By Marty Finley – Reporter, Louisville Business First
Jan 14, 2016, 1:51pm EST Updated Jan 20, 2016, 8:39am EST
Quest Outdoors is closing its longtime store at the Paddock Shops and consolidating its store operations in an expanded space at Shelbyville Road Plaza in St. Matthews.
Ryan King, owner of the Louisville sporting-goods retailer, said the store at 4340 Summit Plaza Drive in the Paddock Shops will close by the end of January. He plans to consolidate that store and the Shelbyville Road Plaza store in a larger space at the St. Matthews shopping center: the 25,000-square-foot storefront once occupied by Borders Books and Music.
The company offers adventure gear for camping, hiking, climbing, winter and water recreation. King bought Quest Outdoors from Don Burch and Barbara Burch in 2010.
King said the decision to relocate into the three-level storefront was a rather hasty one, but he said it will give his company a chance to bring all of its operations under one roof.
Quest has been in its current space at Shelbyville Road Plaza for about five years and has had a presence at the Paddock Shops, formerly the Summit, since 2003, King said.
“You’re never where everyone wants you to be,” King said, laughing.
He hopes to have the new location opened by April, ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
About 13 employees will be relocated to the new Shelbyville Road Plaza location from the Paddock Shops store. Once that store closes, he said, those employees will assist at the Shelbyville Road location and with the relocation. He said it will be a blessing to have extra hands available to help with the move.
Quest has about 38 employees, King said.
“The people who work for me are like family,” King said. “No matter what happens, no one’s losing their jobs.”
In fact, he said, he will likely need to bring on “several” additional staff to help staff the new store because it will be a much larger space.
The store that is closing on Summit Plaza Drive is about 6,700 square feet, and the Quest store at Shelbyville Road Plaza in St. Matthews is just under 10,000 square feet. King closed a 5,000-square-foot Quest outlet shop at 2330 Frankfort Ave. late last year, he said.
Of the new 25,000 square feet space, about 20,000 square feet will be retail space, and the rest will be used for office and warehouse space. Quest also gains a loading dock with the new space.
King said he is working out the details of a strategic plan to ensure that Quest won’t close for more than three days during the relocation.
“We may not close down a day, to tell you the truth,” he said.
The relocation will require minor construction to the Borders space, which has been vacant for years. King said he plans to paint the space, replace the flooring and change the layout of the store. He said, he will have to build out space, for instance, for dressing rooms. He said he does not yet have a cost for the construction.
King brokered the new lease deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, with the shopping center’s owner, Louisville-based Hagan Properties Inc. He said the condition of the vacant space “is not bad.” Hagan will assist with the construction on the new space, but King did not explain the specifics of that agreement.
King said he does not intend to “reinvent the wheel” with the expanded store, but he said it will have new elements that were not found in other stores, though he declined to say what those elements will be.
King said Hagan had floated the idea of taking the space before, but he always felt it was too big until he realized the potential the space provides.
Tommy Edwards, a retail leasing representative with Hagan Properties, said Quest is able to expand well beyond its current footprint because the products the company offer have been so well received in Louisville.
As for the space Quest is vacating at Shelbyville Road Plaza, Edwards said no tenant has been signed for the space yet.
He declined to say what type of retail user Hagan is seeking for the space. “We’re talking with various retailers, and we’ll see what happens.”
This is the second store in recent weeks that the Paddock Shops has lost after natural food retailer Earth Fare announced its closure. Leasing at The Paddock Shops is handled by Louisville-based TRIO Commercial Property Group.
Justin Baker, a principal broker and partner with TRIO, said the firm is aggressively pursuing new tenants for the spaces but declined further comment.