Job opportunities in retail sector on the horizon

Shawna Elliott and Jason Bagwell stand in front of the Shops at Cornerstone which is replacing the Pampa Mall. New national retailers are coming in more job will soon be available (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A $4 million investment project is helping to transform the Pampa Mall into what is being called the Shops at Cornerstone. Pampa resident Jason Bagwell and a fellow investor from Oklahoma are working to secure two more national retailers as clients. Hobby Lobby and Burke’s Outlet are signed and committed to opening new stores this year.

“We haven’t seen any shopping like we're going to see probably once these open up in probably 20 years,” said Jason Bagwell. “This will give Pampa opportunity to really grow and get a foothold back as the second biggest city in the Texas Panhandle.”

The Pampa Mall opened in 1980 and thrived until Pampa encountered economic challenges that drove a lot of people away in 1987 and throughout the 1990’s. Bagwell believes the project can be a catalyst as 50 new full time and part time jobs are being created from the two new national retailers opening and more jobs on the way once two more national retailers sign an agreement to open in Pampa.

“We have two more spaces, what we call anchor spaces, at Shops at Cornerstone available for two large clients. We currently have 16 tenants and we have a 12,000 square foot space available and a 35,000 square foot space available. We also are working on recruiting local businesses now that we have the foot traffic to support it. There’s no question that we have the job base for employment. It’s just having the right jobs and good paying jobs in retail.”

The decision to rebrand the Pampa Mall was simple. Bagwell tells ABC 7 News it’s about catching up with the times. “The company behind the project is bringing jobs and economic opportunities to a city that once saw the Pampa Mall flourish for more than seven years only to struggle.

“Malls around America are clearly struggling because that is an old concept,” said Bagwell. “We are re-constructing this old mall and becoming a strip center so that it's current and that’s what national tenants are looking for.”

“There will be options for us to do here I think these two stores coming in Burke’s Outlet and Hobby Lobby will generate some more business,” said Shawna Elliott, executive director of Pampa Chamber of Commerce. “We are confident other businesses will come in here.”

Part of the $4 million project calls for the parking lot to get a new overlay and to be re-striped this summer. Once completed it will improve parking for more than 1,000 vehicles. Bagwell tells ABC 7 News he is working on attracting a national chain restaurant to come in near the main entrance of Shops at the Cornerstone replacing Cooder’s Dixie Café which is sitting vacant. Hobby Lobby is expected to open in late August or early September and Burke’s Outlet is expected to open in mid-October.

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