Marion fills old buildings with new businesses - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion fills old buildings with new businesses

Marion fills old buildings with new businesses

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MARION, Ill. -- The massive building off of Interstate 57 in Marion previously known as Gander Mountain sits dark and quiet at night, but in a couple of months that won't be the case. 

Mayor Anthony Rinella says that won't be the only location in Marion that has a new business breathing life into an old building. 

He confirmed shoppers will soon be able to spend their money at more places due to a handful of new businesses coming to the city. 

"We've had our ups and downs and right now we are on an up," Rinella said. "We have several potential new businesses exploring Marion."

Rinella says there is a potential buyer looking to purchase the empty Sears store in the near future, which would bring more people into the struggling Illinois Star Centre mall. 

Back in 2015, Gander Mountain filed for bankruptcy and closed it's doors. 

"Right when you came into Marion, you had a great big sign saying, 'Going out of Business,'" Rinella said. "That wasn't good for the city at all."

You may remember in April, Gander Outdoors announced the company was going to move into the building and partner with Camping Outdoors and Overton's, a marine and boating store.

"When they announced they were going to reopen the building, the company said they were going to make it a mega center," Rinella said, "Gander Outdoors told us there were only going to be three in the United States and Marion is one of them."

The company also bought 15 acres of land behind the store to build another show room for campers and RVs, and for more storage. 

Gander Outdoor's CEO tells News 3 the Marion store will open in March. 

Just this week, Starbucks and Jack and Josie's (a toy store) opened in Marion this week. 

Life-long resident Derek Cook says these additions are great for Marion.

"It's wonderful to be situated on the interstate and in a town that has grown over the last 40 to 50 years," Cook said. "Plus to have that big building with cars in the parking lot shows that it's paying it's rent. It just goes to show this town is doing something right."

Cook says that bringing these businesses to Marion could help other companies make the decision to bring their stores to southern Illinois.

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