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Illinois Retailer To Bring New Jobs To Gainesville, Ocala

A Rural King store in Rantoul, Illinois. (Danny Baza Blas/Flickr)
A Rural King store in Rantoul, Illinois. (Danny Baza Blas/Flickr)

A new retailer is set to bring over a hundred jobs to North Central Florida this summer.

Rural King, a retailer based in Illinois, is planning to open three new stores in Florida this July, including locations in Gainesville and Ocala. A third store will be located in Zephyrhills.

Brian Hutchins, vice president of business development for Rural King, estimates that each store will hire between 75 to 80 new workers for a mix of full-time and part-time positions.

Additionally, the stores will hire workers to help set up the new locations. Currently, there are job listings available for management positions on the Rural King website for the Gainesville and Ocala stores.

The Gainesville store will be located in the old Sam’s Club location on Northwest 13th Street, pending permits.

Hutchins said they will do a “light remodel” on the building, but said the building already fits the company’s vision well.

“It is a big box building, and we are a big box retailer,” Hutchins said.

He said Rural King chose Gainesville as a place to put a new store because they believe their store appeals to the community.

“Not only do you have the college population there, but you have the farm and agriculture community there in Gainesville as well,” Hutchins said.      

There will be a neighborhood workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 7 as part of the permit process to open the location. The meeting will be held at Knights Inn on Northwest 13th Street at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Ocala store is currently being built from the ground up at the intersection of U.S. Route 27 and Northwest 27th Avenue.

Hutchins said all three new Florida locations are currently planning to open on the same day, July 17.

Rural King is a specialty store focusing on home goods and farm supply. The chain currently has five Florida locations open, including Crystal River and Leesburg.

Tyler Wilson is a reporter at WUFT News. He can be reached at (407)-492-1422 and at tylerw18@ufl.edu.