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Southwest Missouri News--Joplin

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Marti Attoun, Joplin area

Two large chains have announced plans to open businesses in Joplin, and a third will relocate and double in size all on Range Line.

Office Depot, the world's largest seller of office products, will be going up at the corner of 32nd and Range Line, which formerly housed Luby's Cafeteria. That building is being leveled this week.

"This is the new prototype building for Office Depot. It's going to be gorgeous," said Bob Shetler, project superintendent for McPherson Contractors Inc., of Topeka, Kan. He expects the building to be finished late this summer.

Gary Schweikhart, spokesman for Office Depot Inc., said most of the company's outlets employ about 40 full-time and part-time workers. The store sells everything from paper clips to computers and offers office services, such as printing, faxing and copying.

A vacant building, which housed the former Payless Cashways at 1315 Range Line, is being renovated for a new Stein Mart, a clothing store.

"The company normally rehabs old buildings," said Susan Edelman, spokeswoman. She described Stein Mart as "a hybrid between a traditional department store and off-price store."

The 38,000-square-foot store will sell women's, men's and children's clothing, as well as bed and bath lines and other products.

Just north of Stein Mart, a 60,000-square-foot building is under construction for Hobby Lobby.

Scott Nelson, spokesman, said this will nearly double the size of the present store at Fourth Street and Range Line.

"This puts us in line with the rest of our store prototypes," he said. "We're excited to be getting our store up to the size where we can really be effective."

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