Vancouver Plaza sees comings and goings

Burlington Coat Factory on the way, Boppin' Bo's closing

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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Construction continues on a new Burlington Coat Factory and a relocated Bed Bath & Beyond at the Vancouver Plaza, with both stores targeted for completion before the holiday shopping season begins.

In an unrelated change at the mall, Boppin' Bo's Malt Shop & Grill will shut its doors at Vancouver Plaza at the close of business Sunday, said L.J. Bowman, the restaurant's general manager and the son of its owners, Larry and Betty Bowman.

The elder Bowmans were not available for comment. L.J. Bowman said the restaurant was closing because of a near-doubling of rent, to almost $11,000 per month. He said his parents, both in their mid-60s, were suffering from "sticker shock" and were uncertain what to do next, although they intend to continue operating food booths at the Clark County fairgrounds. He said 17 employees would lose their jobs.

Joe Bell, spokesman for Cafaro Co. of Youngstown, Ohio, the mall's owner, said Betty Bowman had informed the mall owners that the couple wanted to close the restaurant before the two parties had even discussed rental rates. "This had nothing to do with anyone talking about rent," he said.

When it opens, Burlington Coat Factory will be a new addition to Vancouver Plaza, located east of Northeast 78th Avenue at Fourth Plain Boulevard. It will occupy 40,000 square feet in a building that previously housed Bed Bath & Beyond. An opening date has not been set, Bell said.

"The executives at Burlington Coat Factory are confident they'll be open in time for the holiday shopping season," he said by e-mail. "Based on the current pace of construction, it is possible the store will be open earlier than November."

The closest Burlington Coat Factory store is in Portland's Jantzen Beach mall.

Bed, Bath & Beyond moved in June to what in the industry is called a "pop-up" store space of 8,800 square feet. But the mall is renovating a 27,000 square foot space with the goal of being done in time for the holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving.

Bell said no existing stores were displaced to accommodate Burlington Coat Factory or Bed, Bath & Beyond's relocation within the shopping center.