Washington Crown Center adding Rural King Supply, Toffee House

Michael Bradwell

Two weeks ago, a bridge connecting Franklin Farms Road with Washington Crown Center’s South Ring Road reopened at the North Franklin Township shopping mall.

The timing of the bridge reopening, which provides a crucial second entrance/exit in addition to the main one from West Chestnut Street, couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, according to Washington Crown Center Manager Civil Knox.

She confirmed last week that the mall has signed Rural King Supply, which bills itself as “America’s Farm and Home Department Store.”

Rural King, which takes possession early next month of the space formerly occupied by Gander Mountain, is expected to open in March, Knox said.

Rural King planted its roots in Mattoon, Ill., in 1960. Since that time, the chain has added more than 100 stores in a 12-state area (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia).

According to the company’s website, its locations have an extensive product mix with items such as livestock feed, farm equipment, agricultural parts, lawn mowers, workwear, fashion clothing, housewares and toys. 

The other recent signing at Washington Crown Center is local candy retailer favorite Toffee House, which Knox said is taking the space formerly occupied by Payless ShoeSource, adjacent to JoAnn Fabrics, with an opening expected in the next couple of weeks.

The two recent signings are a bright spot for the shopping complex, which has lost Macy’s, Payless and Gander Mountain in the past year in a rapidly changing retail landscape.

“We have a 90 percent occupancy,” Knox said, adding, “for a mall today, that’s almost unheard of.”

And there could be more tenants in the months to come.

“We have nationals (retail chains) calling us all of the time” inquiring about space availability, Knox said.

She said the only main obstacle to placement is that Macy’s owns the space it vacated. Despite that situation, she said she continues to submit the inquiries to the department store chain for follow-ups.

The mall is also preparing to add some seasonal retailers for the upcoming holiday shopping season.