PRESS RELEASE - WPG Announces Scheels to Join Southgate Mall

SCHEELS All Sports Store to Join Southgate Mall, Reaffirming the Town Center as the Top Retail Destination in Montana                                 

MISSOULA, MT – January 24, 2020 – Washington Prime Group Inc. (NYSE: WPG) today announced that SCHEELS All Sports store will join the dynamic tenant lineup at Southgate Mall located in Missoula, Montana. The new SCHEELS location will occupy approximately 110,000 SF of renovated space and is expected to open in the second half of 2021.

Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group stated: “Visit the website and the first thing which pops up is a series of vignettes which espouse the virtues of Missoula. Having now visited Southgate Mall several times over the previous eighteen months, I am pleased to report every single one of them is true…music, dining, culture and especially the one which proclaims ‘the great outdoors are right outside your door’

“With this in mind, there was only one logical choice to satisfy every hiking, skiing, skating, baseballing, boxing, softballing, cycling, hunting, swimming, soccering, fishing, running, camping, spectating, yogaing (just to name a few) needs of active Missoulians, and we’re pleased to announce it is SCHEELS. They’re one of the best merchants out there for the simple reason they respect their customers and colleagues (they’re employee owned) and their stores are really cool.

“We’ll keep you informed when our friends open up (in the meantime check them out online and come visit Southgate Mall, which is yet another example of how we are fulfilling our promise to serve as the dominant town center in a robust market incorporating both enclosed and open air formats.”

SCHEELS will replace the current JCPenney location, which is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020. Washington Prime Group proactively executed an agreement to gain control of the JCPenney site for the planned redevelopment. The SCHEELS one-of-a-kind retail adventure will focus on fun with family friendly attractions including interactive games and sports simulators, an archery lane, and a cafe serving homemade fudge and specialty coffee.

Steve M. Scheel, CEO of SCHEELS stated: "We are thrilled to bring the state's third SCHEELS store to Missoula, specifically Southgate Mall. We first opened in Montana more than 50 years ago and since then have enjoyed serving the people and communities across the state. Our Missoula store is a natural fit that will complement our other two existing locations. We look forward to joining the Southgate Mall, working with the city of Missoula, and serving the people in the western part of Montana.”

In addition to SCHEELS, there will be several tenant openings at Southgate Mall in 2020, including Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and Big Dipper. In addition, The Giggle Box, a pop-up interactive art museum designed, planned and executed by BFK Presents will join Southgate Mall for six months beginning in spring 2020. The two-story approximately 17,000 SF new entertainment concept will be the first of its kind in Montana and will feature interactive art, event space, and community-based gatherings. The Giggle Box will temporarily replace a junior anchor space previously occupied by Herberger’s Men’s (Bon-Ton Stores).

These additions to the tenant line up further demonstrate a focus on adding relevant and in-demand concepts to Southgate Mall. Most recently, a former Herberger’s (Bon-Ton Stores) location was repositioned into a new Dillard’s department store. Within the past 36 months, Southgate Mall saw the opening of the AMC Theatre, which offers dine-in food and beverage options; and the center opened, remodeled or expanded national retailers including Athleta, Bath & Body Works, Gap and Gap Kids, H&M, Lane Bryant, PINK, Torrid, Victoria’s Secret, and The White Barn Shop.

Both Southgate Mall and SCHEELS have a strong history of community. Southgate Mall serves as a center of the community, bringing people together in ways only physical places can provide. Southgate Mall offers a gathering place where guests can share experiences, interact with products and services that fit their lifestyles, and spend time together, making the town center a perfect fit for SCHEELS.

SCHEELS cares about community, and its mission is to be an active member of the community through philanthropy, outreach and volunteerism. The retailer donates time, energy, and resources to building up and supporting the members and organizations within the community. SCHEELS associates are passionate about this shared commitment and make a difference every day by getting involved in everything from local United Way campaigns to community service organizations and local sports teams.

Southgate Mall was recently recognized by INSIDER Travel as the best retail destination in Montana. INSIDER used various data points, including Yelp ratings, best-of lists and most-visited lists to determine the best shopping centers in each state. Southgate Mall’s market-exclusive brands and locally-owned specialty shops, dynamic events throughout the year and community involvement were deciding factors in INSIDER naming it the best retail center in the state.

Southgate Mall is the largest retail center in western Montana, comprising a significant catchment area that extends 130 miles. The hybrid asset, with both enclosed and open air tenants, encompasses approximately 600,000 square feet. Along with the aforementioned tenants, Southgate Mall is anchored by a dynamic mix of retail, entertainment and dining options, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Cost Plus World Market; Montana-style casino bars; and numerous national and local specialty retailers. A group of restaurants including Caffé Dolce, Mustard Seed and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews are among the food and beverage options offered at Southgate Mall, solidifying Southgate Mall as the area’s premier dining destination.

A transformation is underway to further strengthen Southgate Mall as the town center for retail, dining, entertainment, and lifestyle uses. With plans to invest additional millions of dollars into the town center over the next several years, the long term vision for Southgate Mall is reflective of the community.

Southgate Mall continues to benefit from an incredibly talented local management team. Tim Winger, General Manager, is instrumental in executing the long term vision for Southgate Mall, and together with Marketing Director Lauren Poppen, the team has implemented a robust schedule of community events. Southgate Mall hosts nearly 100 events throughout the year which drive guest traffic, encourage extended visits and strengthen the town center as the gathering place to shop, play, eat and drink in the area. Learn more at


Three acres of potatoes were the seed for the first SCHEELS store in 1902. Frederick A. Scheel, a German immigrant, used the $300 he earned from that first harvest as the down payment on the first SCHEELS, a small hardware and general merchandise store in Sabin, Minnesota.

Over the years, SCHEELS opened in surrounding communities including Fargo in 1930, where the Corporate Offices are located. Firmly planted in the hardware business, SCHEELS had a small selection of sporting goods from the beginning in 1902. Customer interest grew, and more sports lines were added with athletic shoes and clothing being introduced in the product mix in 1972.

Today, SCHEELS is one of the premiere sporting goods stores in America with more than 118 years of retail experience, superior customer service and local philanthropic support. The Missoula SCHEELS will be the company’s 30th location, with 27 existing stores in 12 states including North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, Illinois, Utah, Kansas, and Colorado. Three other stores are scheduled to open in 2020 and spring 2021. These include a new store in Eden Prairie, Minn., replacing a smaller store, and new markets in The Colony, Texas and Colorado Springs.

Currently, Steve D. Scheel, the great grandson of SCHEELS founder, is the company's Chairman of the Board, and great-great grandson Steve M. Scheel is CEO. Bill Nelson serves as President and oversees SCHEELS daily operations of nearly 7,000 associates. Learn more at

About Washington Prime Group

Washington Prime Group Inc. is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. The Company combines a national real estate portfolio with its expertise across the entire shopping center sector to increase cash flow through rigorous management of assets and provide new opportunities to retailers looking for growth throughout the U.S. Washington Prime Group® is a registered trademark of the Company. Learn more at