MOUNT VERNON – A specialty discount chain with more than 1,000 stores nationwide has now opened a location in Mount Vernon.
Five Below opened its doors at 909 Coshocton Ave. on Sunday, according to assistant marketing manager Alyssa Grugan, and will hold its grand opening Friday. There will be trivia, music and prizes for kids to win, as well as free giveaways with purchases.
"It's just going to be a fun environment," Grugan said.
Five Below now occupies the former rue21 space in Mount Vernon Plaza, a 6,342-square-foot storefront located between Buffalo Wild Wings and Marshalls. It is one of seven businesses in the shopping center (907-935 Coshocton Ave.), which also includes Maurices, Shoe Carnival, Cross Creek Dental Care and Kay Jewelers.
It's unclear when rue21, a national specialty retail chain, left Mount Vernon Plaza. The store opened in November 2016, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 2017, prompting the closure of more than 400 stores nationwide.
Grugan said the renovation process typically takes 2-3 months for a new Five Below storefront, based on the state of the property. After signing its lease with U.S. Properties Group last year, the company began renovating the Mount Vernon storefront in recent months.
Five Below sells a wide variety of products – including household items, fitness equipment, toys and games, home decor and technology – at discount prices. The store’s name comes from the idea that most of its products cost $5 or less (a small assortment of products range from $6-$10).
There are 1,051 Five Below stores across the U.S., including 46 in Ohio. The closest stores to Knox County are in Mansfield (at Ontario Towne Center) and Columbus (at Polaris Towne Center).
Five Below plans to open 170 stores across the U.S. over the next nine months, Grugan said. The Mount Vernon storefront will be one of the first it opens this year, with grand openings lined up every weekend from now until November.
"We're opening 10 other stores this weekend," Grugan said, "from Ohio, Maryland, Florida, Texas, New York and Mississippi. We're kind of all over the place."
Grugan said stores will follow all CDC-recommended health and safety protocols while opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, as associates will be wearing masks and sanitizing regularly.
Approximately 20 employees have been hired for the Mount Vernon location, Grugan said. Five Below's goal is to "bring fun" to the communities it serves, she added, by creating an environment (and product line) that appeals to local youth.
“We really pride ourselves on creating a fun experience, especially for teens and tweens – there’s not really a store out there like us, that’s targeted for that age category," Grugan said.
"We pride ourselves in the fact that our stores are like a treasure hunt – you’ll find things you weren’t expecting to find. We love the aspect of being able to say we’re bringing fun to the different communities we go into.”
Five Below is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.