CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A Conway shopping center that has been mostly empty for more than a decade is seeing new life breathed into its storefronts.
Roses Department Store and Harbor Freight have decided to move in and fill Bay Village Shopping Center's empty storefronts.
"Big box stores, a lot all over the country are sitting empty," said Victor Shamah, owner of the Bay Village Shopping Center. "We're looking forward to getting Roses there, to getting Harbour Freight in there and there's a couple more franchises that are looking at putting in some specialty franchise places in that shopping center now."
Roses is a discount department store and Harbor Freight sells discount tools.
Shamah said the plaza was originally home to a Wal-Mart, which people who live in Conway probably remember. Since it closed around 10 years ago, he said the center hasn't seen much success.
Some stores have moved in and out. Some are still there now. Shamah tried having a flea market and a farmers market, but said they didn't do well.
A Planet Fitness moved to the corner of the center by U.S. 501 last year. Shamah said it has done tremendously well at tipping off the revitalization.
The plaza is right off Church Street, across from Conway High School, and empty places like the shopping center tend to attract criminal activity.
"It's just a bad environment," Shamah said. "It gives people places to play and undesirables to hang out. And that's what we're trying to eliminate, the undesirables hanging out in the parking lot when it goes dark. That's when the violence and stuff happens."
Shamah said Roses should create about 100 jobs and may be open mid-to-late summer. Harbour Freight, he said, could bring up to 200 jobs. Crews were at the store on Friday working on getting it set up.