Harbor Freight Officially Opens New Bennington Store

Harbor Freight Officially Opens New Bennington Store

BENNINGTON – Harbor Freight Tools has officially opened its new store in Bennington, marking a significant addition to the Bennington Square shopping center. This new location is expected to create up to 30 new jobs, providing a boost to the local economy.

Trey Feiler, the senior vice president of Real Estate and Construction for Harbor Freight, expressed excitement about the new store. “We’ve been eager to open a location in Bennington for several years. This allows us to offer our tools and equipment at great values to the community,” Feiler said. He also highlighted the availability of skilled associates in the Bennington area as a key factor in their decision to open the store.

The new Harbor Freight store is situated at 99 Bennington Square, occupying a portion of the 55,552-square-foot space that was formerly a Kmart department store. Renovation work has already begun, utilizing local workers and companies from the surrounding area.

The site plans for the renovation show three rectangular retail spaces with customer entrances facing the parking area. In addition to Harbor Freight, a Marshalls store is also expected to open in the shopping center, although the third potential store has not yet been named.

The Act 250 permit for the project specifically authorizes the internal subdivision of the vacant retail storefront into three separate spaces, measuring 16,000 square feet, 21,000 square feet, and 18,000 square feet respectively. The shopping center owners, Ocean State Job Lot, had previously received a town building permit for an estimated $220,000 in renovation work to the former Kmart building.

Ocean State Job Lot purchased the 24-acre, 150,000-square-foot shopping center off Kocher Drive in 2020. They currently operate an Ocean State Job Lot store in a 38,970-square-foot former JC Penney’s location within the same center.

Marshalls has not yet announced a specific opening date for their store, but a company spokesperson indicated that a grand opening media release will be issued closer to the opening date. Marshalls operates more than 1,000 stores across the U.S., including locations in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and upstate New York, as well as stores in Canada and Puerto Rico.

According to the Harbor Freight release, the new store is expected to bring between 25 and 30 new jobs to the community. These positions will include sales and logistic supervisors, senior associates, sales associates, and seasonal opportunities. The company offers a competitive starting rate and a comprehensive retail benefits package that includes robust health coverage and holidays off for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Harbor Freight now employs more than 28,000 people and operates over 1,500 locations nationwide. Interested job applicants can apply online by searching for “Bennington, VT” on the Harbor Freight jobs website.

The owners of the Bennington Square shopping center have filed an Act 250 permit to subdivide the former Kmart store into space for three retail businesses, including the Harbor Freight Tools outlet and a Marshalls department store. The application was filed by OSJ of Bennington VT, LLC, an entity associated with Ocean State Job Lot.

Quin Mann, district coordinator with the Vermont Natural Resources Board, stated that the Act 250 application is currently incomplete. Therefore, the commission has not yet determined whether the project will be processed as a major application, which would require a hearing, or a minor application, which would not.

The renovation work described in the application involves the subdivision of the vacant retail storefront into three separate spaces. Internal renovations will include updates to lighting, fire sprinklers, and the interior division of the space. External renovations will involve connecting the new storefronts to existing water and sewer lines, installing and connecting three new propane tanks, maintaining the parking lot to achieve ADA compliance, and constructing two new loading docks.

The shopping center owners received a local building permit last year that specified fit-up work for the Harbor Freight Tools store. At that time, it was expected that renovation work on the former Kmart building would start in August 2023 and be completed in the fall. Additionally, Marshalls received a town sign permit last year for a store in the center.

Ocean State Job Lot’s acquisition of the shopping center and the subsequent renovations are set to revitalize the area, providing new shopping options and job opportunities for the Bennington community.

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