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Lowe's joins growing cast of businesses

The weekend opening of the co-anchor in the Towne Center at Batavia completes the occupancy of the newest and largest strip mall in the area.

The 136,800-square-foot Lowe's home improvement and building supply center will have a grand opening Thursday, but customers already are flocking to the store in a "soft" preview partly for area contractors.

The other anchor, Target, opened a 126,600-square-foot department store, supermarket and pharmacy in July. Petco, Bed Bath & Beyond and Michael's Arts and Crafts complete the mall.

Lowe's will be competing with Home Depot, which opened several years ago, and is directly across Veterans Memorial Drive from the new retailer. Its main store is flanked by an indoor lumberyard and a garden center.

Meanwhile, a second and smaller strip mall -- being developed by Tennessee-based Spectra Group at 34,000-square-feet -- has space for four or five occupants.

The first to open next week is Cato's, a specialty retailer of women's and misses apparel. The branch of a Charlotte, N.C., chain also sells shoes and accessories.

Known as the Batavia Shopping Center, its neighbor across the street is Wal-Mart, and it's adjacent to an OfficeMax store.

The new mall also will welcome an anchor national clothing retailer when Pebbles opens. No date has been announced.

Space on either end of the mall near Lewiston Road has "For Lease" signs. Possible occupants are a shoe store and a video game retailer.

It is estimated that the nine new stores will employ about 400 full- and part-time workers. Target and Lowe's account for 300 employees. They also will boost the county sales tax and the town's assessment figures.

The site near the Towne Center has two separate buildings now nearing completion. Reports say the CDR Development of Fayetteville, the builder, is looking for a casual-style dining outlet.

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