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Rooms to Go invests in expansion of Port Richey store

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Published:   |   Updated: October 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM

PORT RICHEY — Rooms to Go in Port Richey is the “little store” that could, company officials said Wednesday.

The privately held furniture retail chain demonstrated its faith in Pasco County 22 years ago, when the firm built its first store in the area in Port Richey.

Now the Seffner-based Rooms to Go is putting its faith in Pasco again, executives said during a ground-breaking ceremony before a large crowd of dignitaries.

A major addition will expand the showroom at 9500 Scenic Drive by about one-third, or 8,600 square feet, regional manager Mark Liotto and store manager Stephen Chick explained.

Remodeling will overhaul the existing storefront with about 16,000 square feet. The store will remain open during the project, Liotto noted. The company did not specify how much will be spent on the project.

The Port Richey location will earn superstore status once construction concludes within the next nine months. Founded in 1990, Rooms to Go now has more than 100 stores in nine states and Puerto Rico.

“It was the smallest store we built,” said Larry Higgins, vice president of sales for Room to Go. The Port Richey location started out at 11,000 square feet when it opened its doors in March 1991.

“This little store … was the number one store in all of Rooms to Go” for one recent quarter, Higgins said. Many top producers in the company have hailed from here.

“The value of business is the people and it’s the community that surrounds it,” Higgins commented. “Through all the hard times, this community supported this store.”

“I think some exciting things are going on,” Commissioner Jack Mariano said about the investment by the company. He also mentioned addition of right-turn lanes on U.S. 19, the proposed Sunwest subdivision in the Aripeka area and a county park on the former Sunwest mine site.

The expansion project is another sign the county has weathered the post-2007 recession and is starting toward recovery, Mariano remarked.

“I would never imagine standing here today,” Liotto said, “over 22 years later, speaking on behalf of this great company.”

Liotto first came on board as one of the salespersons in the Port Richey store and worked his way up through the ranks. “They believed in that young man and they gave him a shot.”

“We’re growing and going” with expansion in the county, Chick said in an interview Monday. Rooms to Go store here endured and thrived even as nearby stores such as Target closed West Pasco locations.

“It’s a tremendous company to work for,” Chick said.

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