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New merchants focus on local shoppers

New apparel stores and plans for a new furniture store in downtown Grass Valley are providing affordable shopping options to help diversify the mix of businesses.

Apparel stores, including the new Cabona’s Outlet and Blackjack, typically attract a larger local customer base compared to unique gift item stores, which attract more tourists, said Howard Levine, Grass Valley Downtown Association executive director.

Rural economies are more stable when their businesses attract local residents, while tourism economies tend to be more cyclical, according to recent regional economic reports.



In downtown Grass Valley, the new clothing store additions and anticipated opening of Ashley Furniture by Thanksgiving could change the cycle of downtown shopping focused more on tourists, community leaders said.

“We want that diversity and strength in that market sector,” Levine said.




Gift shops typically draw 50 percent local residents and 50 percent tourists, Levine said. By contrast, the new apparel and furniture businesses can draw 90 percent local and 10 percent tourist shoppers, he said.

Cabona’s, opening on Mill Street this week, indicates a growing array of men’s clothing options in the downtown.

The store joins Blackjack, Swenson’s Outdoors and Weekends Casual Wear in expanded men’s clothing options, Levine said.

Cabona’s opened this past week as store shelves were being stocked. The store has brands including Woolrich, True Grit and Nomadic Traders.

“The selection isn’t vast, but there are a lot of good bargains,” Levine said.

Cabona’s owner, Stefanie Olivieri, owns three other apparel businesses in Truckee, said Bonnie Garcia, the Grass Valley store’s manager.

Clothes that don’t sell at the Truckee Cabona’s, Isabella O or Jackass Ridge come to downtown Grass Valley, she said.

“Every day a carload of clothes comes in,” Garcia said of the expected changing inventory.

Many of the clothes are out of season and are discounted at 30 to 70 percent off, Garcia said.

By Thanksgiving, Ashley Furniture is expected to open in the building once occupied by Hedman Furniture, a longtime fixture on Mill Street. The store focuses on more affordable furnishings.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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