STERLING – Big changes are afoot at Northland Mall.
Hibbett Sporting Goods closed it doors for good at the end of business Thursday.
Dunham's Sports, a national sporting goods chain, plans to move into a 35,000-square-foot space in late summer or early fall, according to a news release from J. Herzog & Sons Inc., the Denver-based company that owns the mall.
That release did not mention Hibbett's closure, or Dunham's by name.
However, Dunham's has posted an ad on Monster.com to seek managers "for our soon-to-open Sterling location."
"Look who's coming to Sterling, IL," the ad says under the Dunham's logo.
On Friday, mall manager Karyn Brouilette would not say Hibbett had closed, or confirm Dunham's is moving in. She referred all questions to Herzog, whose spokeswoman did not return calls or an email seeking comment.
Hibbett corporate Friday would confirm only that the Sterling store is closed; information on why or on how many people lost their jobs was not available.
Hibbett opened a store in the Walmart Supercenter plaza in Dixon in September.
Dunham's, based in Troy, Mich., characterizes itself as "one of the largest full-line sporting goods chains in the U.S."
It's not known how many jobs will be needed at the new store; since Monday, multiple calls to Dunham spokesman Tom Lamere have not been returned.
Dunham's has more than 200 stores in 12 states. Among those are stores in Galesburg, Peoria, and Davenport, Iowa.
Brouilette would not say where in the mall the sporting goods store will move. Mall workers, however, said Friday that Shoe Sensation is moving into the space that is now under renovation between Hibbett and Hallmark, while Dunham's will occupy the combined Shoe Sensation/Hibbett space.
Rue 21, which sells clothing and accessories geared toward teens and young adults, confirmed Monday that it also will open in Northland around the end of the summer.
About 15 full- and part-time jobs will be created, Rue spokeswoman Kelly Evanovich said.
Mall workers said it will occupy the space being vacated Sunday by Kirlin's Hallmark.
Kirlin's, an original mall tenant, has 13 employees.
Rue 21, based in Warrendale, Pa., operates more than 1,000 stores in 47 states; its expansion plan calls for opening 120 new sites each year, Evanovich said.