Big Lots moving into former Toys 'R' Us location

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Big Lots store in Charlottesville is about to get bigger. The company is moving its store from its current Seminole Square location into the former Toys 'R' Us building on Route 29.

The new store is slated to open Sept. 13. In the meantime, Big Lots is selling its merchandise at highly-discounted rates at the Seminole Square location.

Ana Mendoza came into the store to buy hot sauce, but the store was already sold out. Instead, she bought a propane tank for $15 that normally sells for $60. Mendoza shops at Big Lots nearly every week.

"They have a lot of stuff from different countries," she said.

The new location will give the store more space to sell even more items. It is nearly triple the size of the current store, which means the company is hiring about 50 additional workers.

Tom Gillette with Virginia Career Works helped host a job fair at the Northside Library on Thursday night where Big Lots and other employers were looking for employees. He said there were more than 100 job seekers at the event, and the employers found it very valuable.

"I think they were delighted," Gillette said. "Every person that they can pick up is one more that they don't have to try to find off the streets."

The current unemployment rate in the Charlottesville area is 2.8 percent. With unemployment so low, Gillette said it can be difficult for companies to find people who need work, but not impossible.

"We have plenty of people that still are not earning a living wage that are coming for second jobs," Gillette said.

Phillip Alston was one of the people looking for work at the job fair. He is searching for a full-time job as a driver, but he said he may consider part-time work in retail, including Big Lots.

"I'm still searching," Alston said. "I'm still doing everything I can."

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