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Shopping center getting makeover

A shopping center in Ellsworth's midway district is being given a facelift and a new name.

The 40,000 square foot center which presently houses Family Dollar, JoJo's Jewelry, Midway Motors and Village Pharmacy will be known as The Village Center, according to owner George Jensen. Jeff Esterby Construction is the contractor for the project.

The former location of Hinck's supermarket in the east end of the center is being divided into five new spaces, Jensen said Thursday. New walls have been built inside and new windows installed. The spaces at the east and west ends of that 18,000 square foot section are nearly completed, while more finishing work remains for the area inbetween.

"We're 75 percent complete now and hope to be done by August," he said.

Tenants, whom he declined to identify, have been lined up for four of the five spaces, which range between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet each, he said. However, one of those occupants is Midway Motors, which opened in the center earlier this year. Local people are involved with the others.

The front of the entire complex will have a new look, he said. Besides repainting, a new porch-rail treatment will be added along the length of the rooftop and cedar posts will be featured at regular intervals. Signage and other highlights are planned.

New plumbing and electrical services are in progress throughout, the owner said. The interior was gutted last winter, involving removing the ceiling and all fixtures to the bare walls, with renovation beginning approximately three months ago.

"I'm very happy with how it's turning out," he said, noting this is the first such extensive remodeling at the location.

Jensen, a veteran of the grocery industry, said he bought the property in the mid-1980s from Vince Schulte, who originally developed it. At that time, the center included a Supervalu, Ben Franklin, Sears outlet, pharmacy and clothing-variety type of outlet.