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American West Plaza to open this spring

The American West Plaza on West Villard Street in Dickinson plans to be open this spring less than a year after construction began on the two-floor, 18,000-square-foot strip mall at the site of the old Sax Motor Co. lot. (Press Photo by Nadya Faulx)

Two new tenants are confirmed for Dickinson's American West Plaza, the under-construction strip mall at the intersection of Villard Street West and Third Avenue West.

Women's clothing store Mainstream Boutique and Continental Market, an independent store carrying authentic Ghanaian goods, are the latest additions to the building, joining a roster of new additions that already includes Subway and Domino's when the development opens later this spring.

Less than a year after construction began on the two-floor, 18,000-square-foot American West Plaza at the site of the old Sax Motor Co. lot, work is nearing completion, developer Bryan Nelson said Friday.

"Tenants can start doing build-out within a week," he said, adding it will likely take about six to eight weeks for each retailer to set up the individual spaces.

New England native Leah Madler will helm Mainstream Boutique's first Dickinson location; the Minnesota-based franchise already has locations in Bismarck, Minot and Fargo.

Madler, who will leave behind a 20-year career as a registered nurse to oversee the store full-time, said owning a store is "something I've always wanted to do."

"One day I was just shopping around Dickinson and thinking, 'We could use some more retail establishments,'" she said of her decision to become a first-time franchisee with Mainstream. "I do like their clothing line. I do like their stores. I decided they were a good fit for me."

The shop will carry a variety of women's clothing, jewelry and accessories, Madler said, filling a niche in Dickinson. She signed a lease with American West Plaza in January and is in the process of preparing to build out the store with the help of the franchise's headquarters, but says that thanks to social networking, "the excitement is starting to build" around the store's arrival in Dickinson.

The downtown-adjacent location, with its variety of tenants, will "definitely" bring new audiences to the store, she said.

Continental Market will "have all the latest African clothing and footwear in Dickinson," the store's Facebook page says. It arrives within a year of Amma's African and Caribbean Market, which opened in 2014 just blocks away and carries a variety of African, Caribbean, Asian and Latin American foods.

"It's definitely something different," Nelson said. "Obviously, the more variety you get, the more of a genre you're going to get from every side."

He said the concept of the strip mall brings retailers to one location and allows visitors to window shop. Four of the five downstairs spaces are occupied, and a fifth is still available; all of the "business-orientated" office spaces on the second floor are still available and will be ready to rent April 1, Nelson said.

Dickinson's third Subway location -- the chain already has restaurants in the T-Rex Plaza and Walmart -- and second Domino's were the first tenants to sign leases with the development. Bill Leiker, co-owner of Domino's on 12th Street West, told The Press in October that the business at the current location is "crazy busy," and the new, theater-style restaurant in American West Plaza will be able to serve a greater number of customers.

Crews are close to completing work on the development's exterior and second-floor interior, Nelson said, and should finish by March 31. GT Architecture, the firm behind the red-brick building, designed American West Plaza to mirror neighboring developments, Nelson said, including Dacotah Bank across the street and Evolution Gym next door.

"We want to make it look like the rest of the area," he said.

Madler said she chose the location for Mainstream Boutique not just because she wanted to be in the downtown area, but also because she "liked the fact that Bryan's building is locally owned also."

She said she expects to begin hiring her sales team shortly -- a small number of staff locally, she added -- as she readies the store for its spring opening.

"That's coming down the pike here pretty soon," she said of the build-out. "I'm getting a banner made to put outside of the store to let them know we're coming soon."

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