Field & Stream today launches its first southern Ohio store, boosting the regional drawing power of Austin Landing and kicking off a string of openings at the 142-acre complex that will bring more than 200 new jobs.
Three restaurants and a park also are poised to open in the coming weeks, ahead of the holiday season.
Field & Stream’s 50,000-square-foot site will add another “unique” business to the mix at the development off the Austin Boulevard interchange at Interstate 75, a move that is expected to extend Austin’s reach — perhaps as far as Richmond, Ind. — according to area industry observers.
“Field & Stream would actually mean one of the most exciting and one of the most unique retail additions to Austin Landing for sure — if not the entire Dayton area — that has happened over the last couple of years,” said Serdar Durmusoglu, associate professor of marketing management at the University of Dayton.
“We know that the Apple store opened, Nordstrom Rack opened at The Greene (Town Center) as well. But especially to the south Dayton area, that is probably the most unique retail store opening on such a big scale,” he said of the outdoor recreational retailer.
Austin Landing, a project by RG Properties, is part Austin Center, an area that encompasses all four corners of the interchange and that has been projected to bring more than $400 million in development.
The planned openings in the next month at the interchange’s northwest corner are believed to be the most within that time frame at the complex and show that Austin Landing has “turned the corner,” said Bo Gunlock, president of RG Properties.
By early November, Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill, Another Broken Egg Café — two restaurants new to southeast Ohio — and Dewey’s Pizza will join BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Panera Bread and Five Guys Burgers as food choices there.
Meanwhile, The Park at Austin Landing , a 3-plus acre site that will feature an entertainment area and a bike hub next to the new restaurants, will open this month, officials said.
Today’s 8 a.m. launch will be a “soft opening” followed by Friday’s grand opening and several weekend events, said John Jones, district manager for Field & Stream.
Jones said Field & Stream selected the location because of the region’s “deep history in hunting and fishing, and we can meet the needs of that.”
Field & Stream is expected to draw customers within a 30-minute highway drive, as it is a “one in a market kind of retailer,” Gunlock said.
“Their closest store is about 70 miles away,” he said. “So we’re drawing from a 30- to 35-mile radius. It shows the regionality of the area and kind of proves our case that this is the joining of Cincinnati and Dayton together along the I-75 corridor. I think they’re going to do fantastic here. We’ve got a lot of outdoor enthusiasts that share this area – northern Cincinnati and all of Dayton.”
One market observer expressed similar thoughts.
“A large Field & Stream store will attract shoppers from a long distance,” according to Karen A. Machleit, head of the marketing department at the University of Cincinnati. “Having restaurants allows those who have traveled further to the center to make a day of it. The park increases the total size of the area, attracting more patrons.”
The presence of Field & Stream might reach as far as Richmond, according to UD’s Durmusoglu.
“Their radius could be larger toward the west compared to the east,” he said in an email. “ It probably wouldn’t exceed 40 miles toward the east/northeast, but then the highways play a role on the west since there are not as many. I think it will be 40-50 (miles) in the most optimistic scenario.”
This is contingent, according to Durmusoglu, on Field & Stream having some unique products compared to its direct competitors, such as Bass Pro Shops, which plans to open a 150,000-square-foot Outdoor World location in West Chester Twp. in 2016.
Meanwhile, Cabela’s plans to open an 82,000-square-foot store off of I-75 in Butler County the fall of 2015. To the north of Dayton, Dunham’s Sports plans to open a 55,000-square-foot store in the Miami Valley Centre Mall in Piqua early next year.
Field & Stream’s nearest locations are in Columbus and Crescent Springs, Ky., south of Cincinnati. It commonly employs about 100 workers at its locations, the latest of which opened in September at the Easton Town Center in Columbus.
Firebirds, Dewey’s and Another Broken Egg are expected to add more than 130 jobs combined, according to spokespeople for those companies.
While the jobs — for the most part — may not pay upscale wages, they could bring relief to those seeking employment as the holiday season approaches, Durmusoglu said.
The openings near the holiday season will help Austin Landing attract customers, but more of a factor in drawing shoppers is offering a good mix of unique businesses and national retailers, he said.
This is more likely to bring in what UC’s Machleit calls “variety seekers,” something Miami Twp. would welcome, said Andrew Papanek, president of the township’s board of trustees.
“I’m really excited what we’re going to see on the horizon,” he said. “Field & Stream is going to be a great anchor for the development. With the additions of the restaurants, Field & Stream, the park and the bike route, it’s going to be great for the community.”
By early December, other businesses set to open include Chipotle and Anthony Vince Nail Spa, which will be next to Another Broken Egg, Gunlock said.
“I think we’ve got a lot of momentum, and I think that’s showing,” he said. “In any major development like this, there’s the point and time that – and I don’t want to use a cliché – but you kind of turn the corner. I think that Austin Landing is there now. I think that people recognize that it has legs and will do well for a long period of time.”