The long-neglected shopping strip on the west side of Sandusky could become known as the K&K Center now that the home furnishing company bought the property off Venice Road.
“Our lease at the Sandusky Mall complex will be ending April 30, so the timing is right to relocate our retail store,” said Kyle Camp, president and CEO of K&K Interiors.
K&K Interiors bought the complex at 2609 Venice Road on Feb. 19 for $385,000 from Home Savings and Loan Co. of Youngstown, which took over the deed in a sheriff’s sale in 2011.
The company operates two divisions in Sandusky; a wholesale and a retail division.
The store near the mall has served as the home décor operator’s retail division for the least several years. The new property will allow the company to consolidate locations and grow both divisions under one roof, Camp said.
The company will continue to operate out of a 290,000-square-foot distribution warehouse located near the Westgate Plaza off Venice Road, said Stephanie Voss, K&K Interiors director of marketing. The company promised to revitalize the shopping center and the city’s west end.
“We plan to turn it around again, give it a new look, and provide the corner and surrounding area a new sense of energy,” said Camp, who emphasized that K&K Interiors has a vested interest in seeing the city’s west side do well.
The CVS store operating in the complex will remain, Voss said.
The plans for the site are still being developed but the exterior will look similar to the other K&K locations, she said.
That corner was once dominated by Joe Yost, who owned the Westgate Shopping Center that once housed Pat Catan’s, a barbershop and the Dollar Store.
In the 1960s one of the early discount retailers called Bargain Fair operated in the complex.
Yost also owned Hoppers mobile home park in the lot next to the shopping center at Venice Road and Tiffin Avenue.
Most of the stores in recent years left Westgate, and Hoppers mobile home park was forced to close last year due to unpaid water utilities.
Yost was charged with theft after allegedly collecting money for water bills but never paying the city.
Yost purchased Westgate Shopping Center in 2004 for $2.6 million, according to the Erie County Auditor’s website, and later defaulted on the loan.
“Hopefully that is the end of a bad era for that neighborhood,” said Erie County Commissioner Pat Shenigo.
K&K Interiors could be the company to change that area’s fate. Shenigo said the company’s leaders are innovators in their industry.
K&K’s pending move is good for the city, Sandusky ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. said.
“That’s a big deal. I think it’s great” he said. K&K Interiors is a world-class international operation and the move could trigger other businesses to consider the west side as a legitimate place to operate.
“It could be the start for important redevelopment” Murray said.