Five Below first retailer to open at Shoppes of Covington

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Five Below opened its doors to the public at The Shoppes of Covington and capped its first week in business in Andalusia with a grand opening Friday, Dec. 2, at 9 a.m.

Five Below entrance

Five Below is a discount store offering consumers a wide assortment of items.

“We sell all types of products ranging from the teenage consumers to adult consumers. We have tables, chairs, candy and snacks, workout clothes and equipment, makeup, and will also have different types of items for each season. For example, if you need something for Easter, we will have those products,” Store Manager Jacob Johnson said.

Johnson first started working in retail in 2016 for Shoe Dept. at the Montgomery Mall.

“I took a few fallbacks, but when I found Five Below, everything changed. I started working here and could see the future that was ahead of me. I never had the mindset of being a store manager until I came to Five Below. The grasp the whole company has on me made me want to sprout.”

Prior to Andalusia, he was employed by the Troy store as a customer experience manager and later as a merchandising manager.

“My team always liked me because of my positivity, the drive I’ve always had, and the atmosphere I bring. That’s really the main reason my district manager chose for me to get my own store. I feel like bringing that positivity and vibe to Andalusia will make this city boom.”

According to Johnson, Five Below is not the same as other retailers.

“We are an adopted family not just with the associates I have but at a corporate level as well. We recently had our 20th anniversary, and I’m very happy I was able to be part of that. We celebrated that we all could come together, be positive with one another, and talk strategy. We are in a group chat where we ask each other questions and find out if we can help others. With the adopted family, we are able to be open and talk if we need to. The positivity and vibe Five Below brings are two of the main reasons why I love working for this company,” he said.

He added that customers are greeted with a smile upon their arrival.

“We want to put that smile on their faces. When they walk out, they tell us they will be back, and we are what Andalusia needed. It’s not because we opened up first but because of what I’m trying to build here. Customer service goes a long way into that next sale and having people come back in the store the next day. That’s why I strategize on customer service and getting this freight out.”

Johnson said he is most grateful for the opportunity to serve as the store’s manager.

“I knew I wanted it, but the fact I was able to receive this position so early makes me love it even more. Because I’m young, I can adapt, learn, and strategize what people are asking for. To have Five Below in Andalusia is also the number one key. I didn’t know much about Andalusia but have seen what this community is like. Everybody knows everybody, and I wanted to connect with the small-town atmosphere. I also want to give back and help in our community.”

Five Below, which has eight assisted checkout registers with 25 local employees, held a soft opening Monday, Nov. 28. “People were calling and asking if we were open, and I had to tell them Dec. 2, but it was good to see people come in before that. I consider this store to be high-volume because we had over $25,000 in sales on our grand opening and $15,000 for the soft opening,” Johnson said.

He hopes to gain learning strategies, tips, and tricks as a result of his management position.

“It is important to learn others’ personalities. I have to manage my adopted family and therefore have to learn my adopted family. Essentially, I have to know where my associates need to work in the store. They have to call me when a customer is unhappy, and I make that customer happy because I know how to deal with that type of customer.”

Johnson stated that he has always been in the background but uses that time for strategizing and planning purposes.

“My team says I’m not strict, but at the same time, they know I want the job done. If they need something, I’ll help them to the best of my ability. My customer service goes for my employees as well. I’m going to treat my customers with respect just like my employees. I try to put the knowledge I know onto them. If they go somewhere else, they will bring that same customer service into their next job and build themselves up even higher.”

Located at 140 Covington Mall, Five Below will be open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily until Christmas. Hours are subject to change after the holidays. For more information call the store at 334-261-5178.

Five Below was founded Oct. 4, 2002, by David Schlessinger and Tom Vellios and is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with over 1,200 stores in 40 states.

“Come in and have a great time while you’re here. The magic moments that are created are going to be the best moments here. Everyone has a smile and is ready to shop. It’s about building that relationship with our customers. I want everybody to be happy and think about the next future, but this store is setting the foundation for that next future,” Johnson said.

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