Big Lots of Payson opened Friday with a bang.
As part of the grand opening celebration, the Rim Country Middle School band played during the ribbon cutting ceremony at 400 E. Highway 260.
Big Lots returned the favor by donating $1,500 to the middle school.
Besides Payson, Big Lots opened stores in Glendale and five other communities around the country Friday, adding to the list of 1,482 Big Lots stores in the United States and 79 Liquidation World stores in Canada.
While other retailers have struggled during the recession, Big Lots’ growth has exploded. In the last three years, the company has opened roughly 87 new stores each year, said company spokesperson Toni Fink.
Fink said the soft real estate market has allowed Big Lots to get into more locations and nicer shopping centers.
“We are in full growth mode,” she said.
She said Big Lots offers consumers the brand names they want, but at lower prices.
Big Lots is one of the largest closeout retailers, stocking stores with merchandise that typically sells 20 to 40 percent less than discount stores and up to 70 percent below traditional retailers, according to a company press release.
At 22,000 square feet, the Payson Big Lots is one of the largest retailers in the Rim Country Mall. Big Lots is the latest retailer to open in the mall. Pet Smart is expected to open later this month, leaving only one vacancy in the center.
Officials with Larsen Baker, the Tucson-based firm that manages the shopping center, said they are thrilled to see the mall filling up. They worked with Big Lots officials for some time to make the space fit their needs. A wall was blown out and several thousand feet added to the building.
On Friday, residents took their time wandering the aisles at Big Lots, checking out the store’s seasonal goods, home decor, electronics, toys, mattresses and furniture.
“For more than 40 years, Big Lots customers have relied on us to bring them a one-of-a-kind shopping experience filled with brand-name merchandise at a price they can appreciate. We are thrilled to now be able to offer that same great value and convenience to Payson shoppers,” said Rob Claxton, senior vice president of marketing for Big Lots. “We are confident this new store will prove to be a big hit with smart shoppers who are seeking better deals and bigger savings to combat the increasing costs of everyday living.”