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Online Job Postings Suggest Old Navy to Open Route 12A Store



Valley News Business Writer
Monday, August 20, 2018

West Lebanon — Is Old Navy sailing into West Lebanon?

The San Francisco-based clothing retailer didn’t respond to multiple inquiries last week, but posts announcing open positions for a new Old Navy store in West Lebanon have popped up recently on online job sites Indeed.com and GlassDoor.com.

Old Navy, which is owned by Gap Inc., advertised on the websites that it is seeking a general manager and a senior merchandise manager to work at a new store in West Lebanon.

Where the new Old Navy store would go is not known, but the difficult environment for bricks-and-mortar retailing has created several possibilities.

There are currently empty storefronts available among the various shopping centers stretched along Route 12A, including the former Payless shoes space in the Kmart plaza and locations in the North Country Plaza. But the most logical location for Old Navy would be the remaining space available in the refurbished site of former Shaw’s supermarket in Upper Valley Plaza.

The structure, which recently underwent a $1.9 million renovation that divided the building into four separate retail spaces, features a newly-opened PetSmart store and a HomeGoods furnishings store that is slated to open in September.

The one space in the building that does not have an identified tenant is located between the HomeGoods space and the former Verizon Wireless outlet, which is expected to be occupied by the 110 Grill restaurant chain based in Westford, Mass.

There is already a Gap Factory Outlet store located in the Upper Valley Plaza.

WS Development, the Chestnut Hill, Mass., commercial property company that owns Upper Valley Plaza, did not respond to requests for information.

Denny’s in West Lebanon Gets a Makeover

The five-year long program begun in 2013 for Denny’s to remodel all its approximately 1,600 U.S. restaurants has, finally, made it to West Lebanon: the restaurant chain has just wrapped up within a couple weeks a $180,000 renovation that features new exterior siding, bright orange-and-purple striped awnings and a “tower” at the entrance plus new interior seating, lighting and three flat-screen TVs along the Route 12A commercial strip.

Now the only 24-hour diner among the Upper Valley’s core towns since The Fort in Lebanon stopped being all-night eatery a few months ago, the West Lebanon’s Denny’s — along with the Denny’s in Nashua and two Denny’s in Vermont — is among the few in the country that is owned by the Spartaburg, S.C., company and is not a franchisee.

According to Denny’s, as of the end of the second quarter about 74 percent of its restaurants have been remodeled and the diner chain expects that 80 percent of them will be finished by the end of the year.

Princeton Man Buys Inn in Woodstock

A Princeton, N.J., museum director and art scholar has purchased Woodstock’s Jackson House Inn and is looking at introducing a variety of new programs at the 11-room luxury lodging house located outside of the village at the west end of town.

James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum and an Oxford-educated specialist in 18th century and 19th century European painting, said he intends to “take an already successful property and make it more successful” by “helping the inn to become a local resource” for such events as chamber music concerts, poetry workshops and spoken word recitals.

“Woodstock is an established, popular market and the inn has done extremely well under its previous owners who brought it back to a high standard. I chose Jackson House because it has a great foundation to build upon,” he said.

Steward recently acquired the inn, which originally was built as a private residence for sawmill merchant Wales N. Johnson in 1890 before being converted into a guesthouse in 1940, from Rick and Kathy Terwelp. The Terwelps purchased the inn in 2010 from Bernard and Jennifer English.

The purchase price was $1.55 million, according to Woodstock town real estate records. The Vermont Economic Development Authority, in conjunction with Bar Harbor Bank, provided a $575,000 loan in financing toward the purchase. The financing will enable renovation of the historic portion of inn and the building of three additional rooms, according to VEDA.

Steward acquired Jackson House Inn through Blue Hill Properties, a Princeton, N.J.-based company he founded to acquire and manage luxury inns along the Atlantic Seaboard travel market.

News items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News. Submissions may be sent by email to: biznotes@vnews.com (high-resolution photographs may be attached in .jpg format). Items are edited for clarity and space.