Conn’s HomePlus, a retailer of bargain-focused home furnishings, announced today it is moving into Florida, planning up to 40 stores that will be served by a 413,000-square-foot Lakeland distribution center scheduled to open next year.

The warehouse becomes the prime tenant in a 533,000-square-foot facility built on spec by Xebec Realty on a 60-acre tract fronting Interstate 4 at 8355 State Road 33.

The distribution center is expected to open next August and employ 50 people, Conn’s Inc. said in a news release.

“We believe the state of Florida can support over 40 Conn’s HomePlus locations,” expanding its current base of 133 stores in 14 states, according to Norm Miller, Conn’s HomePlus Chairman and CEO.

The company expects to start opening Florida stores next September and said employment could reach 720.

Based in The Woodlands, Texas, Conn’s specializes in furniture, mattresses, electronics, appliances and home office products.

After Xebec bought the I-4 frontage property for $4.15 million last year, it said it would invest $39.3 million building the spec warehouse.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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