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Runnings opens in Austin

Austin’s newest business is finally off and running.

Runnings opened a 95,000 square foot store over the weekend at 1400 18th Ave. NW in the former Kmart.

“The whole area seems to be buzzing about our new store and we’re just very excited to finally be open.” store manager Everett Hackensmith said in a press release. “The response from customers who have stopped in so far has been incredible. We hope everyone will come in and visit our new store.”

Runnings sells sporting goods, clothing, housewares, tools, pet, farm, lawn & garden, toys and more. Along with a large inventory of hunting, archery and fishing equipment, Runnings will sell a wide assortment of pistols, rifles and shotguns. Runnings hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The store will employ about 50 people.

Founded in 1947, Runnings is privately owned and operated. The company currently has 34 stores and employs more than 1,300 workers across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. The company recently announced plans to open three new stores in upstate New York in the fall of this year.

With stores in Red Wing, Windom, Marshall and Worthington, Runnings officials saw Austin as a good fit. Runnings purchased the building in September 2012 for $3 million.

A grand opening is planned for the week of May 12, with many exciting events planned including an appearance by former NFL star and Minnesota Viking, John Randle, a hot dog feed, exotic animal petting zoo, vendor demonstrations, more than $50,000 in prize giveaways including a 2014 F-150 truck and more.

In July 2012, Sioux City-based Bomgaars expressed interest in buying or leasing the building. The Port Authority considered the retailer’s request for a $150,000 loan until Runnings stepped in and bought the building without a subsidy from the city. The building has been empty since Kmart closed in May 2010.