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Computer store gets new locale

Connecting Point will move from the shadow of a parking structure's constructionto the former FoodLand store on Stevens Street.

The move, scheduled Aug. 20, will provide twice the retail space, anexpanded service department, classrooms and more parking, said Jeff Thomas,general manager.

We have inventory stacked in a back room because we don't haveany place to display it, he said. Connecting Point sells and servicesboth Apple and IBM-compatible computers.

The store's hours will be extended and it will be open every day, headded.

Employment at Connecting Point will increase from the present 14 to 20.

The computer store will lease half of the 20,000-square-foot store; theother half remains for lease, said Bob Mondry, Eagles Lodge secretary.

That's the first phase of Eagle Plaza, he explained, which will includefour or five small storefronts between the former grocery and Spicer's Restaurant.That space was long occupied by the burned-out remains of Pietro's Pizza.

The lodge will proceed with the second phase once the other half of theformer grocery is leased, he said.

We're going to put in sidewalks and replace the trees, hesaid. We have had a couple of people interested in the other halfof the building. We don't want a tavern.

Apart from the temporary loss of downtown parking, the move to StevensStreet coincides with the redevelopment of Medford Center as an entertainmentcomplex, Thomas said. A California company demolished the core of the developmentlast year and is rebuilding it around a 15-screen Cinemark movie theaterscheduled to open in September.

We looked at a location behind Applebee's (further north on BiddleRoad), he said. And we looked at property behind Costco. Buta lot of our customers don't want to have to deal with the traffic out there.

Thomas said Connecting Point is the oldest computer store on the WestCoast, started 22 years by owner Rick Mandell. It moved to downtown Medford5 years ago.

He is offering to lease the 7,000-square-foot store at 309 E. Main St.

It's been a great location for us, Thomas said. Oncethe parking structure goes up, it will be a great location for all kindsof businesses.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency has contracted for the three-level,390-space structure over the existing parking lot at Sixth Street and RiversideAvenue. Construction is scheduled to begin this month, with completion nextsummer.