Visitors to Scott County's new General Store will find that bigger is better when it opens next week.
The new facility at 902 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport, is 7,000 square feet, nearly twice as big as the current 3,900-square-foot space. The General Store will be closed Saturday and Monday for moving printers, cabinets and files. Computers and printers will be tested and retested. Customers will get inside the building for the first time Tuesday.
The county is sharing the office space with the Iowa Department of Transportation's licensing facility. The General Store allows customers to transfer car titles, renew license plate stickers, pay property taxes and register to vote.
"We are very tight where we are," General Store manager Kathy Hall said of the 2162 W. Kimberly Road location that has its last day today. "We have a lot of room for customers. It will make a big difference for my employees."
The Iowa DOT's license issuing process changed last year, requiring more space, said Dave Donovan, Scott County's director of facilities and support services. The county would have had to move out of the current space, so officials started talking with the DOT about a larger shared space. A search produced what used to be a Phar-Mor at the northwest corner of the Village Shopping Center. The space had been empty for a decade.
"It was pretty rough space," Donovan said. "People had a hard time visualizing it."
Signs pointing to the facility on the back side of the shopping center haven't been installed, and Hall didn't know if that would be done by next Tuesday. Hall and county Treasurer Bill Fennelly don't expect the lack of visibility to be a problem.
"People are already finding the place," Hall said Thursday as she showed off the office. "There are a few minor things outside (to be done). Inside, we'll be ready to roll."
Fennelly is excited about his the new office. The county will have six counters with tall walls between each for privacy purposes. Workers will have more space to move around behind the counters than what they have in the current facility. Customers will find considerably more chairs, Hall said, recounting how customers often had to stand. With public bathrooms, customers will no longer need to be escorted to bathrooms by a General Store worker.
The treasurer praised Donovan's department and the county attorney's office, among others, for making the new facility happen.
"I think it is a win-win for the customers and the employees," Fennelly said.
When the move was announced, the planned opening date was Feb. 1, but fiber optic cable installation for the driver's license station pushed that back, Donovan said. The county facility uses a wireless connection but eventually will switch over to a fiber optic connection.