New Stephenville construction brings big city retailers

By: Elizabeth Black

Managing Editor

At the beginning of 2020, the city of Stephenville started working on a construction project near Walmart. The Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA) announced in February of 2020 that the construction plan is for a new shopping center known as Washington Commons.

According to Jeff K Sandford, the executive director for the SEDA, the stores coming to Stephenville include Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Ross, Old Navy, Five Below, Ulta, James Avery and Buckle.

Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Ross, Old Navy and 5-Below by the Walmart entrance.
Photo By: Elizabeth Black

The developers are working on filling the empty store spaces and will be able to provide a full lineup soon. They are looking for two or three more stores.

The Washington Commons development is the largest development in Stephenville in the last two decades. Project costs are around $26 million and includes both small and large retail spaces.

The development has had some setbacks due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but construction is on schedule to open during the first quarter of 2022.  

Sophomore Kinesiology major Ruth Caddell said, “I am so excited about the new stores coming to town. TJ Maxx is my favorite and I won’t have to drive an hour out of town to get new clothes.”

Sanford mentioned that the growth and stability of Tarleton and the stable economy of the city through the COVID-19 pandemic helped provide the environment for this development to take place.

Sanford then connected the retail businesses coming to Stephenville to college life further stating, “The cool thing about retail in general, and you will see this in a lot of college towns, is that they really like, they almost enjoy the college atmosphere and the college vibe because there is an available workforce, as much as they do for the spending.”

The SEDA and the city of Stephenville are working together to help the city develop as a community grows in the future.

“I’m excited that there will be a more variety of retailers to choose from. My favorites would be TJ Maxx or Ulta I can’t decide,” Senior Nursing major Caroline DeGrendale said. “It will be nice to not have to drive to Weatherford to go to TJ Maxx or Ulta, which is part of my routine.”

Sanford explained further how having a large retail development will help the community.

“We have done extensive research into the leakage of dollars spent in other communities and aggressively recruited businesses that will add to local economy,” Sanford said.

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