Many SouthShore residents eagerly anticipated the opening of the new Big Lots store in October. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt or the satisfaction of finding that certain item at a discount rate. But whatever the reason, Big Lots holds firm to its advertising slogan – “Helping people connect with their inner bargain hunter.” The large discount retail chain, Big Lots, opened its newest store, measuring 24,000 sq. ft., in the Sun Point Shopping Center located at 3048 East College Ave. in Ruskin. The grand opening ceremony drew large crowds of retail shoppers looking for big savings, especially in these tight economic times and with the holidays quickly approaching. During the opening ceremonies, Big Lots showed its support for the local community by presenting a $2,500 check to Lennard High School. Big Lots is known for its partnership within its communities, coordinating many charitable events including its partnership with Toys for Tots. Store Manager Ira Cohen was enthusiastic about the response from the community. “This is a great turn out, and we are excited that the store is finally open for business” said Cohen. Cohen, an Apollo Beach resident and a father of five children, has worked for Big Lots for six years and had previously worked at two different stores in the Tampa area. The opening of this new store was his first grand opening, and he marks it as an achievement. “We have 45 employees and everyone has worked tirelessly to make this grand opening happen successfully for the community,” said Cohen. Grace Payton, a Sun City Center resident, was shopping that morning at the new Big Lots store looking at the holiday decorations. “I have always loved Big Lots, and I used to drive all the way to the Big Lots in Brandon,” said Payton. “Now, I am thrilled to have this store right down the street.” The new store shelves were neatly stocked with a broad range of brand-name products, including consumables, seasonal items, furniture, housewares, toys, electronics, home décor, tools and gifts to attract any bargain hunting consumer. Founded in 1967, Big Lots is now considered the nation’s largest closeout retailer and operates over 1,400 retail stores, serving 47 states and employs more than 38,000 associates. For more information about Big Lots, please visit www.BigLots.com or you can call the new store directly at 641-7349.