News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 14, 2013

New furniture store moves in

Ashley expands reach, brings life to long-vacant strip mall

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A long-vacant strip mall south of the Vigo County Fairgrounds is getting a new tenant — Ashley Furniture Homestore.

And the strip mall will house the first new store for Louisville, Ky-based KHF Holdings LLC outside of the Indianapolis/Louisville area. KHF Holdings is a licensee of Ashley furniture stores, with locations in Louisville and Jeffersontown in Kentucky and in Avon, Greenwood and Castleton in Indiana.

Bev Santamouris, chief financial officer for KHF Holdings, said the company was looking to locate outside of its two markets.

“We were pretty established in [Indianapolis and Louisville], so how do we grow, how do we get further? So looking at the proximity, Terre Haute was the next good answer,” Santamouris said. “So looking at where we were already established, where can we reach out and start to make a bigger footprint for ourselves, that is how we got into Terre Haute.

“Logistically we could service that market based on what we are doing now. Good proximity to Indianapolis and wanting to get into a new market,” Santamouris said. “This is the first store we have opened in a couple of years. We will build this one, get it going, then start looking again” at possible other sites, either in Indiana or Kentucky.

The business is scheduled to open on the first weekend in November and will hire 15 employees.

The strip mall had initially housed Petco, Pier 1 Imports and Shoe Carnival, and later Circuit City. In the fall of 2010, Shoe Carnival was the last store to move out of the site, after Circuit City and Petco left in early 2009. Pier 1 closed in May, 2009, near the end of a national economic depression that began in 2007.

The Ashley Furniture project was stalled at its new location, at 4225 S. U.S. 41, as a contractor lacked a construction/remodeling review by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Division of Fire and Building Safety.

Vigo County Building Commissioner Paul Mason said his department, through a building inspector, halted work as no permits had been obtained, but ceiling tiles and division walls had already been removed or torn down. Mason said a design review was first required from the state.

Mason said his department allowed workers to clean up as well as make cosmetic changes, such as painting etc.

Santamouris said the company’s contractor has resolved the issue. The remodeling design of the 30,000-square foot area was filed with the state on Sept. 6 and is currently under a review. The project remains on target for a November opening, Santamouris said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.