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Runnings breaks ground on new 74,000-square-foot Worthington location

Runnings employees and Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors celebrate the groundbreaking on a new 74,000-square-foot Runnings facility along Oxford Street. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Having already made progress over the last month, Runnings on Friday officially celebrated construction on its new 74,000-square-foot building.

The company hopes to move into the Oxford Street location in February or March 2019 and host a grand opening in spring, said Dan Hermann, Runnings COO.

The new store is nearly three times as large as the existing location. By greatly expanding every area of its business — especially in clothing and footwear — and adding a large selection of firearms and sporting goods, the store aims to grow its customer base while offering more for its regular patrons.

“We think we’re going to have a great store,” Hermann said. “I think we’re going to keep people in the community. They won’t leave town to shop, they’ll shop here.”

Runnings will hire an additional 15 to 20 employees to handle its inflated operation.

The company has long been looking for more space to expand, as it has outgrown its location on Humiston Avenue. That became a possibility when Aaron Marthaler’s Yellow Company LLC bought the former Northland Mall property in 2016 in an attempt to redevelop the then-empty lot.

“When we lost the mall, it was a bad time for everyone,” said Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle. “But with Marthaler Chevrolet’s new store over there on this site, and now with a new, great, expanded Runnings store, our community is lucky to have you guys.”

The roughly $5.5 million project is being undertaken by Marshall contractor Sussner Construction, which built Runnings’ 59,000-square-foot Redwood Falls location. The store opened in 2014, and on time at that.

Workers have already made progress on leveling out the foundation. The building’s steel structure will arrive in early July.

Runnings owns the entire 10.6-acre property and intends to use all of it. Hundreds of parking spots will take up the space that the massive building does not. The building will also feature and outdoor area for farm supplies and equipment.

Runnings plans to sell its existing building, open for business since 2000, once construction is complete.