CEDAR CITY – Boulevard Home Furnishings held its official groundbreaking ceremony today for a new store at 990 South Main Street in Cedar City. The store will add to Boulevard’s existing inventory of stores, one each in St. George, Utah, and Mesquite, Nev. The Cedar City store will situate on an 11-acre site purchased 10 years ago and will be developed as “Boulevard Plaza.”
“We’ve already started preparing the building pad,” Boulevard’s promotions coordinator Carri Kelley said in advance of today’s official groundbreaking. The store itself is projected to open in Spring 2014.
People familiar with the area have likely noticed a sign by the road in front of the property identifying it as Boulevard’s future site, a sign that was acknowledged as having been there a long, long time. Boulevard bought the land for Boulevard Plaza 10 years ago but the project was put on hold due to the economy tanking.
“We feel good about it now,” Boulevard Home Furnishings CEO Sheldon Wittwer said to guests invited to today’s groundbreaking ceremony. “We’re excited.”
“What a great day to finally have you here,” Cedar City councilman and current mayoral candidate John Black said, speaking to the 10-year-wait. And on behalf of Joe Mayor Burgess who was not in attendance, the people of Cedar City and surrounding areas, Black welcomed Boulevard and its representatives at the ceremony and said, “it’s good to have you.”
There also used to be a Boulevard in Cedar City in the early 80s, where the current Lin’s Supermarket is; Sheldon Wittwer said: “It’s good to be back.”
Retired member of Boulevard’s board of directors Tony Wittwer was one of the people who helped start the company in 1974.
“It’s going to be nice to have (a store) up here,” Tony Wittwer said.
Character of the store and the plaza
The theme of the new store will reflect and celebrate the history and culture of Cedar City and the surrounding area.
“We didn’t want to build a store – we wanted to bring the Boulevard experience to Cedar City,” Boulevard’s COO Marc Wittwer said. “It will be a very, very nice store.”
“The Wittwers designed a beautiful building that will be a great asset to Cedar City,” contractor Carter Enterprises president, Curtis Carter said.
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The store itself will encompass 36,000 square feet of office and warehouse space. It will include featured departments such as mattresses, appliances, furniture, master bedrooms, youth furniture, a “bargain barn,” and will carry La-Z-boy, Samsung, Serta, Whirlpool, LG, Bosch, Ashley brands and more. Part of the La-Z-boy area will carry elements of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, in keeping with Cedar City’s characteristic annual Shakespeare Festival. And the customer service area will be modeled after a train station.
The 11-acre plaza will allow for future store expansion as well as retail business space and a Main Street restaurant site.
Cedar City economy
Boulevard’s contractor for Boulevard’s Cedar development is Carter Enterprises; at the groundbreaking ceremony, Carter stressed the effort the Wittwers had made to be sure local contractors from the Cedar City area were hired for the project.
In development and staffing Boulevard and other venues that come to the Boulevard plaza, the project will benefit the local job market.
“We are unsure at this time how many jobs (the Cedar City Boulevard store) will provide,” Kelley said, “but we are excited to be able to bring new jobs to the community.”
Black said he sees Boulevard coming as another sign the economy is gradually improving, particularly in Cedar City.
Along with Syberjet, the announcement of the new Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and now Boulevard, he forecast that more local money will stay local with fewer people traveling to St. George.
“It’s going to help keep some of our people here,” Black said.
Founders Lester and Vanola Wittwer began Boulevard stores in 1974 with the opening of a small showroom of only 8,000 square feet and two full-time employees. The store’s moniker is a namesake to St. George Boulevard which runs through the center of St. George. Today, Kelley said, Boulevard has over 115,000 square feet of showroom space in the St. George and Mesquite stores and over 250 employees.
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St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.
Updated 4:30 p.m. to include design rendering of the store.
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