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Business Journal: Kmart, Big Lots, El Dorado County Courthouse, Sauced BBQ & Spirits


Time to talk business and for a chat with  Sacramento Business Journal's Sonya Sorich.

A former Kmart store in Citrus Heights is getting a new future. What's planned for the building on Auburn Boulevard?

Sonya: Plans are underway to convert this former Kmart, which closed last year, into a Big Lots! store and an indoor trampoline park called Rebounderz.

Work could start as soon as this spring, and the goal is to have the two businesses up and running by the end of the year.

How big of a space are we talking about?

Sonya: The former Kmart covered 89,000 square feet. But with the rise of online shopping, it's rare for retailers to open huge new locations anymore. It was easiest to split the site in half.

What do the new businesses say about the current retail climate?

Sonya: Well, the trampoline park is another sign of the popularity of experience-oriented offerings. Rebounderz is a franchise based in Florida.

Over and over again, we hear about how shopping centers have to offer experiences that people can't buy online.

Big Lots! is a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, but most research suggests it's doing pretty well as a discount retailer. The company has recently added more brands, upgraded its food department and refurbished its stores.

Big Lots! closed a Citrus Heights location in recent years, but this is a sign the national retailer hasn't lost interest in that market.

Meanwhile, Kmart continues to shutter stores and confirmed more closures this week, though no local stores were on the list.

The city of Placerville is looking for public feedback about how to reuse the El Dorado County courthouse. What are some of the suggestions?

Sonya: This is an interesting survey that residents are seeing online and in utility bills.

It lists several options for the prominent building, including possible reuse as a hotel, performing arts center or even a public market. Residents also have the option to suggest their own ideas.

It's part of an ongoing study about the future of the building, which covers more than 18,000 square feet.

So, when could one of these ideas become a reality?

Sonya: That may still be years away. County and city officials want to replace the courthouse because of its age, but the effort has faced some obstacles, including issues with funding.

And since we're dealing with an old building, it would need extensive upgrades for any reuse.

The new year signals the arrival of a variety new restaurants in the Sacramento area. What are the latest additions?

Sonya: Sauced BBQ & Spirits opened earlier this week in downtown Sacramento. This is the first eatery to open in Downtown Commons, the retail area around the new arena. It's the fourth location for Sauced, which also has sites in Livermore, Petaluma and Walnut Creek.

Also, Insight Coffee Roasters is now open in the Milagro Centre, the food hub in Carmichael. And Amaro is scheduled to open Sunday on R Street. This eatery comes from the owners of Shady Lady Saloon, as well as Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham. It will serve pizza and Italian food.

But we've also seen some recent closures, right?

Sonya: Yes. At least three eateries closed at the end of 2016. The locally About a Bite Bakery shut its doors in downtown Sacramento. Its location on K Street opened in 2015.

Piggyback Ribs, a locally owned Folsom restaurant that also opened in 2015, has also closed. And The Coconut Midtown, a Thai restaurant on J Street, has closed to make room for the construction of a planned high-rise building. Its site on T Street remains open.

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