Bethany Clough

This central Fresno Big Lots is closing. See where in north Fresno it plans to reopen

All Fresno-area former Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores have renters

There's new life for old Fresno-area Toys R Us/Babies R Us locations.
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There's new life for old Fresno-area Toys R Us/Babies R Us locations.

The central Fresno Big Lots is almost empty.

About three-quarters of the discount store at 5345 N. Blackstone Ave. near Barstow Avenue is nothing but roped-off empty shelves with clearance sale signs. The store is closing, though it has not set a specific closing date.

It is scheduled to reopen in north Fresno Thursday, Sept. 5.

The new location is at 7370 N. Blackstone Ave. — the former Babies R Us spot near River Park. That store closed, along with all the Toys R Us stores in the area, in spring 2018.

A grand opening is scheduled for on Friday, Sept. 13, after an 8:30 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.

The first 50 Big Lots shoppers on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 will get a free reusable shopping bag filled with “tasty treats” from Big Lots.

The new store will be one of Big Lots’ new format of stores.

It’s the same move Big Lots has made with other stores in Fresno and Clovis.

The Big Lots on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno closed and moved into the former Toys R Us down the street. The Clovis Big Lots left its store at Shaw and Peach avenues and moved into the former Rite Aid and Tuesday Morning stores on Shaw Avenue across from Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis.

New format

If the new store opening in September is anything like the others, it will be a dramatic change.

The stores that have relocated have moved into larger spaces. The north Fresno store will be 37,744 square-feet.

They moved their furniture departments to the front of the store, as furniture sales are an increasing source of income for the stores, which sell bedroom sets, patio furniture, couches, recliners, mattresses and more.

The new stores also have lower shelves that make it easier to see across the store, along with longer checkout stands, fewer signs and generally less clutter.

When the existing Big Lots on Blackstone Avenue closes, it will leave another vacancy behind in central Fresno.

The store is just across the street from where Trader Joe’s used to be located. That store moved north to Friant Road and Fresno Street in 2018.

The move inspired an outcry from upset shoppers who felt the store was moving too far away.

Also near the central Fresno Big Lots, a new building facing Blackstone was recently finished. It is home to shoe store Red Wing Shoes, with room for more renters.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.