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Virginia furniture retailer converting long-empty Tampa Rooms To Go

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 p.m. June 5, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Crews work to convert a Tampa Rooms To Go that closed in late 2020 into a Bassett Furniture.
Crews work to convert a Tampa Rooms To Go that closed in late 2020 into a Bassett Furniture.
Photo by Louis Llovio
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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Virginia retailer Bassett Furniture is opening a new store in Tampa and has begun a massive remodel of the long vacant former Rooms To Go on North Dale Mabry Highway, which it purchased last year for $7.65 million, according to county property records.

This will be the company’s fifth store in the state. It has one each in east Manatee County near University Town Center and in Estero near Coconut Point.

A company spokesperson did not respond Monday to a request for details of when the store will open and how many people it will employ.

The property is in Walter’s Crossing, a 31-acre shopping center right off of Interstate 275 on one of the busiest commercial corridors in the city. Tenants in the center include Target, Home Depot, Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods and Burlington Coat Factory.

The building Basset is moving into is an outparcel next to Duffy’s Sports Grill right on Dale Mabry and separately owned. The space was occupied by Room To Go for years before the retailer moved about two miles north in late 2020 to a standalone showroom on the corner of North Dale Mabry and Columbus Avenue, on the site of the former Jerry Ulm Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealership.

The purchase of the property was made through an LLC named JMD Tampa, which Virginia State Corporation Commission records show has the same Henry County address as Bassett.

Bassett Furniture Industries chair and CEO Robert H. Spilman Jr. told investors in an earnings statement in June of last year that it used the proceeds from the sale of a Houston property to purchase the vacant storefront in Tampa.

In the earnings statement, he said a replacement for the Houston store would open later this year and said of opening in Tampa that “we are excited to expand our presence in one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S.”

Spilman said in March, in another earnings statement, that work on the 25,680-square-foot store would begin in the spring.

And that work is now well underway.

On Monday, crews were on site working in and out of the cavernous building and a handful of trucks were parked at the curb. The familiar pitched yellow entrance of the Rooms To Go store was gone, and the doors that once welcomed customers were covered by large sheets of what appeared to be plywood. A door shaped square was cut in the wood to let people and equipment in and out. Inside, large metal dividers stood in the showroom as if blocking off future displays and a rope with small yellow flags cordoned off the roof.

Bassett was founded in 1902 in Bassett, Virginia, which is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By 1917 sales reached $1 million. Today, the company has about 100 stores in 23 states and Puerto Rico.

The company’s total sales dropped 8.7% in the first quarter of this year to $107.7 billion when compared with the first quarter of last year according to its March 30 earnings report.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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