Produce Junction Opens in Dover, Vacant Spots Filling along US 1 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Produce Junction Opens in Dover, Vacant Spots Filling along US 13

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Produce Junction is now open in Dover (photo: WBOC) Produce Junction is now open in Dover (photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Empty big box stores on the main stretch of US 13 through Dover have long plagued the city, but things have really started to take a turn for the better.

Produce Junction's opening a week ago is a major step forward in that revitalization process. Its building had long been empty and had run through many tenants in recent years.

"Tiger Direct, Office Max, furniture store," said Bill Neaton, director of economic development for Dover.

Neaton says produce junction won't be just another store that comes and goes.

"That's not going to happen. First of all, they purchased that building. So, they are committed to that building. The spent well in excess of $1 million renovating that building."

It has been a long time since the building has been full of people to buy things. On Friday morning, it was certainly bustling.

Produce Junction specializes in things like fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. It has 18 other locations all in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mark Whayland, the store's manager, says the company opened up a brand new market when it chose to come to Dover.

"It's our first time in Delaware," Whayland said. "The owner wanted to get in Delaware for a while, came across this property and made a great deal."

While Produce Junction has opened, work continues on the site that used to be the old Dover Walmart.  A number of businesses, including Ross, Petco and Five Below, will lease space at Dover Towne Center. It is scheduled to open in the spring.

One by one, once-vacant sites are starting to fill up along the highway. Neaton stresses how important that is for Dover.

?"If you go down a long stretch of commercial corridor, and there's nothing but empty buildings, you say, 'Why would I want to locate my business in Dover?' But you're not going to be able to say that anymore," said Neaton. "All the buildings are going to be full."

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