WEBB CITY, Mo. — Atwoods Ranch and Home celebrated the completion of its new store Wednesday morning with a grand opening at the location on South East Road near Highway 171.
The 68,000-square-foot store was constructed over the past year at a value estimated at $2.89 million. The company operated at its former location, 1899 S. Madison Ave., for more than a decade. The South Madison store is now closed.
“The Atwoods family has thought for a long time that Webb City deserves a better location than what we had,” Ken Buholt, Atwoods regional manager, said at the groundbreaking. “It’s a great facility, and I hope the customers love it.”
Steve Doran, Atwoods store manager, said the company had rented the 40,000-square-foot building on Madison and was unsure about any plans for it. He said the new store brings the company up to speed, as far as size and quality, with other Atwoods stores.
“It’s a large process to move from one building to another, and it looks easy, but it’s a lot of work,” Doran said. “We’re just excited to be on board because it’s a new start for everybody.”
All of the 32 employees from the original store will continue working at the new location, along with 10 new staff members, Doran said. The groundbreaking commenced last year in mid-April after the city sold the company eight acres of land in Centennial Park, a 300-acre development space near the roundabout on East Road.
The city had obtained the former mining land from the Environmental Protection Agency, which had cleaned up the mining waste and reclaimed the land. Once the cleanup was completed, the City Council designated the acreage as the Centennial Park Retail and Industrial Development Area.
Centennial Park has been steadily growing and will soon be home to a new hotel with a 30,000-square-foot convention center in the lot across from Atwoods. The hotel groundbreaking, which was originally slated for Wednesday, is being rescheduled to a later date.
Mayor Lynn Ragsdale joked of when the city first built the roundabout approximately nine years ago that it was nicknamed “The Roundabout to Nowhere.”
“We just knew in our hearts that someday and somehow this property was going to begin to develop, and it became a domino effect,” Ragsdale said. “Now, those dominoes have begun to fall and the movement is rapid. We’re very excited about that.”
The parking lot was bustling with activity as customers flocked to visit the new store. Sue Blackford, of Joplin, heard about the grand opening and didn’t mind driving an extra few miles to see it. She had shopped many times at the former location on Madison, but said it did not compare with the new store.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s more open, and it’s a bigger store. It’s in a nice location, too. I think Webb City will probably outgrow Joplin one of these days.”
Mike Blackstone, of Carthage, was also there on opening day purchasing animal feed.
“This is fantastic, and I’m very happy for them,” Blackstone said. “This is a good step.”
Wilbur and Fern Atwood opened the first Atwoods store in 1960 in Enid, Okla. More than 62 stores can now be found throughout five states. The new location is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The address is 220 S. East Road in Webb City.