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Bike, boat operation to rev up

Barney's Motorcycle and Marine plans to open its new facility on Gandy Boulevard in September, more than two years after a fire heavily damaged the business.

Beverly Hempstead Newton, one of the owners, said the new building at 10411 Gandy Blvd. is three floors with 65,000 square feet. When it is completed and furnished, it will be a $4-million project, she said. Opening date will be mid to late September.

Since the fire in June 2000, the longtime family business has been operating out of one of its smaller buildings, which will become the service department when the new one opens. Newton said the fire caused about $5.8-million in damage. Barney's, which moved here in the 1950s, then consisted of five buildings, most of which were torn down.

The first floor of the new building is a parking garage, which also will have shaded areas in which to stage used vehicles that are for sale. That means customers won't be browsing in the hot sun as they have to with the current setup, Newton said.

In addition to vehicles and accessories, the new building will have a theater in which to entertain kids who come in with their parents. It will feature lockers so bikers won't have to haul their helmets around as they shop and several areas of closed-circuit television where consumers can learn about new products or get safety information on bikes or watercraft in which they are interested.

Barney's sells Yamaha and Honda motorcycles, which make up about 60 percent of the business. The rest comes from jet boats and other watercraft, according to Newton. The company is expanding its Brandon location but recently sold its Brooksville site.

Beall's spreads out outlet store

ST. PETERSBURG _ Beall's Outlet Stores Inc. is opening on 34th Street N in the space vacated by Michaels arts and crafts.

The outlet will open Oct. 19, according to Charlie Boscarino, vice president of real estate and store development for Beall's outlet stores.

The outlet store will take 20,400 square feet for its store, making it one of the larger outlets in the chain that also includes Beall's Department Stores. That will leave a small space in the right corner for a Chinese restaurant, Boscarino said.

When the new outlet opens, Beall's will have 16 outlet stores in Pinellas County.

In March, Michaels moved from the 34th Street N location to 2026 66th St. N.

_ SHARON L. BOND

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