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THE COLONY (CBSDFW.COM) –  The new and massive Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony hasn’t had its grand opening yet, but already the home furnishing store is having a sizable impact on the city and small businesses in the area.

Officially, Nebraska Furniture Mart is still in its “soft opening” phase. But ever since November 2011, when it was announced the huge store was opening, officials with The Colony say city sales tax revenues have doubled.

Restaurant owners just across the highway from the store say they’re already seeing new customers.

There’s always something cooking at Tony’s Pizza and Pasta in The Colony — and it’s not just the food. Restaurant owner Bujar Hajro said, “I’d say for lunch, we’ve had a 10-percent increase, which is pretty substantial given the time frame.”

Bujarand his mother, Maggie, have owned the restaurant along State Highway 121 for eight years — long before the toll road was built.

The two credit the newly built Nebraska Furniture Mart for attracting other new businesses and say they hope their sales will increase a total of 20-percent after the furniture giant has its grand opening.

“The apartment complexes… we have hotels, and we’re getting more hotels,” Maggie said.

A Nebraska Furniture Mart spokesman said its 560,000 square foot store will attract customers from across North Texas and even other states.

Since construction began, new restaurants and houses have also gone up.

Since the store opening was announced, The Colony has had nearly 400 new home permits issued.

Quinton Cannedy is a commercial lumber salesman for Foxworth Galbraith. He said, just in The Colony, he has seen a big change in business.

“I’d say 15 to 20-percent… about 30-percent more,” he said.

To take advantage of the customer-base interest, Nebraska Furniture Mart competitor Rooms To Go is even opening a store just across the highway.

Rooms To Go CEO Jeff Seaman says his company is opening a store there because “It’s good for customers to have convenient choices. The Colony is a very good shopping area.”

Seaman said for now, they plan to keep open the Rooms To Go store in Frisco near the IKEA store at the Dallas North Tollway. “This area is becoming a furniture hub.”

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