Created: 02/17/2014 5:33 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- For nearly four years we've called it “Austin's old K-Mart store”. But now, it's time we started thinking of it as Austin's new Runnings.
“We're still on schedule to open the first week of April. We'll go into a soft mode at that point," store manager Everett Hackensmith told ABC 6.
“We've got a grand opening planned for the middle of May."
There's not much to see on the outside, but the inside is a bee-hive of activity.
"I'd say 85 percent of the fixturing is put up now," Everett Hackensmith told us. “We're getting load after load of merchandise in at this point. We've got venders showing up every day helping us put merchandise on the sales floor."
The first Runnings store opened in Marshall, Minnesota in 1947. It's roots were in farm supplies ... you might compare it to Mills Fleet Farm.
"It's one stop shop,” manager Everett Hackensmith explained. “We've got everything for the do-it yourselfer, we've got everything for your home … clothing and sporting goods and general merchandise."
And Runnings' research showed a need for a store like that in the Austin area.
"We'll have more of a selection for some of the things being offered in town, or a lot of categories are not even being offered in town, so it'll help keep people in Austin," Hackensmith explained.
But sitting empty for more than 3 years since K-Mart moved out, the building had fallen into disrepair.
"Ceiling tiles were full of moisture, sagging and had to be replaced," Hackensmith told us. “The floor tiles also taking the wear and tear of moisture, those were cupping and popping off the floor."
The Runnings store is expected to create at least 50 new jobs.
"We're getting out full-time staff solidified at this point and then will be looking for the rest of the staff part time staff, checkers and stockers," manager Everett Hackensmith said. “Being an outdoorsy guy and a do-it yourself guy it's a store I would love to shop in and it's just going to be fun working here."