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Forman Mills discount superstore opens in Pontiac, brings 400 jobs, revitalizes vacant properties

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Looking for a discount on brand name stuff?

With more than 400 jobs and plenty of discount shopping opportunities in tow in Southeast Michigan, Forman Mills Clothing Factory Warehouse will open not just a store, but its largest store on record, in Pontiac on Friday, March 27.

DSC00627This massive 88,000- sq.-ft. superstore is located in the Oakland Pointe Shopping Center at 250 North Telegraph Road in the space formerly occupied by Mervyns. It is the sixth one opened in Michigan by the chain. Doors open at 9:00 am.

“We’re proud to build stores in communities where people actually live and work and that other retailers seem to have almost all but forgotten. We want to help create jobs and revitalize communities,” said Richard Forman, the company’s founder and CEO.

Forman Mills recently was featured on the CBS show “Undercover Boss” and is known for its discounted merchandise. Discounts on designer fashion and home goods at nearly 80% prevent the brand names from even being advertised.

With merchandise from local teams like U of M to the Tigers, and all stops in between, this store will be the largest retailer in the area selling authorized apparel from major league and collegiate sports teams.  On top of that point of pride, there is also a wide variety of clothes and shoes for men, women and children for all occasions … even school uniforms.

“Our buyers negotiate with our vendors harder than any other company I know,” said Forman. “Hard working families deserve quality, fashionable apparel and home goods at affordable prices right in their own neighborhood. Our prices are ridiculously low to help consumers stretch their hard-earned dollars that much further. People shouldn’t have to break the bank to provide for their family.”

Along with the more than 400 jobs coming into the communities will also come an estimated $2 million invested annually in Pontiac and Southfield employee payrolls.

Can’t get to Pontiac? A Forman Mills store opened in Southfield in November. It’s located in the Southfield Plaza at 29708 Southfield Rd. As in Pontiac, this 55,000-sq.-ft. store is also in a revitalized space. This one was left behind by Marshall’s.

This act of finding abandoned stores that were at risk of becoming eyesores is hardly new to Forman Mills. Among the areas with commerce life breathed back into them included a vacant Detroit Toys R’ Us in 2005, a Highland Park location in 2006 and another Detroit store in 2007 at the corner of Warren and Connor. Forman Mills also expanded to a Flint location in 2010.

DSC00617 compressedjpgThe interest in such locations may come from the company’s humble beginnings.

In 1977 at the age of 17, with an $80 loan from his father, Forman launched his retail career. In the beginning, the company, which Forman personally oversaw and participated in every aspect, specialized in printed T-shirts at three for $5.  This offer drew attention to him.

A few years later in October 1981, the first Forman Mills store opened at Frankford Ave. in Philadelphia under the name Forman Knitting Mills.  The store had an interesting style that combined the usual indoor show room with an outdoor flea market.

Forman Mills Clothing Factory Warehouse superstore came to life in 1985. The flea market idea, which explored areas overlooked by other businesses, has since become a nationally respected chain. This success comes from the low prices for quality merchandise and unique marketing tactics like bright yellow facades and the “Forman Mills shout” in its commercials urging customers to “stretch those bills!”

An easily remembered slogan to say the least.

With the opening of the new Pontiac and Southfield stores, the company will have 35 store locations. There is no intention of 35 being a stopping point though. The company plans to open 30 new stores in the US in 2015. There will be more in Michigan.

Those stores will likely show up in vacant buildings that would have become eyesores. Not a bad business model … offering discount prices and bringing commerce back into empty, forgotten sites.

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6 comments on “Forman Mills discount superstore opens in Pontiac, brings 400 jobs, revitalizes vacant properties

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