Valley Plaza shopping center

Valley Plaza Shopping Center, located on Coshocton Avenue in Mount Vernon, currently houses businesses such as Fiesta Mexicana, Dollar Tree, AT&T, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Holiday Hair and Shoe Sensation.

MOUNT VERNON – A discount tool and equipment retailer with over 1,000 stores across the U.S. will soon open a new location in Knox County.

Harbor Freight is coming to Mount Vernon, according to Gorjian Acquisitions Leasing Director Jordan Gorjian. New York-based Gorjian Acquisitions owns Valley Plaza Shopping Center on Coshocton Avenue, and Harbor Freight is expected to fill the former Sears property. After months of negotiations, the lease was finalized Monday.

Gorjian expects the store to open “sometime this year,” likely in the late summer or fall.

“It is not going to be within the next three months,” he said.

Gorjian was not sure how many people Harbor Freight might employ. The company has 38 locations across Ohio, with the closest to Knox County being in Heath and Mansfield. Harbor Freight sells a wide variety of tools and equipment – including auto parts, shop equipment, hand and air tools, power tools, outdoor products, welding equipment, and various related products – at discount prices.

The business will fill the 16,000-square-foot storefront on the west end of the shopping center. The storefront, located at 993 Coshocton Ave., has been vacant since Sears moved out in 2018.

Harbor Freight will join Fiesta Mexicana, Dollar Tree, AT&T, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Holiday Hair and Shoe Sensation in the shopping center, which was purchased by Gorjian Acquisitions in September for $19,126, according to the Knox County auditor’s website.

Gorjian Acquisitions specializes in revitalizing neglected shopping centers, Gorjian said, and is hoping to do the same with Mount Vernon’s Valley Plaza.

“We take it, we do our work, and then obviously the property value increases,” Gorjian explained.

Gorjian said the real estate investment firm aims to instill a family-oriented feel with its shopping centers. That’s why it chose to sign Harbor Freight, which Gorjian believes will offer a different atmosphere than the 95,000-square-foot Lowe’s Home Improvement store across the street.

“I know there is a Lowe's nearby... it's probably a little more commercial. This is a smaller space, and it will have a little more of a local feel to it,” Gorjian said. “So it's probably gonna help the community and make it more of a space that will not be so commercialized.”

Harbor Freight did not respond to requests for comment as of Tuesday morning.

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.