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  • KGUN 9 Tucson News

    More shopping options for Tucson’s East Side

    By Craig Smith,

    30 days ago

    Tucson’s far east side has been a retail desert, where shopping lagged behind neighborhood growth.

    It used to be if you lived in Vail or the southeast side of Tucson, you might have to do a good bit of driving to get much selection where you shop but now, big box stores are booming.

    Loads of new homes have ended the days when if you lived on the far southeast side you lived way out in the country.

    Suzee Niggl remembers the days when if you needed something, you would not find it nearby.

    “The only thing there was Walgreens up on Vail. Overtime. You got Chase. You got Eegee’s and all these, you know, these fast food restaurants that come in, and now we got Home Depot coming up, which I'm kind of glad they're there because now we have to drive all the way to Pantano, so I can appreciate that.”

    Home Depot says what it calls its Rita Ranch store store will create about 140 jobs when it opens in late August.

    Tractor Supply’s new store on Speedway near Camino Seco will also open in August and add fifteen jobs.

    Land near Kino and 36th will hold a huge new Bass Pro Shop with its celebration of Fishing and Boating.

    Bob Buckel moved to the area too recently to experience the sparse shopping options that used to come with life on the far east side.

    “There's a lot of retail around here. A lot of handy stores, like I said, Fry’s, Safeway, TJ Maxx, there's a lot of things very close to Rita Ranch in this area.”

    Reporter Craig Smith asked: “And before you were in an area where things were on the decline.”

    Bob: ”Yeah, I moved here from an area in Michigan that was on a decline. Yes. So this is all good for me.”

    Some people have mixed feelings about the retail boom.

    Jasmin Dempsey says, “I kind of wish there wasn't so much over here because I really liked the country style life and I mean, it's nice having everything over here but it would have been better to not have so much over here.”

    Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9 . With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter .

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