Michaels craft stores are moving forward with their plans to take over the massive 750,000 sq ft warehouse facility in WInslow NJ, which was previously the headquarters for competitor AC Moore. They will be upgrading the interior warehouse systems as well as adding 416 tractor trailer parking spaces to the property, bringing the total to approximately 556.
This will bring jobs back to the building, but we aren’t clear on numbers at this time.
AC Moore Closed Stores – Michaels Takes Over Warehouse
Almost a year ago to the day (Nov 25, 2019), we reported that Winslow based AC Moore Craft stores was exiting the retail store business, and competitor Michaels was taking over many (40) store leases AND the large 750,000 sq ft warehouse facility in Winslow New Jersey
The WInslow facility’s interior access roads connect to New Brooklyn Road but the building primarily runs along Grove St. The building location is close to Berlin-Cross Keys Rd and the Camden County Technical School.
A few months later in January 2020, the Courier-Post reported that the 383 workers at the WInslow headquarters were receiving notices of termination.
It’s should be noted that AC Moore also used this location as a headquarters building and possibly had a larger white-collar office worker staff than what Michaels will need going forward to run only as a distribution center.
Before any hiring and utilization of the building can start, Michaels is upgrading the warehouse to support their usage.
Planning Board documents state:
The Applicant proposes to upgrade and modernize the existing facility and thereafter to operate it as a high quality, cost-efficient warehouse distribution center that will serve as a fulfillment center for The Michaels Stores, Inc.
Property Changes – Tractor Trailer Parking
Interior changes alone don’t really qualify as necessary for Planning Board review (typically just construction permits), but with the take-over, Michaels is planning on adding significant additional parking areas to house tractor trailers.
Currently the property supports approximately parking for 140 tractor trailers, and Michaels will be adding parking for an additional 416, bring the total to 556 tractor trailer parking spaces.
To accommodate the new parking, the siteplan shows two new parking areas will be created.
Well first, the roadway driving in was called A.C. Moore Drive (which ended in a cul-de-sac), and the building’s interior roads connected off of A.C. Moore Drive.
Interestingly, when AC Moore designed this building they choose to put the headquarter offices on the other far side of the building. So you actually drive onto the property from the rear.
Incidentally, back in July of this year, Michaels successfully had Winslow Township rename the AC Moore Drive to “Makers Avenue”.
While a bit more generic in name, it does still tie to the Michaels organization who uses the term to describe those who create things with crafts, and more specifically… Michaels has gathered a group of expert crafters, bloggers and influencers to be a part of their Makers program.
Oh, so back to the new parking lots!
One of the two new parking area will be at the back end of the building… which as I described above is actually the entrance off of “Makers Avenue”. Currently there is a grass buffer area at the back of the large warehouse building, and that would be paved for parking.
The second area for tractor trailer parking will be situated at the end of Makers Avenue where the end cul-de-sac now is. That turnaround will be removed and it will become the entrance to the second new large parking area.
Siteplan image provided so you can see this visually. I wrote a lot of words to explain what you can determine from a 5 second look at a diagram!
Washington Township Planned Store
Because I know someone will ask… it was clear that the Washington Township A.C. Moore store on Tuckahoe Rd was slated to become a Michaels. They had a banner hanging on the entrance, and we wrote about it in early March of 2020.
And then less than 2 weeks later the state of New Jersey shut down all stores that weren’t essential (grocery stores remained open).
If you remember back to then.. no one knew for how long, and what the long term impacts would be. We still don’t really know the full impacts.
But for the majority of retail companies, revenue instantly stopped. And you need revenue to pay for new stores! I’m not sure everyone gets this!
Remember National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Dad was expecting a bonus and was going to put in a swimming pool. Dad doesn’t get the bonus, no swimming pool.
Very basic economics!
So I haven’t been able to directly chat with AC Moore executives, but I would bet that with Covid based shutdowns in place for a big part of the year, and more potentially looming… they decided to wait on the Washington Township store.
And yes it means they are probably paying a lease.
I will add that the website for the Cross Keys Place shopping center very clearly lists Michaels on the site plan.
Like.. someone at owner Shopcore felt so strong about Michaels coming in, that they took the effort to update the logo on the site plan.
So I think and hope it’s just “waiting for brighter days”
Planning Board Hearing
The Planning Board hearing is set for:
Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Mayor Dominic Maiese Municipal Complex
125 S. Route 73
Braddock, New Jersey,
The public can attend this hearing and have an opportunity to be heard.
Plans can be reviewed in advance at the same Municipal Complex.
(But I’ve really provided the core siteplan diagram)