Upstate Discount Warehouse

Gregory Knapp, co-owner of Upstate Discount Warehouse, stands in his business’ new location at Diamond Run Mall at the former JCPenney space in Rutland on Tuesday.

The Diamond Run Mall will have a new tenant come June 1.

Gregory Knapp, co-owner of Upstate Discount Warehouse, said a lease agreement with the mall was signed in February, and he’ll review job applications this week. He said the store is going into the space formerly occupied by LaFlamme’s Furniture and, before that, JCPenney.

Upstate Discount Warehouse got its start seven years ago in Whitehall, New York, said Knapp, a Fair Haven native. He said his business partner, Mohammad Bilal, is from Castleton.

He plans to hire between 10 and 12 people at the Rutland location, he said. Originally, the site was only going to be a sorting warehouse for the Whitehall store, but Knapp and Bilal realized they’d be able to sell items out of Diamond Run as well.

It’s a big upgrade for the company, Knapp said. The store in Whitehall is 10,000 square feet, while the Rutland store covers 50,000 square feet.

The store deals in unwanted inventory from other retailers, said Knapp. Items are screened for quality, and name-brands are sold. He said every kind of retail item can be found there except food. Also, electronic items are rarely sold at Upstate Discount Warehouse, he said, since it’s hard to find those items at a discount price.

The store, right now, is gearing up to move grills, patio furniture and items people tend to buy during summer. Toys, Knapp said, are one of Upstate Discount Warehouse’s best-selling items. He said they focus on selling name-brand products.

“It’s good to see new retail growth moving into Rutland Town,” said Joshua Terenzini, chairman of the Select Board. “In the internet era, there is still great value in the brick-and-mortar shopping locations throughout Rutland Town. We welcome them with open arms.”

The economic health of Diamond Run Mall has been a concern in recent years, as “brick-and-mortar” retailers struggle with changing shopping trends spurred by the internet.

Terenzini said in a past interview that communications between the town and the Diamond Run Mall’s owner, Zamias Services Inc. have improved.

Calls to Zamias on Tuesday weren’t returned.

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com

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