A local shopping center has changed ownership and is getting a face-lift in the process, according to a news release from the buyer, Capstone Properties.

Capstone purchased the former United Lane Shopping Center, now renamed as Capstone Crossing, from Bob Boling at the end of 2018.  Capstone Crossing is located one mile southwest of Athens on U.S. Rt. 50/Ohio Rt. 32. It currently contains PA’s Sure Stop, Fruth Pharmacy, Hair Studio 1 and Bargain Billy’s.

A separate news release from Capstone Properties announced that Athens Outdoors is opening its doors this March at the shopping center, featuring archery, hunting, fishing, ecotourism “and all things wildlife.” It will fill the space currently occupied by Bargain Billy’s, which for many years was occupied by a grocery store (known as “Bob’s” and other names). 

Capstone also owns Capstone Village, a townhome complex, just to the west.

“We plan to upgrade the signage and landscaping, and build on the easy accessibility, attractive setting, and convenience that (Capstone Crossing) provides,” Bob Prebe, manager of Capstone property management, said in the release about the shopping-center acquisition.

Capstone also owns the property surrounding the shopping center, according to the release, and potentially could expand the length of the west side of the property. “We could double the size of the existing footprint, and the location, affordability and amenities present a nice opportunity for a variety of potential tenants,” Capstone President David Funk said in the release.

Currently 2,500 square feet of retail/office space is available for lease at Capstone Crossing, the release said.

The second news release focused on the upcoming opening of Athens Outdoors.

“Athens Outdoors is geared to be the ‘go to’ destination for people that love the outdoors in Southeastern Ohio and beyond,” Chad Spangler, owner of Athens Outdoors LLC, said in the release. “Athens Outdoors will feature indoor archery and pistol firing ranges as well as a wide selection of supplies and equipment to meet any outdoors person’s needs.”

Store manager Kenny McCune added, “We will have an indoor archery league where we will get the local schools involved and introduce kids to archery and outdoor pursuits.” McCune is an archery technician with experience in archery competition, the release added.

The area lacks indoor shooting ranges, Spangler noted in the release, and Athens Outdoors facility will provide local police departments and individuals a safe place to host qualifiers. An outdoor 3D archery course is also planned.

Spangler grew up with a passion for archery and the outdoors, the release said, and has been hunting in southern Ohio since age 10. “It has always been a dream of mine to open a retail store like this,” he said. “The day I heard that (Ohio Valley Trading Post) was closing its doors, I took it as a message that this was the opportunity.” 

Capstone President Funk said he sees a lot of potential for an outdoor store in this area. “There is immense potential for Athens County and southeastern Ohio to grow its reputation as an outdoor Mecca, and now there are growing synergies with ecotourism programs at Ohio University and Hocking, trail systems, renowned hunting, ecotourism, and more,” he said in the release. “Athens Outdoors can serve as a center point for that activity.”

As for the shopping center acquisition, Funk told The NEWS in an interview on Tuesday, “The shopping center was a natural fit for us since we own the property surrounding it.”

“Our main office is also on United Lane, adjacent to the property,” he added.

Funk pointed out that Rt. 50/32 has the second-highest traffic count in Athens County.

“We feel the shopping center provides a great location, great access and a real convenience not only to the people on the South Side of Athens but to all of Athens,” he said.

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