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Farragut JCPenney exceeds projections despite recession

Doom and gloom may pervade economic outlooks and newscasts, but the recession isn’t all bad for one Farragut business.

“We met projections for the first year; actually opened the store in the middle of the recession,” JCPenney store manager Tracey Hitson said of the Turkey Creek location.

“From the minute of opening, we took off.

“It’s just absolutely been a very, very positive experience; such a wonderful experience as a store manager to see this store develop, open up and just absolutely grow,” she added.

The recession didn’t strongly affect projections for the store, Hitson said, since projections usually are based on a previous year’s performance.

“Since we did take off so successfully from the very beginning, it’s really based on what we did last year.

“It’s proving that we can be successful here in Turkey Creek,” Hitson, a Farragut High School grad, said.

The store celebrated one year off Parkside Drive in March, and has grown its staff of associates from about 100 to nearly 120.

“It’s been a year-and-a-half and it just keeps getting better and better. … Now we’re reaching more customers that know we’re out here,” Hitson said.

And those customers aren’t being taken away from other JCPenney locations, according to Hitson. The West Town Mall JCPenney’s numbers haven’t changed.

“Knoxville is growing out west so fast. This store is so close to the West Town store, but it’s not affected the West Town store at all.

“I really feel the development out here, out west, is growing a lot faster than probably in most areas,” Hitson said.

“The customer was there; the growth was there,” she added.

The Turkey Creek store got a boost, Hitson added, from opening in phase three of the Turkey Creek development.

“We came in at the perfect time for the Turkey Creek development,” Hitson said.

“It’s a great idea because at that point, the customer flow has already been established. There’s already a lot of competitive retailers out there in the area and it’s just a lot more successful to do it at the end of a shopping center development than at the beginning,” she added.

And the old real estate adage, “location, location, location,” also has proved true for JCPenney, which is situated on the far west end of Parkside Drive.

“It’s wonderful being in a location where the customer can get in and out so easily,” Hitson said.

Even the ongoing construction on Campbell Station Road hasn’t hurt business, she added.

“Once that development is completed and finished … who knows what could happen?” she said.

Customers have been very receptive to the layout of the store, which is different from most area JCPenney locations — it includes a Sephora boutique and places its well-known American Living line in every department, rather than in a pod of its own.

“The Farragut community has been fabulous: I mean, absolutely fabulous,” she said.

“Our mission statement, as a company, is to let our associates and our customers know they are No. 1 to us by everything we do.

“They are the reason we’re here,” she added.

And Hitson said the recession wouldn’t keep her dreams of success down.

“We just plan to grow in this location. The sky’s the limit at this point, you know?” she said.

“I want to see it grow to its maximum potential, because I still really feel there’s a lot of potential out there,” she added.

JCPenney Turkey Creek, 11534 Parkside Drive, is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday.

For more information on JCPenney, visit


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