hhgregg

By late spring or early summer, you will have a new place to buy television sets and refrigerators.

Hhgregg, an Indianapolis, Ind.-based electronics and appliance retail chain, is moving to Atlantic County, into the site of a former Circuit City store located in the Hamilton Commons shopping center along Black Horse Pike in Mays Landing.

A "coming soon" banner hangs from the outer wall of the store, which is now being used by Spirit Halloween.

Hhgregg -- yes, it's lower-cased -- was founded in the 1950s and boasts about 120 stores across 11 Midwest and southern states.

In a July press release to investors, the company announced plans to open new stores in metropolitan Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Hhgregg hopes to open 40 to 50 new stores in the next few years.

Jeff Pearson, hhgregg vice president of marketing, said the company is trying to capitalize on Circuit City's audience. The Mays Landing Circuit City, like hundreds of Circuit City locations across the country, closed in March after the company filed for bankruptcy. The closure gives hhgregg a chance to chip into a regional marketplace dominated by big box stores Best Buy and Walmart.

"We know we're going to have to work to gain business, and people won't start magically shopping at hhgregg, but we're excited to be in a new market," Pearson said.

Pearson declined to discuss any other potential store locations at this time.

Company CEO Dennis May discussed the company's impending growth in an Oct. 1 article in "Business Week."

"When a window opens, we take advantage," May said. "Circuit City's demise no doubt is a big part of that opportunity."

The CD racks and stacked "Guitar Hero" video games once inside the Mays Landing Circuit City are gone -- replaced by green glowing witch ornaments and tubes of fake blood sold by current, seasonal resident Spirit Halloween.

Eventually the ornaments and tubes will make way for construction ... and later, for Blu-Ray players and digital cameras. Spirit Halloween assistant manager Dave Shepherd was surprised to see the hhgregg banner outside the store.

"I saw the banner, and I said 'oh man,'" Shepherd said. "It's strange to see the sign, because we'll be open here until mid-November."

And about half a year from now hhgregg is expected to open its doors in Atlantic County, offering customers another option besides Best Buy ... Walmart ... and a new place to buy televisions and refrigerators.

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