By Catherine Gooch

Looking for a nearby place to shop or possibly land a part-time job to help pay the bills while at Eastern? If so, life could get a little easier for you next semester.

Scheduled to open this fall is the Richmond Shopping Centre, which will include a fleet of new stores including Meijer, JC Penney, Belk, Home Depot and a Cinemark movie theater.

According to the company responsible for its development, Carolina Holdings, the shopping center will span about 800,000 square feet and is scheduled to open in October.

The new stores will add some variety to Richmond’s shopping scene, which has floundered in Lexington’s shadow.

Carolina Holdings also described the Cinemark Theater, which will feature stadium-style seating and will be considerably larger than the movie theater at the Richmond Mall.

“It will give me more incentive to go the movie theatres because they will be nicer and newer, and maybe I will even shop at some other places besides Wal-Mart,” said Bethany Schmitt, a sophomore occupational science and finance major from Burlington, Ky.

City officials said the new shopping center, which is located off the bypass near Interstate 75 at exit 87, would offer a boost to the city, drawing both local and out-of-town shoppers and offering another reason to visit the city.

Kay Jones, a Richmond city commissioner, said those involved with the project have dubbed it the “Gateway to the Bluegrass” owing to its location and size.

The majority of the stores will open around October; however, Meijer is scheduled to open its doors during the spring of 2009.

The store will be located on Barnes Mill Road across from the recently opened Kohl’s.

To some, these openings mean new shopping opportunities.

To others, the new stores could hold the promise of a long-desired job.

“A job at any of those stores wouldn’t be bad,” said Brennan Wink, a junior general business major from Owensboro. “I think it’s a great idea; it will attract more business and people to Richmond.”

If you are interested in a job in any of these stores, most are scheduled to begin hiring in August.

However, details have not yet been finalized, said city officials Mike Roberts and Kay Jones.