Covington is getting five new businesses, including three restaurants, a medical products company and a women’s clothing boutique on the square, continuing an uptick in retail businesses for the city.
Little Phillies opening sports bar
After struggling to remain relevant in recent years, The Shoppes at Martins Crossing, the old Walmart location (as opposed to the old, old Walmart location) is gaining three new tenants, including a sports bar.
Little Phillies, the local hotspot known for its Philly cheesesteaks, is opening a sports bar location in the shopping center that will have a much large kitchen and serving capacity than its current location on Industrial Boulevard, said owner and general manager Thomas Orgo.
The current location, across from the Covington Walmart, will remain open to continue to serve longtime residents who like the location and the industrial employees who work nearby.
“The factories and all these companies, they built our business,” Orgo said.
Little Phillies is opening its second store in the spot that used to house Gigi’s Pizza and Wings; however, the restaurant is also planning to take over part of the space next door and will have a 2,500-3,000 square foot store that will be able to seat more than 200 people by the time the work is done, Orgo said. The spot next door used to house a gym.
Orgo said it’s been his father’s dream to open a sports bar for decades, but when the family moved to Covington, it couldn’t afford the cost of a larger restaurant and Little Phillies was born.
Orgo said the new location will be a legitimate sports bar with 14 flat screen TVs showing all the major events, as well as a full restaurant section; however, Orgo emphasized the fact the restaurant would focus on family-friendliness.
“It’s not going to be rowdy. It’s going to be a nice sit-down place, where you can bring your family,” Orgo said Tuesday. He said the bar will be separated from the dining area. “We’re going to make sure it doesn’t turn into a (pure) bar.”
The menu will be the same, focusing on cheesesteaks and wings, but Orgo said they may add some more bar food, like fried okra. In the future, the restaurant may even consider getting into the pizza business, Orgo said.
The new location is expected to be open by late August or early September, Orgo said.
Marco’s Pizza also adding 2nd store
Marco’s Pizza is also opening a location in the Martins Crossing shopping center, taking a 3,200 square-foot spot in between Ingles and the former Walmart spot.
The national pizza chain already has a location at the intersection of Brown Bridge and Salem roads, but the owner wanted to expand to the east side.
Carmichael’s coming too
Carmichael’s, a home medical manufacturer and drug compounding company, is also opening in Martins Crossing, taking a 2,088 square foot space on the opposite end of the building Little Phillies is entering.
Carmichael’s has a location in Monroe, but Phillips said the company felt there was a growing need and market in Newton County, given the increasing presence of assisted living, hospice and home companion care companies.
Carmichael’s sells home medical equipment, including items like oxygen equipment, nebulizers, hospital beds and wheelchairs. The company also has a pharmacy and can do drug compounding, creating custom drugs or putting drugs into different form, including pills, creams and even gummy bears or flavored compositions.
Jimmy John’s coming, Ross update
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is going to build a store on U.S. Highway 278 on the vacant lot two spots down Krystal.
The sub and club sandwich maker, known for its willingness to deliver, is expected to open in late fall, said Serra Phillips, director of commercial development and retail for the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.
“What we’ve heard was one of the biggest attractions was really the change along 278 and what’s happening there and in Newton County,” Phillips said.
Jimmy John’s will be locating just down the street from Ross, whose new location in the Covington Corners shopping center at the intersection of U.S. 278 and Elm Street has been totally gutted by Halpern Enterprises, which owns the shopping center.
Ross is hoping to open in late summer, and Halpern Property Manager Brad Oppenheimer said the rebuilt store will look great.
“We have been looking a number of ways to bring Covington Corners to a similar look and feel of the new Ross Façade, which I can tell you is going to be beautiful,” Oppenheimer said. “We will be performing minor renovations to the pylon, which we feel our tenants and the community would be more than pleased with.”
Oppenheimer, who also manages the Newton Plaza shopping center for Halpern, said interest has increased at both locations since Ross’s arrival.
Besides Ross, Moe’s and Firehouse Subs, two other national chains, opened in 2013 along U.S. 278, adding some variety to the dominance of fast food restaurants.
Women’s boutique off Square
Finally, a trendy women’s boutique is opening up on Monticello Street just off the square and the owner promises it’ll be “something like you’ve never seen before.”
Phillips said the owner, Judy Hernandez, is one of the most passionate people she’s ever met, and was thrilled to open a store in downtown Covington.
Phillips is also excited to see another spot on the Square filled, as the store, named Shelvie Jean after Hernandez’s mother, will fill the former Covington Flower Shop location next to Plain Nuts.
“She was doing some big remodeling work to that store,” Phillips said. “It’s a large spot downtown. I don’t know if many people know how big that spot is. They’re going to have a full warehouse in the back and are looking to do internet sales as well (as retail).”
For more information about the store, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/shopshelviejean.