Payson’s retail scene will look a whole lot different by the end of the year.
Besides a Big Lots opening in the Rim Country Mall, both PetSmart and another undisclosed national retailer have agreed to open operations in Payson, according to the managers of the strip mall.
PetSmart, a specialty pet retailer, will reportedly open smaller stores in both Payson and Nogales, said Andy Seleznov, director of leasing at Larsen Baker, LLC, a Tucson-based development, brokerage and management firm.
Instead of the usual 20,000-square-foot pet food behemoth, Payson’s PetSmart will open with roughly 8,300 square feet.
PetSmart officals said the store will offer a wide assortment of pet products, grooming and training services.
Larsen Baker will turn the empty space, adjacent to Stage, over to PetSmart crews sometime in October.
They will add their own bathrooms, fixtures and nearly everything else, he said.
The store is expected to open sometime early next year, roughly around the same time as Big Lots.
Despite a whirlwind of rumors that Big Lots had backed out, Sleznov said the store is definitely still coming, with the company committed to a 10-year lease.
Construction crews have been busy expanding the shopping center to make room for Big Lots, which required 30,000-square-feet of space.
The discount store will sit next to Stage and stretch around the back into what was the 10,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Payson Athletic Club. The gym closed in April after its lease expired.
Some residents were outraged Larsen Baker evicted the much-loved gym that offered residents a place to work out and offered senior programs.
Larsen Baker denied the gym was ever kicked out, saying the two sides could simply not come to terms on rent or a new location.
With PetSmart and Big Lots signed on, that leaves only one empty space in that end of the shopping center located on East Highway 260.
Sleznov is now talking with another national retailer, but wouldn’t give any other details.