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Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Assistant Manager Kris Arney scans inventory Wednesday at the new Designer Shoe Warehouse east of Glenbrook Square. The national retailer spent $300,000 in renovations at the 4310 Coldwater Road location, formerly World Market.

If the new shoe(store) fits, try it out

Employee Wendy Sutton arranges a handbag display Wednesday. The city store is DSW’s eighth Indiana location.

A national shoe retailer says Fort Wayne is a perfect fit.

Designer Shoe Warehouse will open its eighth Indiana location today at the former World Market location east of Glenbrook Square. The nearly 17,000-square-foot store employs 57 full- and part-time workers. DSW Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, operates 336 stores in 41 states, according to the company’s website.

It moves into a spot World Market vacated in January 2009. Last year, DSW reported an 11 percent sales increase to more than $2 billion. The retailer spent $300,000 in renovations at the 4310 Coldwater Road location. Tom Zuffa, DSW district manager, said it was only a matter of time before the company opened a Fort Wayne store.

“Just knowing the interest of people in Fort Wayne willing to drive 100 miles to shop us made it an attractive market for us,” he said.

Zuffa said the retailer has no qualms about moving next to a vacant Borders bookstore, which closed in May 2011.

Brad Sturges is a partner with CBRE Sturges, which represents the landlord that owns DSW’s site and the former Borders location. He said the commercial real estate company continues to field interest in the bookstore space, which spans about 26,000 square feet.

Interestingly, DSW intends to take over 16 former Borders locations – but not the one in Fort Wayne.

“No, that particular store is huge and the World Market location better fit our mold,” Zuffa said.

Even so, Sturges said a prime retail area such as Coldwater Road near the city’s only enclosed shopping mall isn’t likely to remain vacant for long.

For now, DSW plans on welcoming customers at its grand opening celebration today.

“We expect this to be a great market for us,” Zuffa said. “It’s funny. When you say Designer Shoe Warehouse in Fort Wayne (people get excited).”

pwyche@jg.net

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