Streetsboro -- Having run out of room at its Route 43 site, Big Dee's Tack and Vet Supply has bought and is moving into the old Walmart property located next to Market Square Drive on Route 14, according to Mayor Glenn Broska.
According to the Portage County Auditor's GIS website, the sale closed Sept. 3 with Frost Road LLC paying about $1.5 million to Wal-Mart Realty Co. for the 18.2-acre property, which includes the old, 103,432-square-foot Walmart building.
Big Dee's Co-owner Brenda Miavitz said the company, which sells about 25,000 equestrian products both at its retail store on Route 43 and through its catalogue and online operations, is low on space.
"We've just kind of been outgrowing our property the last couple of years but kind of wanted to stay in Streetsboro," she said. "When that building became available, we looked at it, and it kind of meets our needs."
Frost Road LLC is a corporation run by her family, she said.
Miavitz said she hopes to open the business in the new building in spring 2014.
Broska said Big Dee's will move its operations to the Route 14 site, and another party is interested in the equestrian gear retailer's current home on Route 43. He said he can't name the company at this point.
Big Dee's is planning renovations to the old Walmart store, said Broska.
"They're going to substantially increase the size of their showroom and add warehouse space," he said, adding there also will be some office space. "I'm very happy that we are getting a new owner of that building, and we are hoping, by filling that building, it will spur some further economic growth in and around that area."
Miavitz said she plans to renovate 25,000 square feet of the old Walmart as retail space, another 6,000 square feet as office space, and the remainder will be warehouse area.
With the added space, she said she hopes to expand supplies for dogs, cats and other house pets.
She also said there are plans for new docks, a new roof, a freshly paved parking lot, landscaping, painting and awnings.
Miavitz said there are very few stores like Big Dee's in the area.
"A lot of people are more discipline specific, and maybe they just carry books or maybe they just carry English tack," she said. Big Dee's carries everything from western saddles to air fresheners to racing gear. She said Summit Racing in Tallmadge is a similar business, in terms of its scope. Both have national reach, strong Internet businesses and offer a wide variety of products.
"It's a good parallel in a different industry," she said.
Big Dee's Tack and Vet Supply got its start at Northfield Park in 1976 as a tack shop for racers, she said.
Along with the horse loving communities of Chardon and Chagrin, "racetracks were kind of our initial draw to the area because Northfield and Thistledown are in relatively close proximity," said Miavitz.
Attracted by Streetsboro's easy freeway and turnpike access, as well as rural Portage County, another potential customer base, the business its Route 43 facility from Crown, Mold & Machine on Route 43 in the mid-'90s.
"We've added on, to make that about three times larger," she said.
Big Dee's is owned by Miavitz of Boston Heights, Dennis and Irene Osterholt of Sagamore Hills and Gail Linsley, also of Sagamore Hills.
The old Walmart facility has been empty since about 2006 when the new Super Walmart opened next to the Ohio Turnpike.
Broska said the renovations will require an OK from the Streetsboro Planning and Zoning Commission for a minor site plan revision because of plans to add another dock. Broska said he believes the company also is planning to paint the facility, but he's unsure of how what changes are in store within the building.
Streetsboro Economic Development Director Bill Bishilany said last month Big Dee's and the company planning to move into Big Dee's 70,000-square-foot facility should provide the city another 15 to 20 jobs.
Broska said the city isn't being asked to provide any tax abatements that would need City Council approval.
"We are working with them through the state, but there's nothing locally," he said, explaining Bishilany and Portage County Development Board President Brad Ehrhart are working to find financial help for the company.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens