WILLCOX — The old Alco Discount Store building next to Keiller Park has been empty for years, but that’s about to change. A new business will soon open its doors there — and it’s just one of several about to open or recently opened.

Sprinkler World of Arizona, a business with stores in the Phoenix area and Tucson, is about to open a Willcox location. Located at 510 N. Bisbee Ave. in the former Alco building, it will be the first Sprinkler World store outside of those metro areas. The Willcox location will serve agricultural and residential customers in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico.

The Range News was unable to immediately reach Sprinkler World for comment.

Sprinkler World isn’t the only new or recently opened business in town. It will join such others as Fresh Mart, vintage thrift shop, Fat Toad Detailing, SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western, Busted Knuckle Road Service and New Wave Spa and Salon.

In addition, the old Sands Motel has been bought by its neighbor, the Arizona Sunset Inn, which plans to renovate the abandoned structure.

Fresh Mart, owned and operated by Oscar and Laura Castellanos Duran, welcomed customers with a July 28 soft opening and will hold its grand opening in August. Located at 337 S. Haskell Ave., Fresh Mart offers fresh produce and meat as well as other groceries. Laura Duran said she and her husband, longtime Willcox residents, decided the town could use a new kind of grocery store — a family-run business.

Duran said it took three months to prepare for the opening and admitted being a bit nervous as the day approached. She said the store continues to build up its grocery stock and is open to customer suggestions of products they would like to see. “I hope people come and find what they need,” she said.

One recently opened businesses is vintage, a shop that offers gifts, home decor and antiques. Located at 180 N. Railroad Ave., vintage opened its doors in May 2019. Owner Mary Peterson said the shop had “a great opening month.

“We get to see a lot of visitors from out of town, so that’s a treat,” Peterson added. “It’s a joy to interact with people visiting Willcox for the first time.”

“Things are really looking good for Willcox. We hope to get more, and they’re coming,” said Mayor Mike Laws. “People are recognizing that Willcox is growing, and new businesses want to be part of that. We want to be their partners.”

Laws said the positive attitudes of City Manager Caleb Blaschke and the City Council have contributed to the city’s recent business growth.

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