with a clay wheel.

The Business Showcase, sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for the last weekend in April. The large tent will be set up in the parking lot in which businesses and local organizations will have an opportunity to show the public what they do.

Harrison also is in discussions with the Payson High School music department about having some concerts at the mall as well as assisting with the cost of uniforms.

As the Rim Country Mall fills up, all the stores are experiencing better patronage. When the heat of summer hits, residents can get some relief while they shop for bath towels, clothing, or a new air conditioner.

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