March 10, 2009

Armadillo Indoor Marketplace Expands to Seven Days a Week, Introduces Texas Super Dollar Store

Armadillo Is Ideal Destination for Recession Shoppers

HOUSTON, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Armadillo Indoor Marketplace, a huge indoor market forum for a broad array of merchants and entrepreneurs, will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting April 1. Established in 2006 as a weekend marketplace, this move more than doubles the Armadillo's current hours of operation.

The Armadillo is located at 431 E. Airtex Drive, exit 63 off of I-45 North in Houston, Texas.

The Armadillo's expanded schedule will coincide with the opening of the 12,000-square-foot Texas Super Dollar Store, which will have its own exterior entrance as well as access within the mall.

"People are looking for bargains these days, and the Armadillo is a great place for that," said Larry Gottula, president of the Armadillo Indoor Marketplace. "Our merchants offer shoppers money-saving deals on everything from cell phones to furniture to designer shoes. We believe this is a good time to offer our merchants and customers expanded opportunities to sell and to save."

While traditional retail outlets have struggled since October 2008, with sales declining in every month but January, ABC News reports that sales at thrift stores and flea markets have steadily increased. Armadillo merchants have benefited from this frugal shopping trend, with weekend foot traffic up 20 percent at the Armadillo.

This increase in traffic drove management's decision to expand hours of operation.

"During the past two years, we have seen some of our more successful merchants graduate to locations that are open seven days a week," Gottula said. "Extending our days and hours of operation will help our current merchants who are ready to take that step into a full-time operation, and it provides a great opportunity for new merchants who want to be able to reach customers seven days a week."

The Armadillo will attract even more foot traffic with the opening of its first permanent anchor, the Texas Super Dollar Store, which will carry a wide range of household and personal necessities and niceties including kitchenware, health and beauty products, soap, paper goods, toys, holiday and seasonal merchandise, office supplies, greeting cards, batteries, lighters, candles and glassware.

Dollar stores such as the new Texas Super Dollar have been another bright spot in a gloomy economy. Consumer penny-pinching is stimulating counter-cyclical sections of the economy as people choose to buy discount goods over name brands, according to Greg Spielberg of Business Week.

"The Texas Super Dollar Store complements the Armadillo perfectly in terms of offering shoppers a great opportunity to find bargains," Gottula said. "The new full-time Armadillo will be the ideal destination for recession shoppers."

While the Armadillo will be open seven days a week, it will continue to cater to its weekend merchants.

"We certainly haven't forgotten our weekend warriors, who are a popular part of our merchant mix," Gottula stressed. "The expanded schedule will raise awareness about the Armadillo overall, and this will benefit these weekend warriors as well. Plus, we will be increasing the advertising and promotions budget for April to promote the new schedule and increase customer awareness."

Interest in the Weekend Sales Center has jumped significantly since the changes were announced to merchants. In order to accommodate this heightened demand, the Armadillo will allow those seeking weekend hours only to reserve space in advance. Formerly space in the Weekend Sales Center had been on a first-come, first-served basis.

"The Armadillo is a destination shopping center with a plethora of retailers offering a wide variety of goods," Gottula noted. "Our events and promotions, such as car shows, contests and concerts, make for a unique shopping experience that's great for merchants and shoppers alike.

"By offering the Armadillo shopping experience everyday alongside a great bargain store like the Texas Super Dollar Store, the Armadillo Indoor Marketplace will have something for everyone."

Opened in August 2006 as a weekend market forum for independent vendors and entrepreneurs, the Armadillo Marketplace is a 240,000-square-foot facility offering space to vendors ranging from 100 square feet to 10,000 square feet. The mix of retailers and merchants includes clothing, mobile phones, furniture, home decor, professional art, designer shoes, premium candy, snow cones, gelato ice cream, hot tubs and spas, sun glasses, discount books, custom framing and even a pottery painting studio for kids.

SOURCE The Armadillo Indoor Marketplace