MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - New businesses and new jobs are coming to Bell County. Chamber of Commerce officials say Sears re-opened this week. Rue 21 is opening later in the fall. Officials say more stores are on the way.
Sears is now open for business in Middlesboro. The new store on 25E is locally owned.
"The community is just embracing it because the community really relied on Sears for years and hated to see them pull out. They're happy for us to be back," said David Barnard, owner.
Barnard has already hired five people and hopes to help the local economy even more.
"That's just important to me to have jobs for people and you know, we're going to do all we can and hopefully employ more people," said Barnard.
Just down the road, Middlesboro Mall directors say Rue 21 is planning to open soon.
"This is big news for shoppers. This is a national name brand store coming to Middlesboro Mall," said Sheila Durham, Marketing Manager for the Middlesboro Mall.
Officials say Rue 21 will hire dozens of people.
Bell County Chamber of Commerce officials say the new paychecks and new customer spending will also help pump money to other businesses.
"The economy can always use help so any business that opens, it helps Middlesboro, Bell County, Pineville, it helps all counties economy," said Candice Evans, Executive Director of the Bell County Chamber of Commerce.
These might not be the only stores opening in Bell County. Chamber of Commerce officials say they are trying to get more businesses in the area.
"The chamber on its own has contacted a few people trying to get them to the area. It's a waiting game," said Evans.
Middlesboro Mall directors say it took at least three years of work to get Rue 21 here, but say other projects to attract other stores are underway.
Grand Openings for Rue 21 and Sears are planned for the first week in November.