Bethany Clough

New stores to open sell wine, cleats and giant packs of toilet paper

Dick’s Sporting Goods is taking over the former Sports Authority at River Park, but probably won’t open until spring of 2017.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is taking over the former Sports Authority at River Park, but probably won’t open until spring of 2017.

From Fresno to Hanford, new stores are coming to the Valley.

They range from a sporting goods store to a big-box store and at least one new-to-Fresno national wine store. Plus, how does the scent of fresh-baked pretzels wafting through the air while you shop at an outdoor center sound?

Dick’s Sporting Goods

First, Dick’s Sporting Goods is taking over the former Sports Authority at River Park.

But don’t get too excited yet. Despite the “opening soon” sign, the store won’t open until spring of 2017. Workers are demolishing the guts of the building and will make it look like a Dick’s store.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you may remember when Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and then closed its Fresno store during a flood of 12 bankruptcies and closures in the Valley.

Since many Sports Authority stores still had time left on their leases, the leases were auctioned off in bankruptcy court. Dick’s snapped up 31 of them, including the one in Fresno.

Wetzel’s Pretzels

If you’ve been wondering what the new structure being built in front of River Park’s movie theater is, I have an answer: Wetzel’s Pretzels.

The pretzel place quietly opened recently and the center’s owners are hoping shoppers are enticed into following their noses to Wetzel’s.

“They do really well in Fashion Fair, so we hope outdoors that that smell is everywhere,” says River Park spokeswoman Tracy Kashian.

Total Wine & More

Fresno is a getting its first Total Wine & More store in the Villaggio shopping center, the same center that is home to Barnes & Noble. It will open in 18,000 square feet at the former Ethan Allen store, which closed earlier this year.

Total Wine & More calls itself America’s Wine Superstore and has more than 140 stores nationwide. A spokesman confirmed it was coming to town, but declined to provide details. It doesn’t look like work inside has started, so it will likely be next year before it opens.

Total Wine & More stores carry 8,000 wines from every wine region in the world and 3,000 spirits, according to its website. Stores also carry about 2,500 beers, from Coors Light to small hard-to-find microbrews.

This is a bit of a surprising choice to rent the space, considering that the shopping center already has a locally owned store that has specialized in wine (along with other things) for years: The Sierra Nut House. And BevMo! is barely a half a mile south.

Sierra Nut House owner JoAnn Sorrenti isn’t happy about Total Wine moving in so close, but says her store will continue with its own niche.

“It’s another big chain coming to Fresno,” she says. “We try to specialize in small producers that are local and people that would never get their wine into mass distribution. We’ve always tried to do that.”

Hanford Costco

The Hanford Costco that has been years in the making is finally open.

The store opened earlier this week at 2395 E. Lacey Blvd. at Highway 43 near Highway 198. It’s got all the good stuff that Costco stores typically do: A gas station, a tire center, bakery – everything except an optometrist.

There’s another 350,000 square feet of retail space that will be built in the coming years.

A building under construction now will open by June of next year and have a Starbucks, Verizon, Subway and a yet-to-be-named local Japanese restaurant, says developer John Kashian.

A Panda Express and a Taco Bell are also in the works, he said.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough