COLUMBIA — After a seven-year vacancy, the former Nowell’s grocery store building on East Nifong Boulevard is expected to have a new tenant. Buffalo Wild Wings in Columbia is moving to the building in August from their current location, 3908 Peachtree Drive.
Buffalo Wild Wings would only take up a portion of the building, which was expanded from 30,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet in the 1990s, according to the print archives of the Missourian.
The Nowell’s grocery store chain was started in 1957 with the first store built on Worley Street by John Nowell. Two more stores, on North Keene Street and East Nifong Boulevard, were built later. The store on East Nifong closed in 2003, after the closing of the one of Worley Street.
Construction has begun on the new space, which will be slightly smaller than the old location, said Christina Linnenbringer, marketing manager for Buffalo Wild Wings. She expects the move to be in mid-August. The old location will stay open until moving day.
For the restaurant, better visibility is a big reason for the move.
“We wanted to get somewhere more prominent,” said Linnenbringer.
Businesses in the Rock Bridge Shopping Center are optimistic about their new neighbor. Jessica Schlosser, owner of Lizzi and Rocco's Natural Pet Market, said the more businesses coming in, the better.
"Anything coming in is beneficial," Schlosser said. "We're really excited that something is moving in there."
The shopping center includes the pet market, a bank, a tanning salon, Goodwill and Hy-Vee. Schlosser hopes that every business and consumer in the area will benefit from the new restaurant.
Kathy McCain, assistant manager at Goodwill, said she hopes it might help drum up more business in the shopping center. "I think that it will help all of these businesses in here," McCain said.
The corporate headquarters of Buffalo Wild Wings is going in a different direction regarding color schemes and the style of the company, so it is good timing for a new location, Linnenbringer said.
The new location of Buffalo Wild Wings will also be getting new TVs and better audio systems. The new location is expected to be able to seat the same number of people.