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Kohl's to debut this week

5 stores are set to open along the Wasatch Front

Ranae Finch lives her job, even in the few moments of rest between late nights and early, early mornings.

At least, that's what it feels like to Finch, manager of the new West Valley Kohl's department store, one of five Kohl's opening in Utah this week.

"I throw freight in my sleep," Finch said, a broad smile brightening weary eyes. "But it's a good thing."

As of late last week, Finch and her 200 employees were hard at work, gearing up for the store's grand opening on Thursday.

In addition to Finch's store, 3031 S. 5600 West, Kohl's will open stores in West Jordan, Draper, American Fork and Layton.

The store openings mark Kohls' debut in Utah, and spokeswoman Lori Sansoucie said the two should get along just fine.

"We are careful to select locations that are adjacent or near cities or towns where we already have stores and where it makes business sense," Sansoucie said. "Our stores are family-focused, and we look for cities like Salt Lake City that have high concentrations of families with children."

Each store is freestanding and covers about 88,000 square feet, surrounded by a sea of parking spaces. Which, according to Finch, is part of what sets Kohl's apart, and part of what will make it appealing to Utah shoppers.

"We offer name brands, convenience, a clean, friendly environment and affordable prices," Finch said. "We're not paying to be in a mall, so I think we can offer better prices.

"I think Utah is a great market for Kohl's," she said. "There's not really anything like it, where it's its own big-box retailer, away from a mall setting. Especially in this area, there's nothing, without having to drive clear to 3500 South to the mall. We offer something different from a Kmart or a Wal-Mart or a Target — it's higher-end merchandise at discounted prices."

Finch acknowledges that the store has chosen suburban locations but said the company "goes where the growth is." And the West Valley Kohl's isn't alone — Wal-Mart is across the street, and Kmart has a Big K store a few yards south of that.

Kohl's stores have hired about 1,000 people along the Wasatch Front, Finch said. Later this month, the stores will begin hiring temporary help.

Wisconsin-based Kohl's operates 637 stores in 40 states. Sansoucie said the company "cannot confirm plans for additional stores (in Utah) at this time."


E-mail: jnii@desnews.com